Monday, May 30, 2011

Book Review: Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Series: Stand-alone
Published: June 11th, 2009
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
383 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Contemporary young adult
Acquired this book: From the library
Warning: May contain spoilers
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Riding a bike is only one of the many things Auden's missed out on.  Even before her parents' divorce, she was cast in the role of little adult, never making waves, focusing on academics to please her demanding mother.  Now she's spending the summer before college in the tiny beach town of Colby with her father and his new wife and baby.  A job in a trendy boutique introduces her to the world of girls, their friendships, conversations, romances.  And then there's Eli, an intriguing loner.  A former star on the bike circuit and a fellow insomniac, Eli introduces Auden to the nocturnal world of Colby.  Together they embark on a quest: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she's been denied; for Eli, to put a tragic episode behind him.  Combine two lonely people with a charming beach town and an endless supply of long summer nights, and just about anything can happen.  


This was the first Sarah Dessen book I'd read since my teens, and it reminded me why I loved her all those years ago. (*You can read more about that here*) 

When Auden moves to Colby, it's like a whole different world, and she finally realizes she doesn't have to always be the adult, she can be a kid. She's never really had friends, and didn't think she was missing out on that or other teenage experiences. There were more important things in life than the things teenage girls seem to be interested in, so she concentrated on what she thought was important: school, and keeping up with her parents' expectations.  

I love Auden; I think she's a terrific, multi-faceted character. Her parents are selfish and self-important - they're both highly educated with excellent jobs - and because of their selfishness, Auden's learned to take care of herself and be independent. Between her parents and her free-spirited, irresponsible brother Hollis, she's the only real adult of the family.

I loved following along with Auden's transformation over the summer. She learns that people aren't always what they appear, and that if you look deeper than the surface, you might be surprised. That's true of herself too - she's always been a certain person and she realizes she doesn't have to be that person, she can break away and be whoever she wants to be.

I felt like I was along for the ride that Auden was taking, and I didn't want it to end. This is the first truly excellent book I've read in awhile, and I can't wait to read more of Sarah's books. In fact, when I'm done reading her newer books, I think I'll reread the three of hers that I read as a teen - That Summer, Someone Like You, and Keeping the Moon.

Have you read Along for the Ride? What did you think? Have you read any of Sarah's other books?


  1. sounds like something I might have to keep my eyes out for

  2. I don't touch teenage romance novels. But there's something about Sarah Dessen's books that I LOVE. They're predictable in the way that the girl gets the guy, but hey, it's a romance novel. But the guys are likeable and realistically flawed and the girls are heroins who have unique voices and personalities. Along for the Ride is no exception.

  3. I read 'Along for the Ride' for the first time a year ago. It was an awesome read! That's when I started reading more of Sarah's books! Also I started reading Contemporary YA after this book! So that's why this book is still one of my favorite books by Sarah Dessen. I also Loved 'The Truth About Forever' by Sarah Dessen!


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