Publication Date: June 16, 2009Review: First thing's first: My copy of this has the new cover. You know the one. All of Sarah's books got makeovers recently. And although I do like the new covers, I'm still extremely fond of the old ones. I mean, look at that cover right above this! It's adorable! I don't know why they changed them. So I'm going to ask you guys: do you prefer the old or new covers? Anyway. To the review.
Page Count: 383
Synopsis: 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'm a solid fan of Sarah Dessen, although some books are better than others. This is definitely one of the better ones. In fact, Along for the Ride is currently competing with The Truth About Forever in my head for the title of Sophia's Favorite Dessen Book. (To be quite honest, though, TTAF is probably going to win--it just has that special place in my heart.)
Auden is an intelligent girl. She's a hard-worker and very mature, which made her grow up quickly and took away her opportunities to experience normal teenage girl things, such as slumber parties, sneaking out, parties, etc. She reminded of Macy from TTAK in that way. However, Auden is also very judgmental and afraid, not wanting to go out of her comfort zone.
That changes when she spends the summer in Colby with her father and stepmother, Heidi. I liked Heidi a lot. She was a character I could sympathize with, and I loved how the reader got to see lots of layers to her. Auden's father, on the other hand, I wanted to slap. Multiple times. Okay, basically every time he was in a scene. But whatever. Auden's new friends, Maggie, Leah, and Esther, were lovely characters. I became very fond of them quickly.
Like in all of Sarah's books, the protagonist starts off very flat and then gradually blossoms. The plot starts off slow and quite a few pages pass before the reader can really get into the story. And--this is probably everybody's favorite part--there's a swoon-worthy boy.
Eli was such a great character. I loved him. He was sweet and likable. He said so much but with so few words. Basically, he was a classic Dessen boy.
I don't know what it was about this book that made it so much more likable than... I don't know, Just Listen or What Happened to Goodbye, but for some reason, I really fell in love with Along for the Ride. Along for the Ride is the perfect read, whether you're at a beach or at home, procrastinating on homework. It has the perfect blend of self-discovery, romance, and happiness.