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Along for the Ride

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Author: Sarah Dessen

Published: June 16th 2009 by Viking Books for Young Readers

Format: Hardcover , 383 pages

Isbn: 9780670011940

Language: English


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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, 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. In her signature pitch-perfect style, Sarah Dessen explores the hearts of two lonely people learning to connect.

30 review for Along for the Ride

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Klein

    Even more than John Green, Sarah Dessen repeats the same plot elements over and over again: 1. ONE SUMMER, 2. AN OLDER TEENAGE GIRL WHO IS REPRESSED IN SOME WAY -- family secrets, personal secrets, others' expectations, her own cynicism or need for control 3. MEETS A WACKY GROUP OF PEOPLE -- long-distant family, a rock band, coworkers, a new group of friends 4. INCLUDING ONE UNUSUAL BOY -- usually artistic in some way 5. SHE DOES SOMETHING UNCHARACTERISTIC OF HER THAT STARTS OR DEEPENS HER RELATIONS Even more than John Green, Sarah Dessen repeats the same plot elements over and over again: 1. ONE SUMMER, 2. AN OLDER TEENAGE GIRL WHO IS REPRESSED IN SOME WAY -- family secrets, personal secrets, others' expectations, her own cynicism or need for control 3. MEETS A WACKY GROUP OF PEOPLE -- long-distant family, a rock band, coworkers, a new group of friends 4. INCLUDING ONE UNUSUAL BOY -- usually artistic in some way 5. SHE DOES SOMETHING UNCHARACTERISTIC OF HER THAT STARTS OR DEEPENS HER RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM -- like confess a secret, or kiss the boy, or take on a job -- something that exposes her for a moment 6. AND THINGS GO ALONG SWIMMINGLY FOR A WHILE as she gets to know the boy and has her original assumptions about the people challenged and develops new skills through her association with them 7. But then, about 1/3 to 1/4 of the way from the end, SOMETHING HAPPENS TO SCREW THINGS UP, usually causing the girl's retreating for some reason into her original repressions/assumptions 8. A CONFRONTATION INVOLVING/REGARDING THE CAUSE OF THE GIRL'S REPRESSION OCCURS. 9. GIRL REUNITES WITH BOY; HAPPINESS INTO FORESEEABLE FUTURE. There is no doubt Ms. Dessen works and reworks this material very, very well -- she has wonderful, fully developed image systems (in this one, the idea of what being a girl means, and riding a bike); the prose flows gorgeously; her supporting characters are consistently marvelous; the dialogue is terrific and realistic, particularly when it's teenagers sitting around b.s.'ing; every i is dotted and t crossed writingwise. I love the way she weaves all her characters into one large world. And I adored this plot the first time I read it, in THIS LULLABY, and also greatly enjoyed THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER and JUST LISTEN. (Also, she creates great store names -- someone should hire her as a brander.) But by this one, I was feeling a bit of diminishing returns in the familiarity of everything, chiefly in the fact that all her narrators sound the same, the same hiddenness, the same neatness. I'd love to see her do a book from the point of view of one of the supporting characters, or the boy . . . someone a little more scattered, more unpredictable and passionate, where the voice and the story wouldn't tie up in a neat bow. I do not know that this wish is fair to Ms. Dessen; when you know your material, you should own it and work it, and she's doing that, and I'm delighted that it's paying off for her. (Such a pleasure to see a GOOD writer of teenage romances on the Times bestseller list!) But all the supporting characters here felt more interesting than Auden to me, and the few changes she rung here just too familiar; and I'd love for Ms. Dessen to break some new ground in both structure and protagonist.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    Reading Sarah Dessen is like walking into an air-conditioned store after a hot, humid day in the sun. Reading Sarah Dessen is also like drinking an ice-cold smoothie after a long, harsh marathon. And finally, reading Sarah Dessen is like eating comfort food: you always know what you're going to get, a tasty, satisfying treat. Auden has just finished her senior year and looks forward to spending the summer like she usually does: staying home and studying, while occasionally attending the parties h Reading Sarah Dessen is like walking into an air-conditioned store after a hot, humid day in the sun. Reading Sarah Dessen is also like drinking an ice-cold smoothie after a long, harsh marathon. And finally, reading Sarah Dessen is like eating comfort food: you always know what you're going to get, a tasty, satisfying treat. Auden has just finished her senior year and looks forward to spending the summer like she usually does: staying home and studying, while occasionally attending the parties hosted by her mom for her grad students. However, instead of following routine like she usually does, Auden decides to spend the summer at the attractive beach town where her dad and his new family reside. There, she meets her half-sister, Thisbe, as well as her first group of real friends. But the most alluring thing about the town is Eli: an ambiguous, secretive young man who is an insomniac, just like Auden. Late at night, they explore the childhood Auden never had - they get to know each other, and open up from what has restricted them in the past. 4.5 stars. I really love Sarah Dessen's writing. Previously stated by my plethora of similes in the first paragraph, it's just a comfort to be able to read her work. The strongest aspect of Dessen's novels are her characters. They are perfectly written - nuanced, flawed, yet so extremely likable and fleshed out. There's something that readers can relate to in every character: whether it be the driven determination of Auden's mom, or the insecurity Auden has with failing, etc. The only reason Along for the Ride didn't receive the full five stars is because I felt there was something missing: there wasn't the extra punch Dessen usually delivers in her books. I just wanted to make it clear that it's not because of how formulaic some find her books to be. I simply space out the time between her novels, so I don't feel like I'm reading the same story over and over. Overall, very good. I'm already looking forward to reading another book by Sarah Dessen. Want to read more of my reviews? Follow me here.

