By Sarah Dessen
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.
I must admit this is my first Sarah Dessen book. I know, I know *gasp*. I honestly haven’t read this type of book in a while, but….
This was exactly what I needed! It wasn’t a, my heart is swooning for days after book, but a typical fluffy and light romance. What was inside was somewhat predictable, a little cheesy at times, but I completely ate it up! There were just so many moments where I caught myself laughing out loud.
I enjoyed Auden as the main character. She was likeable. I was able to relate to her, just not to the same degree. I wasn’t a very girly girl growing up and the extent of my girl talk was about boys only. I wasn’t into the whole makeup, hair, shopping kind of gossip all the other girls in my class would be chattering away about. So when she steps into her step mothers office: Pink, Orange, accented with lots and lots of girly things. I would have had the same reaction, shock.
The characters in this story were developed really well. Every one of them had their own personalities and stories to tell. The three Amiga’s Maggie, Leah, and Esther added a lot of depth to the story. At first like Auden, I didn’t really care for them. They were girly, gossiped, and not very interesting. As we continue to get to know them however, we begin to see that first impressions aren’t always what they seem. Not only are they girly and silly, they are actually clever. In other words they turn out to be pretty cool.
For the most part I adored Auden and Eli’s relationship. Her nightly adventures with this mysterious boy, who like her, can’t sleep at night. Who she finds out has problems of his own he’s trying to deal with. I enjoyed the fact that they both had the whole not sleeping thing going on. It helped them to connect. I also liked how he was trying to help her experience things she never got to do in her childhood. The whole them getting to know each other along with the cute things that happen in between were great.
I was just slightly annoyed by a few things in their relationship. Like how non-assertive Eli was. Auden sought him out in the beginning over and over until it was a given they’d meet at a certain place every night. Then when they had a little tiff, neither one of them talked to each other for like two weeks! Seriously though, when they reunited….
I also caught myself getting frustrated at Auden quite a bit when she was acting like a noob. Why yes, yes you should take the baby from your step mom because she’s having a nervous break down. Not just ignore it and go to your room like nothing is happening. Or when on her first night there she ends up doing something completely out of character and dumb.
I mean I understand it was to make her transition into the local’s social order harder, but I think her social awkwardness would have sufficed.
In any case, my favorite thing about this book was that it had a great message. The one thing Auden struggles with the most throughout this book is with change. It’s a constant theme. She has heard from her mother over and over again that people don’t change. She goes into the summer with all of these pre conceived notions of how people work, including her self.
Examples: Her father is an egotistical jerk who can’t see what’s in front of him and is repeating the same mistakes he made in his first marriage. Her brother will always be a free spirit who is constantly traveling, finding one exciting moment to the next, never keeping one girlfriend for very long. Her stepmother is an annoying pink Barbie doll with no backbone. And her mother, who she always has to agree with, demands academic perfection from her, and thinks anything girly or pink is weak.
During her carefree summer, Auden begins to question this theory and starts to make her own conclusions as to what she believes. She also comes into her own as a person.
Along For the Ride was just one of those books that made me smile, giggle, and gave me a happy feeling after reading it.
Tell Me: Have you read this? If you have what did you think? Did you like Auden and Eli together? If you haven’t read it, do you think you will? What Sarah Dessen book should I read next?