Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Posted June 20, 2009on:
Title: Along for the Ride
Author: Sarah Dessen
Good If… You’re already a Sarah Dessen fan or are looking for a realistic teen story to read.
Summary: (Taken from BN.com)
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.
In her signature pitch-perfect style, Sarah Dessen explores the hearts of two lonely people learning to connect.
Sarah Dessen….the one author I always name when asked who my favorite authors are. I’ve read every single one of her books at least once, many of them more than that, and they all continue to be among my favorites. Along for the Ride, which just came out Tuesday, is no exception.
The biggest part of what makes Along for the Ride, and all Dessen novels for that matter, so fabulous is the characterization. Dessen takes all the little things about people that no one really notices and slowly feeds them into the book, revealing so much about the characters and their identities without anyone realizing it. Auden is a character I could relate to really well and I think most teen girls will. Eli was a character you just couldn’t get enough of. I wanted to know more about him, see more of him, and even if the rest of the novel had been crap (which it definitely wasn’t), he would have kept my eyes glued to the page. The character relationships were also realistic, particularly between Auden and Eli and also Auden and her parental-figures.
Like most Dessen novels, Along for the Ride isn’t one of those build-up and BAM! plots where everything is solved in one chapter. Everything slowly builds up as Auden realizes who she is, what she wants to do, and builds her relationships. At times, I found myself wishing things would just hurry up and happen but Dessen did an amazing job of not giving everything away but letting the plot flow forward at a decent pace.
The ending was also realistic and fit in with the rest of the novel but still leftt a bit to your imagination.
As a whole, the novel was incredibly well-written. The prose sucked you into and never let you go. It didn’t feel like I was reading – it felt like I was there.
I must also mention that I love how she includes mentions of the characters and places in previous books. I always keep my eyes open for those.
Overall, this is definitely recommended. It ranks in my Top 4 Dessen Novels (after The Truth About Forever, Just Listen, and Lock and Key). If you aren’t already a Dessen fan, there’s no time like now to pick up a copy. You won’t find much better than this in teen lit.