I personally love Sarah Dessen's novels. And this one along with Lock and Key and Just Listen are my favorite books of all time. Some might not like this novel because of the fact that some don't like the just plain romance that it involves. But also the dramatic story line behind it all, might not be compelling to some.
It's the summer before college and Auden goes to her father's house in the small coastal town of Colby for some well-earned R&R. Having no plans other than to preread textbooks for her first-semester classes at Defriese University, the would-be bookworm's solitude is quickly disrupted by Thisbe, her colicky new half sister. Strolling the boardwalk with a fussy baby and late night coffee runs at the Gas/Gro lead to chance encounters with the locals, whose main pastime revolves around Colby's bike park. Auden's curiosity is piqued by Eli, a bike-shop worker whose reserved, solitary nature seems to match her own. Her social sphere widens when Heidi, her sleep-deprived stepmom, asks for some bookkeeping help in her fashion boutique, and Auden is drawn into the circle of girls who work and hang out there, including Maggie, the clerk also bound for Defriese in September, and sidekicks Leah and Esther...
Once I had read Sarah Dessen's book Just Listen in 7th grade, I knew I had found an author that would be a favorite of mine for the rest of my life. And she continues to amaze me with her elegant writing style and creative story lines.
With Along for the Ride, Sarah created three very interesting character: the bookworm (antisocial), Auden; the shy quite bike riding boy, Eli; and the smart preppy boyish Maggie. In the beginning Auden (named after her dad's favorite author) seems reluctant to do anything that involves other people including her new baby step sister Thisbe. Which makes her coming out and enjoying her summer vacation with her pink covered stepmom, Hedi, amusing. Auden through out the novel was changed and with the help of Eli and Maggie becomes something she would have never become. A semi-normal teen, that in one made up all those memories she missed in her life. With the background of her dad's constant book writing to complete his book he's been working on since Auden was young, we get another image of Auden's life before her father and mother divorced. And with her mother's constant nagging about college and pre-reading her textbooks, we get pulled back into Auden's reality of life. Allowing the reader to experience themselves in Auden's summer of change.
Personally I loved this novel, like the rest of Dessen's novels. And I have gladly rated this book with a B+ because of that. Along for the Ride like all the other Sarah Dessen novels have made me realize how good or bad someone's life can really be. And in the end Sarah always teaches you one or more lessons, while incorporating some romance in there.
Along for the Ride in Sarah's Words (plus free excerpt)
Other Books by Sarah Dessen
Sarah Reading an Excerpt from Along for the Ride.