Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Release Date: July 11, 2009
Target Audience: Young Adult
Description from Goodreads:
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.
This was my very first Sarah Dessen book to read. I’ve seen her books everywhere and had to finally give into my curiosity. Was her writing as good as the reviews proclaimed them to be?
I think I chose the best book of hers to begin with. Operative word: begin. I will definitely be reading more of Dessen’s work. I loved Auden’s character – brilliant beyond words, but so utterly disastrous socially speaking. The poor girl begged for her parent’s attention and approval, and because they were brilliant, driven adults, Auden assumed she would find their respect by making the best grades, getting in to the best school, and working far beyond what was required of her. Despite her best efforts, she still doesn’t get the recognition she yearns for. She moves to Colby to spend her last free summer before college with her father, new-stepmother, and newborn step-sister.
I really enjoyed the length of this novel – it allowed for perfect pacing, characterization, and for the build-up to happen gradually without seeming too abrupt. There was one point where I felt something was a little out of character and the decision was made too much on a whim, but I think Dessen did a good job by explaining the decision throughout the remainder of the book.
I can’t wait to pick up another of her books. Which do you recommend next?