"Along for the Ride"
by Sarach Dessen
Since she was little, Auden has always done exactly as her mom expected. This continued after her parents divorce until the summer before her freshman year of college when she decides to spend it with her dad and step mom. Even though Auden has never been one to spend time outside, she can't deny that the prospect of a summer at the beach is way more appealing than watching her mother throw dinner parties for the mostly male crowds that attend.
Even though Auden's original plans involved getting ahead of her college reading and relaxing by the beach, she ends up helping her stressed out stepmother deal with life as a new mom. Auden begins up working in a boutique on the boardwalk with a group of girls that she struggles to relate to. Auden feels out of place in her new environment until she meets the mysterious Eli who also suffers from insomnia. Eli helps Auden to participate in all the activities she missed out on while living an academically focused childhood. These little activities turn into a full-blown quest that they share together with two individual goals in mind.
I haven't read all of Sarah Dessen's books, but I've enjoyed all the ones that I’ve read so far. She has quickly become one of my favorite authors and I was not disappointed one bit while reading "Along for the Ride". I really loved how the characters in the book were flushed out (especially Eli) and some of them really surprised me. Even Auden surprised me at the end of the book when I thought I had completely figured her out. It is nice to see Dessen continue to make strong female characters that manage to find their way through all the craziness surrounding them. I think Dessen does a beautiful job of making sure that her characters aren’t stereotypes and finds ways for them to stay true to themselves. I also loved the family dynamics in “Along for the Ride”. Even though Dessen focuses on this topic in many of her books, she always finds a way to make each one unique by featuring a different family structure. There were just so many great elements to this book that I’m finding myself wanting to just go on forever! Although, if I do that then I’ll give everything away and there will be no point in you reading it! I’ll try to wrap up my gushing so that you can get to reading the book instead of this review!
Dessen has a great skill for creating memorable characters that suck you into their world. I could not put the book down and was up all night getting deeper into the story Auden’s summer. I think out of the Dessen books I have read, it was one of my favorites (“This Lullaby”’ still wins… barely…). If you are a fan of Sarah Dessen, or are just looking for a great read this summer, then be sure to pick up “Along for the Ride”. Incase you didn’t know, it is being released today (June 16)! FINALLY!