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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

It is rare for me to be at the leading edge of a book release instead of tagging along a couple years behind, so I was really excited to get this book so early from the library. I actually requested that my library order the book, so I was first in line. I had a good bit of time to read last weekend and flew right through it.

What's it about? Along for the Ride, like the other two Dessens I've read, is about a teenage girl who is struggling with who she really is, as opposed to who she thought she was. In this one, Auden has just graduated from high school and is spending the summer at the beach with her father and his new wife and baby. Auden is very academically minded, after growing up with a fierce feminist mother who valued education above all. She has no time for silly things like the Prom, bowling, hanging out with friends, boyfriends, or riding bikes. Due to her parent's divorce, she has a hard time sleeping at night and wanders through town drinking coffee and enjoying the solitude. She meet Eli, another night owl, and he teaches her all the things she missed.

What did I think? It was good, but not great. I never really warmed up to Auden but the supporting characters were all excellent.

Why? Auden is very stiff. She's completely out of her element socially and very unforgiving of people who aren't like her. Despite the book being about her relaxing, she never totally loosens up and it made her hard to like. While I myself have a low tolerance for stupidity, I thought Auden made an awful lot of snap judgements based on appearances, and had not room for mistakes. She was dealing with a lot of truths about her parents and their divorce, and I thought her emotions were true with that and that her interactions with her parents would be realistic, but she was too unemotional and hard for me to really like.

So what did I like? I loved Maggie and her stepmother Heidi. The two of them totally made the story for me. Also Adam- Adam was terrific and would have made a good lead in one of her books. Eli was similar in form to Dessen's other romantic leads, but wasn't as awesome as Wes. He had his own struggles and they were well drawn, but I didn't fall for him like I did for the others.

I loved the small town setting of Colby and the pie-baking, bike shop-owning, late night businessman. I loved the house that Auden lived in. I loved the baby and the sheer exhaustion of the baby's mother. (Teenagers, take note, the exhaustion was not exaggerated! Sarah Dessen herself has a baby (toddler?) so I suspect she knows from exhaustion.) I loved the relationship of the girls and the way they slowly took Auden in.

This wasn't my favorite Dessen. In fact, of the three I've read it's my least favorite, but I have three more of them on my TBR and I still plan to read them all. My favorite is The Truth About Forever (my review), then This Lullaby (my review). I'd still recommend this to someone wanting to try out a Sarah Dessen, and if I gave ratings I've give it a nice solid 7 out of 10.

You can find Sarah Dessen's Website and Blog online as well.

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Viking Juvenile
383 pages


  1. Hey, look at you - you're a trendsetter. I really want to try some of Sarah Dessen's work. I'll make a note not to make this one the first I read.

  2. I think your thoughts were great...Auden was stiff and it was hard for her to relax. I still think 7/10 isn't too shabby of a rating. I should probably go back and re-read her others ones because it was a LONG time ago that I read them!! But she still writes a good YA book and I enjoy them.

  3. Hmm. Good, but not great. Will definately still read it. I can't not. But it might be a really long wait :(

  4. Nice review. I loved Someone Like You. That's probably my second favorite.


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