  3. 5 out of 5

    jessica

    the thing that i love most about sarah dessen novels is the effortlessness and ease in which i am transported to a younger time, a carefree time. when adult worries are forgotten and young love is all that matters. sigh. however, i have come to notice that SD novels are very formulaic. i mean, i get it - if it aint broke, dont fix it. and even though i have grown to a certain level of comfortability with her stories, i kind of wish she would break the trend every once in a while. but she has a st the thing that i love most about sarah dessen novels is the effortlessness and ease in which i am transported to a younger time, a carefree time. when adult worries are forgotten and young love is all that matters. sigh. however, i have come to notice that SD novels are very formulaic. i mean, i get it - if it aint broke, dont fix it. and even though i have grown to a certain level of comfortability with her stories, i kind of wish she would break the trend every once in a while. but she has a style and she does it well, so i cant really fault her for that. regardless, i think is probably my favourite story of hers so far. i really enjoyed all of the characters and the storyline. eli is freaking adorable. my gosh. i could have read a whole book about him. but i enjoyed how he helps auden make up for the childhood she missed out on. such a lighthearted story with a really meaningful conclusion and message. this is truly sarah dessen at her best! ↠ 4 stars

  4. 4 out of 5

    Saania Zee Jamal ϟ

    And the award for my most vanilla book of 2016 goes to... I think I get it now. The whole appeal with Sarah Dessen and the million or so romance books she's churned; she's no Stephanie Perkins but reading her work is just so easy. Or at least this one was, my first one yet. But more than easy, it was boring. Mundane. Unexciting. VANILLA. Just like vanilla ice cream, it's enough to have me gobbling it up in one go, but doesn't quite manage to leave a satisfied mark like chocolate would. (Of course, And the award for my most vanilla book of 2016 goes to... I think I get it now. The whole appeal with Sarah Dessen and the million or so romance books she's churned; she's no Stephanie Perkins but reading her work is just so easy. Or at least this one was, my first one yet. But more than easy, it was boring. Mundane. Unexciting. VANILLA. Just like vanilla ice cream, it's enough to have me gobbling it up in one go, but doesn't quite manage to leave a satisfied mark like chocolate would. (Of course, this analogy is entirely redundant if vanilla happens to be your favourite flavour and you hate chocolate.) (In which case, WHAT ARE YOU?) In fact, let me add to that comparison: with Along For The Ride, I thought I ordered a nice, rich scoop of caramel, drizzled with hot fudge and whipped cream abound, but what I got instead was a $1 cone from McDonalds. I feel like this story held so much potential. Auden's personal problems dealing with family issues, social situations, insomnia, even as far as cycling (yes, I am 18 and only just learned how *insert gasp*)— they were all things I could directly relate to within some depth. And so I went into this hoping I could take away something profound, and if not, then learning things from a different perspective at the very least. No good book is a "good book" unless it leaves an impact on its readers some way or the other. But this? It did nothing for me. Absolutely nada, zero, zilch. Unless you count feelings of frustration over a wasted 6 hours and lost sleep as anything. The entire storyline boils down to having no important point to it at all and if it's meant to be a semi-inspiring "coming of age" novel, then it's done a gosh damn shoddy job of it. The one tiny aspect that I did appreciate was the concept of how teenagers should be given the freedom to find their own niche, figure their own life out without the