Monday, February 1, 2010

Book Review: Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen


Title: Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (383 pages)

Along for the Ride is about a girl named Auden. She is a super smart student with no time for the social scene. Her mother and father are both professors/intellectuals and are divorced. After her high school graduation, Auden decides she wants to spend some time with her dad for the summer and get to know him better.
Auden arrives in the small town of Colby and reunites with her dad, her stepmother, Heidi, and meets her 6 week old baby sister, Thisbe. The family scene is very foreign to her, so Auden stays out of the way by reading textbooks in preparation for college next year. She also takes a job at a boutique called Clementines as another alternative to stay busy and out of the way. What she finds is that between Thisbe crying constantly, Heidi not knowing how to comfort her child and Auden's dad avoiding the family to finish his book, the family is on the verge of a meltdown.
Auden finds escape staying out late and befriends Eli, a loner and former star on the bike circuit she has been seeing around town. Together, Auden and Eli embark on a quest to gain a childhood Auden never had and overcome a tragic accident Eli lives through. "Combine two lonely people with a charming beach town and and endless supply of long summer nights, and just about anything can happen."

Book Review:
Auden is a character I enjoyed learning about. She is described as a super smart student, 18 years old with black hair, tall and bony with a few zits. Her perception of the world around her is parallel to her mother's. Anything or anyone not meeting her mother's expectation/standards, is a waste of space/time/energy.
Auden has this perception but its altered when she moves to Colby for the summer. There she begins to realize that she cannot make assumptions about the towns people because a lot of her assumptions are wrong.
I also enjoyed how Auden's story is comprised of very normal everyday experiences that are pact with various emotions. She takes you through her life during the summer one step at a time, a very nice pace than what I am used to. The pace of the story is very refreshing and it just works for me. I know what she feels, how she wants to react, and how she carries on through each experience.
Finally, her meeting Eli which to me is the most exciting plot is also taken one step at a time. Auden does not rush into anything and simply lets things fall where they may.
Eli's character is great with this as well. He is described as easy going with an intense stare at times but is easy to be around. He keeps things light and takes his time to get to know Auden. His story and the interactions he has with her move with incredible ease through the pages. The dialogue they have are very revealing about his situation and at the same time create suspense.

Along for the Ride is the first book I read from author Sarah Dessen and I absolutely loved it. I really enjoyed the pace she had for the book and the real life conflicts everyone can relate to. The story is very relate-able and I will continue to read her books.


Loved it!

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