Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Published by Viking Books for Young Readers on June 16, 2009
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
It shouldn’t be easy to be amazing. Then everything would be. It’s the things you fight for and struggle with before earning that have the greatest worth. When something’s difficult to come by, you’ll do that much more to make sure it’s even harder―or impossible―to lose.
Last night, I read Sarah Dessen’s Along for the Ride in roughly seven hours. I bought it for a summer romance book a couple weeks ago and found myself in my closet last night needing a quick read.When I first picked it up, I only meant to just read the first little bit but then what seemed like ten minutes passed and I was on page seventy. I was too far past the point of no return. For me, Along for the Ride wasn’t a nail biter or I-need-to-know-what-happens-next intense book. It was just a good romance to get me through my little reading slump. Don’t get me wrong I give this book Four out of Five stars.
If any of you have read a Sarah Dessen book you’ll know what I’m talking about. She just seems to follow the same bodywork for a story and just changes the setting or characters. I’ve only read two of her books: Lock and Key and Along for the Ride. Since Lock and Key was my first Sarah Dessen novel, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed this one, too except it seemed like a repeat. Instead this time, she had crazy parents and a ditzy-seeming Stepmom who actually turned out to rock.
Auden was an interesting character. She didn’t have social anxiety or was shy, she never really had a childhood. From the beginning she always assumed that she would have to act older and her parents assumed that she would be a child-sized adult. She blames this on her colicky older brother who “exhausted her parents” so they were too tired when it came to her. Once being nursed from toddler to child, she didn’t play with the kids in the cul-de-sacs or have sleepovers in elementary school and that carried through the years. She didn’t go to parties, except the ones her mother threw. And that’s where we meet her. Her mother, happily divorced, throws parties with her college students every week, a subtle way for her to brag about her intellectualism. Auden is either pouring wine or driving around town at all times of the night because she is an insomniac. Tired from her regular life and as a new graduate of high school, she decides to spend the summer with her father, her perky new stepmother, and a new sister. Both Auden and her mother — at the beginning of the story — hate the stepmother Heidi. Heidi is one of those girls who is optimistic, very girly, and enjoys pink. Basically all of those things make Auden’s mother want to hurl! Whether it’s jealousy or actual dislike of Heidi, Auden’s mother is never short of rude comments about her. Anyways, Auden stays with her father — a man who never took care of Auden or her brother as babies — and his new family. Her father is extremely obsessed with his work, moods completely depending on how it goes. Honestly at halfway through the book I hated both her parents, they got on my last nerve! Props to Auden for growing up with them though sometimes she admits it wasn’t ideal. As an insomniac she spends most of her nights out on the town driving around trying to find a 24 hour diner or someplace to go. Instead she drives around this tiny beach town for eight hours a night. Enter Eli a fellow insomniac. She meets him through a twist of many events, but they are quick friends and he shows her how to have fun while everything is sleeping.
Eli was interesting. He had a mysterious past and a reason to be the way he is. Eli was a biker dude, the hot-shot, and Auden’s mysterious new tour guide. He is set on making Auden have every experience that she missed; it’s their “quest.” Eli is totally adorable in this sense. Sometimes how he acted vaguely reminded me of Augustus Waters. I forget what line but it just seemed like something I could have seen Gus saying. Anyways, he was definitely the obviously broken one in this story but stories never go for the obvious ones, right? Well a line from Rihanna’s Stay reminds me of this story:
Funny you’re the broken one but I’m the only one who needed saving
I was rooting for Eli. I really liked him as a character so naturally I was rooting for them as a couple. Much like Lock and Key something made that shatter. Except in this story, I got a little bit more of a reconciliation than Lock and Key.
Also with Sarah Dessen there’s plenty of cameo’s from her old books. Nate Cross, Lock and Key, I read on a review somewhere a boy named Jason from Truth About Forever (feel free to correct me?), and definitely jewelry from Lock and Key.
All in all, it was a well written story and satisfied what I needed: a cute summer romance that wouldn’t take too long to read. It fit the bill, and if you like summer reads then I will definitely suggest this book.