pressure from parents –or anyone else at all– to follow a certain path. Also, how appearances and gender stereotypes are a complete and total sham. Buuuut. While well-written, that message was lost amidst poor execution with a yawn-worthy plot and a ridiculously detached romance (seriously, I have more chemistry with the subject chemistry than these two do with each other and that's saying something). You're better off going to Ikea and shopping for furniture (something I missed in favour of reading this) than hopping along for this ride; that'd be more adventurous than Eli and Auden's late night adventures ever will be. Final rating: 1.5 stars _________________________ Book song: Flume - Quirk _________________________

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cara

    This is pure Sarah Dessen. It's a comfort to read her work, because you know you are going to come away with something to think about. I'm afraid I didn't like this one as much as the others. It's because well... it feels a little like I'm reading the same story. Tons of others have mentioned it, but she seems to be sticking to a very strict formula. Which I wouldn't mind too much if the characters didn't seem so similar. They all are so reserved and issue driven. One of the reasons I think that This is pure Sarah Dessen. It's a comfort to read her work, because you know you are going to come away with something to think about. I'm afraid I didn't like this one as much as the others. It's because well... it feels a little like I'm reading the same story. Tons of others have mentioned it, but she seems to be sticking to a very strict formula. Which I wouldn't mind too much if the characters didn't seem so similar. They all are so reserved and issue driven. One of the reasons I think that it didn't work so magically in this one was because Eli (the love interest)doesn't get explored enough. He's dealing with some truly heavy stuff and we do see glimpses of vulnerability but it's not enough. Does that make sense? But please don't mistake my irks with it as a bad review for the book. I love Sarah Dessen's writing. Even though she tends to use the same storyline it works because she knows how to work it. One of the things I was thrilled to see was the subplot story of Auden's baby sister and her new stepmother Heidi. We don't see this relationship much in young adult books and it made me smile to see Dessen use her own life experiences and insert them in her writing. You know what they say, write what you know. As always the minor characters are pitch perfect. My favorites in this one were Maggie and Adam. Everything is always done so well: character development, dialogue, growth it's no wonder people love Dessen's work. All the symbols like the bike, quest, beach, are done in a way to make you get attached it to it so much, and think " yeah I TOTALLY get that! " By the way I thought the idea of going on a quest sounded awesome and was a real unique way of getting Auden and Eli to really connect. It was funny to see all the cameo appearances from people in previous books. The funniest being Jason (Macy's old boyfriend in the The Truth About Forever). Dessen should totally write a book about him. I appreciated the way Auden and Eli meet. Most of the time they seem to click easily, but it was a bit harder for them so that was a welcome change. I hated Auden's dad. What a selfish guy, but one of the main lessons of this book is that people can change. I want to mention all the minor characters (like always there is a lot going on) but I simply can't. You'll just have to delve into the pages yourself. Brilliant idea of setting a lot of the book at night. It gives the book and the conversations that extra special touch. Even though it was not one of my favorites do read it. It will make you look at growing up differently.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Aj the Ravenous Reader

    3.5 stars ”Maybe it’s true, and being a girl could not be about interest rates and skinny jeans, riding bikes and wearing pink. Not about any one thing, but everything.” Although the story was a bit slow, it was written nice and easy. I really liked the premise and the characterization of Auden She grew up under the strict tutelage of her intimidating, condescending mother while her barely visible dad always manages to escape his daddy roles in the guise of perfecting his craft in writing. I 3.5 stars ”Maybe it’s true, and being a girl could not be about interest rates and skinny jeans, riding bikes and wearing pink. Not about any one thing, but everything.” Although the story was a bit slow, it was written nice and easy. I really liked the premise and the characterization of Auden She grew up under the strict tutelage of her intimidating, condescending mother while her barely visible dad always manages to escape his daddy roles in the guise of perfecting his craft in writing. I don’t know which one I dislike more, her mom or her dad. I guess there’s no other way to put it. They both suck. I’d hate to be Auden and I clearly should be more appreciative of my parents. I could strongly connect with Auden’s poor social skills but only because I’m me. My mom is nothing like Auden’s mom. In fact, my mom might be one of the most sociable, affable mothers you’ll ever meet. You’ll probably wonder why one of her daughters turned up like me. I got the hang of it though when I reached my twenties. I’m still socially awkward but at least I’m perfectly okay with it. Gosh, how did I manage to twist this review and make it about me? Blame it to my poor social skills. So overall, Auden’s journey in rediscovering herself, rediscovering people, actually experiencing childhood (i.e. learning how to ride a bike), gaining friends and even a romantic interest, understanding her parents and learning to loosen up and do things just for fun in an entire course of one summer is a story I quite enjoyed. I may not be fully invested with all the characters but I was very much Along for the Ride.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    Peoples, this book ain’t worth it. Number one: THERES NO PLOT. LITERALLY NONE. This author was all like, ‘oh let’s put a normal teenage girl who has low self esteem!’ AHEM. BASICALLY HOW ALL CONTEMPORARY NOVELS GO. And let’s not forget about that boy! Of course Dessen went for the typical approach. Meaning- BIKER DUDE Now, see I thought it’d be some great guy who’s hot and sports a six pack and all..basically my dream guy in every book. DA HELL TO THE NO. This dude.......*restrains from wanting to str Peoples, this book ain’t worth it. Number one: THERES NO PLOT. LITERALLY NONE. This author was all like, ‘oh let’s put a normal teenage girl who has low self esteem!’ AHEM. BASICALLY HOW ALL CONTEMPORARY NOVELS GO. And let’s not forget about that boy! Of course Dessen went for the typical approach. Meaning- BIKER DUDE Now, see I thought it’d be some great guy who’s hot and sports a six pack and all..basically my dream guy in every book. DA HELL TO THE NO. This dude.......*restrains from wanting to strangle him* HE’S STUPID. HE HAS A FREAKING IQ OF A DAMN CHEETO PUFF. There’s just nothing to him!! He’s got the looks, everything else is just.....0_0....... And this leads to number two! ALL THE CHARACTERS ARE BORING. They just have no life to them whatsoever Auden, (MC), gives no more than a crap on making friends, and like...is the next freaking Einstein at school tho. Eli...................the dumb biker dude -_- Her mom- an asshole Her dad- even more of an asshole PEOPLES U CAN SEE WHERE IM GOING WITH THIS. And there I go, stupidly reading all 383 pages of useless nothing. -_- Number three- all stories go with problem and solution right?? Mostly. YAH NO, THERE AINT ANY IN THIS ONE. It’s just...this is girl, this is boy, now kiss. *hallelujah chorus* Me: *rips hair out* My friends, I’m warning you. DONT READ IT.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Steph (Reviewer X)

