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, I love you. I promised myself that if I read another one of your books and didn’t like it, then I would never read another again. This was after I read Lock andKey because I didn’t like it very much. I like the way she writes, but I just thought the book was over-dramatic and just kind of ridiculous. I can happily say though, that Along for the Ride was a completely different experience. I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but I think for me I fell in love with it because of the characters. Because let’s be honest here. The book wasn’t exactly plot heavy.
I felt like I was reading a character study. Every character was different and had their own problems. Even the secondary characters and I kind-of loved that. Definitely a character-driven novel. But this book definitely redeemed Sarah Dessen in my eyes. She’s probably my favorite real-issues author I’ve come across so far. But I will be honest and here is where I felt the book was lacking.
Sometimes I felt that the conversations and situations were a little forced. There were just a few instances when what I was reading didn’t sound very realistic. Sometimes I didn’t really like Eli as a character either. And I thought Auden’s parents were absolutely awful. So in the end, how did Auden turn out to be such a great person? How did she not pick up any of the negative qualities her parents had? See, that’s just not realistic. Teens are a product of their environment, and she just didn’t feel real to me. She wasn’t damaged enough. I feel like maybe her narrative voice should have been a little more untrustworthy. Honestly I preferred the more damaged characters. And when Auden walked away from Eli, I just thought it was a really unnatural reaction. It did not feel like a normal occurrence of what should happen next in a book. That and I kind of hate reading about babies. Ick.
Still, I can’t fault the book for much. It was easy to get lost in and shut out the world for awhile. That’s what most of us read for anyway, and this novel did that well. Job well done Sarah Dessen. I hope the next book of yours I read gets 5 stars.