MY RATING: 4 STARS
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.
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen is one of those happy books. Though the story is the very epitome of cliche, we all have to admit we love a good cliche story every once in a while. Along for the Ride is about insomniac Auden as she experiences everything a teenager is required to experience, all within one summer. With help from fellow insomniac, Eli, Auden must learn the life of carefree teenager while Eli must cope with a guilt from his past.
Being a contemporary novel, the summer is the best time to read Along for the Ride. The plot well paced with touches of romance, the reader is kept hooked. Throughout the story, Auden experiences everything from food fights, all the way to crushes. All of Dessen’s novels do have a darker tone to them, an enjoyable characteristic not only in Along for the Ride but all all of her other works.
Auden’s character is unique. She is intelligent, and completely capable of herself. She is for sure not one of those girl characters that falls head over heels with any random said love interest and bam, story’s over. Auden is hesitant, she isn’t a danger seeking weirdo, she clearly has flaws left over from her parents divorce and she can’t ride a bike. Eli’s character is also very much his own. He intends to spend time with Auden and give her the “teenage experience” and he genuinely cares for her. Basically, he is a sweet guy with problems of his own. The fact that he has problems too was really likable because it shows that guys have issues too. It isn’t always the girl.
Being mainly a reader of fantasy and paranormal fiction, contemporary is not my usual go to. But I absolutely adored Along for the Ride. I highly recommend it to preteen readers, though everyone should read it. The writing was well written and the story told of friendship, romance and “finding yourself.” I know it sounds the epitome of sob story, wannabe Nicholas Sparks or whatever. But I swear to you, Along for the Ride is its own unique contemporary novel.