    Cross-posted from my blog review . Auden is your classic overachiever: she’s studious and entirely too serious. What’s more, she deprived herself of a normal high school experience—one with friends and fun—opting instead for the academic route. Which did indeed work, because she got into a great university, the one she’d be attending come August. In the meantime, there is the whole summer stretching before her, and suddenly, spending it at home with her holier-than-thou, my-feminism-is-better Cross-posted from my blog review . Auden is your classic overachiever: she’s studious and entirely too serious. What’s more, she deprived herself of a normal high school experience—one with friends and fun—opting instead for the academic route. Which did indeed work, because she got into a great university, the one she’d be attending come August. In the meantime, there is the whole summer stretching before her, and suddenly, spending it at home with her holier-than-thou, my-feminism-is-better-than-yours, literary professor of a mother and her revolving door of grad student flirts, dinner parties and drinking isn’t cutting it. So, Auden decides to spend summer in Colby (this isn’t set in Lakeview!) with her father, her stepmother Heidi (whom her mother deems a waste of space because of her girly tendencies), and their newborn Thisbe (her father is also a literary snob). She isn’t sure exactly what to expect in Colby, but it’s definitely not what she finds: a hookup she stupidly stumbled upon, her father immersed in his novel and not paying any heed to Heidi and the ever-crying Thisbe, Heidi’s imminent breakdown, or the job she inadvertently falls into, keeping the books for Heidi’s shop, Clementine’s. With the job come three girls—the other employees—who’re everything her mother stands against: girly and frivolous. Set in her snobby (and shy) ways, Auden secludes herself from the group and works diligently in the back room. However, she can’t keep hiding away forever. She doesn’t sleep at night, and neither does this strange guy Eli she keeps seeing around. One thing—Eli’s help in placating Thisbe in the middle of the night while Heidi catches up on some sleep—leads to another—seeing Eli at a party—and they become night buddies, embarked in a quest to give Auden a second chance at the childhood she never had, one food fight at a time. As the summer progresses, Auden aggregates herself to the trio from Clementine’s, faces the errors of her prejudice toward people influenced by her mother, and basically examines her entire life up to that point. The summer is, quite simply, a Renaissance. Auden’s character resonated with me. Like her, I’ve changed school multiple times (seven, if memory serves) and that’s made me feel like I’ve missed some crucial school experiences and rendered me socially retarded. Granted, I hide it a lot better than she does (seriously), but the underlying insecurity is much the same. Also, her prejudice toward “fluffy” girls is something I’ve faced as well, as was her discovery of substance beyond the pink exterior. This is terribly realistic stuff for us self-absorbed teens who figure we know everything and are always the smartest in the room. Which brings me to the characterization: Sarah Dessen is quite accomplished at possibly every facet of writing and storytelling, but I believe her true forte is her characters. Even Thisbe, Auden’s newborn half-sister, had personality. I loved how all important characters had layers upon layers that continuously surprised me, the reader. Reading this book was a peeling-the-onion experience, to be sure. Another thing I love in Sarah is that she doesn’t write about foreign—futuristic or fantastical—worlds but rather about the one in which I reside, and yet her world building is so adept, rich, filled with detail, that I can’t help but lose myself in it. In the hands of another writer, her books would probably be half their size and probably still be good (I love her familiar-yet-foreign approach to plotting universal situations in an unique way), but wouldn’t come alive as they do with her mastery of setting me in the mood and atmosphere. And finally, I love that this is a smart read. Aside from having smart-sounding content (Auden is, after all, an ambulant brain), the book itself is smart in that it’ll probably identify with each person in a different way. I identified with Auden’s alienation and her awakening to the people around her, but with the number of other things going on, I’m sure other parts will speak louder to other people. Her dysfunctional family situation, the unresolved divorces, the overall complicated nature of each troubling aspect of the book… Quite frankly, like with Laurie Halse Anderson, I wonder where Sarah Dessen gets so much experience with such an array of different topics to write about them with such bang. It’s downright formidable, the skill these two possess. Now, ironically, given the book’s subject matter, I read this one during one of my insomnia episodes. In fact, it’s 7:52 a.m. as of writing this sentence, and I just had breakfast and sat down to write this review. I’ll be going to sleep soon as I finish it, quite satisfied at that, because this book turned an otherwise destined to be useless night, exciting, interesting, and memorable. (Which is more than I can say about all the others, considering I can’t even distinguish one from another…) I have to say, though—and this is one of my only (minor) objections to something in this book—I’m not sure if insomnia is exactly what Auden has. She has a general discomfort with sleeping at night (explained in the book), but insomnia is the inability to sleep, even if given the opportunity. She just drinks loads of coffee to snap out of it. There’s a difference, and believe me, as an insomniac, I envy the people with the choice. Anyway. Sarah Dessen is definitely on an uphill climb of quality. She is one of those authors I am damn near worshiping and would die if I had the opportunity to interview or something. Counting this one, I’ve loved her last three books, each successively more than the other. I didn’t think she’d be able to top Lock and Key—which is second only to This Lullaby, as far as I’m concerned—anytime soon, but she did with this one. Her work—particularly at its best—is the kind that inspires me, moves me, even in the bleakest (or most boring, as was the case) of scenarios. Definitely required reading.

