Saturday, January 15, 2011

Along for the Ride

Along for the Ride
Sarah Dessen
384 pages
Rating: 4.5/5

It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.

A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.

My Thoughts: 

I picked up this book simply because my library had it.  I am happy to say that the library has many Sarah Dessen books, and I have been reading through them of late.  This book sounded nice and the cover was so lovely, so I just added it to my stack of books to check out.  I'm happy to report that I was not disappointed.  

Auden was a character I greatly related to.  As opposed to other novels where reading is a learning experience for me or a view of a different type of life, Auden was almost a mirror reflection of myself.  I enjoyed learning her story, and I could relate to her well.  She is a studious, perfectionist that grew up in a house full of adults that expected her to act the same.  (Me being the youngest, I can related just a tad).  I love her decisions to be exposed to the world she's never experienced - creating her "summer of fun."  It made for an exciting read.  

So during her summer at her father's house, Auden meets a group of girls that expose her to the girlfriend arena.  Can I just say that I love Auden's reaction to the majority of things they do?  My sister is a girly girl, and I can related to Auden's expression of "Ew!  MORE pink?!"  There are several other instances where I giggled at the interactions between her and her new found girlfriends.  Ms. Dessen simply had me rolling in laughter at many of the comments Auden makes.  Ms. Dessen takes her humor from the everyday occurrences of life, and I truly enjoyed the humor she portrays.  

Alright, so Eli.  Can I just say that I love Ms. Dessen's way of portraying romance?  I loved Eli.  I have a good friend that reminded me of the character Eli, so I could picture him perfectly.  But I believe the reason that I enjoy Ms. Dessen's books so mush is that she shows romance growing from a friendship.  Not that I don't love the love-at-first-sight concept, but to me, that is so rare.  It's more realistic and enjoyable for me to read about how characters are friends and have an actual relationship (more than just that kissy-kissy-lovy-dovy stuff - though I know we all enjoy that as well) and fall in love.  I also love the way that Eli and Auden's relationship is one of individual growth.   They both have obstacles to overcome, and their relationship is not one of dependence, but independence.  They support each other as they learn to be their own individual unique person.  That may make zero sense, but if you read the book, I believe you'll understand what my confusedly typed words are attempting to explain.  I simply enjoyed how Ms. Dessen portrays a generally healthy relationship.  

Ultimately, this novel was my favorite of Ms. Dessen's books that I have read so far.  I related the most to Auden, but I loved so many different aspects of this book.  I did not predict the ending, and I read the entire book in two days.  It was a great view of different relationships, and I would recommend it to all teenage girls for an enjoyable read that shows how healthy relationships can work.  I also recommend it to anyone who loves YA fiction, as it is the best example of realistic YA fiction I have read.  It's one of the few books on my shelf that I will pick up and reread to enjoy again.  I not only enjoyed getting to the ending, but I enjoyed the journey through the pages that brought me to the conclusion.

Other reviews of Along for the Ride:
Nice Girls Read Books review
Featured in The Story Siren's Top 10 Summer Reads
Alaine - Queen of Happy Endings review 
Mundie Moms review 
Patricia's Particularity


  1. Loved Along for the Ride! Have your read Lock and Key yet? That one happens to be my favourite of Dessen's :)

  2. LOVED this book! I'm hooked now on Sarah Dessen. Great review!

    MY Along for the Ride REview: