Publication Date/Version: June 2009/Hardcover
Age Group: Young Adult
Borrowed From: A Friend
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.
It is once again evident as to why Sarah Dessen has so many fans. She has done it again with another wonderful novel that teenage girls everywhere will be able to relate to.
Auden (cool name) decides to spend the summer at her dad's. Her parents are divorced, and her dad and his wife have just had a new baby. She figures she could use a change of pace, and heads out there for the summer. While there, she meets a few boys, makes unbelievable friends, and works in an over-the-top girly boutique, all while going on a quest to discover the things she missed out on in high school.
I love the concept to this book! Going on night adventures with a cute boy, trying to recapture the past. Living what she missed out on for the first time. Lots of first times and cute stories. Her nocturnal escapes sound dreamy. There aren't any high expectations, just simple hanging out, wasting the night away.
The characters in Along for the Ride are great. I could relate to Auden easily, and Eli's wonderful. He's so believable, and it's easy to connect with him over his tragic loss. I really felt for him, and understood why he was the way he was. He's definitely one of my favorite male characters in all of Sarah Dessen's books. Auden's new friends, the other girls who work in the boutique, are just wonderful. Based on first impressions, they could hate her, but instead they invite her into their group and provide a good base of support. I enjoyed seeing Auden grow more comfortable in her role as a friend.
The one thing I couldn't stand about this book was the complete lack of any decent parental figure. Heidi was the only okay figure. At first she annoyed me with her clinginess, but I grew to like her throughout the story. Robert, her father, was such an insensitive, self-centered jerk though, that I just wanted to bash him the majority of the time. Same goes for her rude, condescending mother, Victoria. Honestly, get an attitude adjustment people. I dreaded the passages that featured these two. They made me furious. What jerks.
That being said, the story was wonderful. A cute romance, good friends, and plenty of real emotion. Sarah Dessen's never going to stop rolling out the hits.
Overall: It's Sarah Dessen. That's all you need to know. Emotional. Heartbreaking. Adorable.
My Advice: Buy a copy at your local bookstore. Add it to your uncountable Sarah Dessen collection.
Cover: The bike is good, but I'm not happy with the people. The girl looks too well, girly, and the guy looks too clean cut. It is cute, however.