  9. 5 out of 5

    emma

    not the best sarah dessen, but, you know, not the worst. there's kind of an interesting exploration of feminism and female gender identity in here??? which is not exactly what you'd expect. like, when this book started out by describing the protagonist's mom with this paragraph: "She was an expert on women in literature but didn't much like them in practice. Partly, it was because so many of them were jealous," going on to describe her unbeliiiiiieeeeevable intelligence, success, beauty, and rock not the best sarah dessen, but, you know, not the worst. there's kind of an interesting exploration of feminism and female gender identity in here??? which is not exactly what you'd expect. like, when this book started out by describing the protagonist's mom with this paragraph: "She was an expert on women in literature but didn't much like them in practice. Partly, it was because so many of them were jealous," going on to describe her unbeliiiiiieeeeevable intelligence, success, beauty, and rockin' bod. apparently, these are goddamn envy kryptonite to women everywhere. not a great start. but then the book takes a truly astounding number of pages to kinda...take down that way of thinking? very lightly. but like. a lot of this book works as a depiction of women who can be both smart and pretty, both sporty and girly, both intellectual and pink dress-wearing. it does so sloppily. and slowly. and maybe inconclusively? but it tries. unfortunately: still a boring-as-hell guy. still a boring-as-hell girl. but also female friendship! but also really terrible parents who maybe shouldn't have been redeemed? and also a whole lot about bikes, which is weird as hell. bottom line: i say again - not the worst dessen. but waaaaaaaaaay not the best.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sloan

    In my opinion, Sarah Dessen is one of the best young adult writers out there today. This book happens to be my second favorite book from her. It's odd how Dessen can make you feel like you know her characters personally. I love that about her writing, because she makes it so easy to identify with her characters. When I finished this book, I was almost upset about it. I didn't want to leave behind the characters and in some ways I felt like I was saying goodbye to friends. That’s a true sign that In my opinion, Sarah Dessen is one of the best young adult writers out there today. This book happens to be my second favorite book from her. It's odd how Dessen can make you feel like you know her characters personally. I love that about her writing, because she makes it so easy to identify with her characters. When I finished this book, I was almost upset about it. I didn't want to leave behind the characters and in some ways I felt like I was saying goodbye to friends. That’s a true sign that you've just read a really great book. Overall I give this a 4.5/5 stars!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kristi

    I’m just going to start this out saying that I love Sarah Dessen. Along for the Ride is definitely on my Dessen all time favorite list. Right up there with Just Listen and This Lullaby. The characters is this novel are freaggin fabulous! That is one thing I can always count on with Dessen, she knows how to create a believable and relatable character no matter the situation. And Auden is no exception. I reveled in her transformation throughout the story. Ultimately that’s what this story was a bo I’m just going to start this out saying that I love Sarah Dessen. Along for the Ride is definitely on my Dessen all time favorite list. Right up there with Just Listen and This Lullaby. The characters is this novel are freaggin fabulous! That is one thing I can always count on with Dessen, she knows how to create a believable and relatable character no matter the situation. And Auden is no exception. I reveled in her transformation throughout the story. Ultimately that’s what this story was a bout for me, some people might see it as a love story, but for me is was a story of transformation. Even though I’ve read almost every novel Dessen has written, it still surprises me how engrossed I can become in the atmosphere and settings that she creates. I mean the places she writes about are often based on actual places, but she has a knack for making them rich and enticing places. I mean a coffee place in the back of a laundromat, with pie! How ingenious is that! I’ve read people complain about how every Dessen book is the same, and to some extent I agree with them. They follow similar plot lines, but each individual story is unique in it’s own way. I’ve never felt the same emotionally with any of her novels. She’s a spectacular writer. I’d love to see her do a male pov. Along for the Ride is outstanding and it’s a great summer read!

  12. 4 out of 5

    ♥ Becky 22

    I love you, Sarah Dessen! "Along For the Ride" is about a girl called Auden, who just finished high school and is spending the summer before college visiting her dad and his new wife and newborn baby in their beach town. Auden has insomnia and spends her nights aimlessly driving around, until she meets Eli, who also can't sleep at night, and they start hanging out together. This is the PERFECT book for reading at the pool or the beach. One of my favorite 'summer-feel' books. "That was one of I love you, Sarah Dessen! "Along For the Ride" is about a girl called Auden, who just finished high school and is spending the summer before college visiting her dad and his new wife and newborn baby in their beach town. Auden has insomnia and spends her nights aimlessly driving around, until she meets Eli, who also can't sleep at night, and they start hanging out together. This is the PERFECT book for reading at the pool or the beach. One of my favorite 'summer-feel' books. "That was one of the things about the night. Stuff that would be weird in the bright light of day just wasn't so much once you passed a certain hour. It was like the dark evened it all out somehow." "The night changed things, widening out the scope. What we said to each other, the things we did, they all took on a bigger meaning in the dark." I love how this book encourages you to be ALL THE THINGS. Just because you're girly and like the color pink, doesn't mean you're dumb. I feel like that's a stereotype many people have about girls. "Who says you have to be either smart or pretty, or into girly stuff or sports? Life shouldn't be about the either/or. We're capable of more than that, you know?" "Maybe it was true, and being a girl could be about interest rates and skinny jeans, riding bikes and wearing pink. Not about any one thing, but everything." I loved this book, and I absolutely recommend it. But read it in the summer. ;)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    This is the best new-to-me Sarah Dessen book I've read since the days of The Truth About Forever and Dreamland. This was exactly what I was in the mood for and I actually really enjoyed it. This makes me want to re-read all of my old Sarah Dessen favorites. Awh.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nat

    When that wave of nostalgia hits you in the middle of a pandemic so you succumb to reread all the books that made your summers. I have a whole twitter thread just on that: Question: What are your favorite YA contemporaries to reread? I'm in desperate need for recommendations. I am seeking comfort in old YA contemporaries that brought me too much joy in summer. just reading the synopsis for this book was like an instant hit of joy. I could hear an echo of the 2013-2014 bops that were playing on When that wave of nostalgia hits you in the middle of a pandemic so you succumb to reread all the books that made your summers. I have a whole twitter thread just on that: Question: What are your favorite YA contemporaries to reread? I'm in desperate need for recommendations. I am seeking comfort in old YA contemporaries that brought me too much joy in summer. just reading the synopsis for this book was like an instant hit of joy. I could hear an echo of the 2013-2014 bops that were playing on the radio when I read these summer books. This quarantine is hitting harder than I thought without my local library to take comfort in weekly. I’m pulling out the big guns with these YA contemporaries. Morgan Matson is next, I feel it. I just recalled the little races I had with myself when reading these contemporaries. I wanted to fly through them because there was a whole list of books just like it left to discover. There’s no rereading. There’s only reading with fresh eyes, waiting to be amazed. I miss that. Why is that only YA contemporaries from the past can hold me glued to the page like they did back in the day? And get this, I’m actually excited to read them and get back to them. I haven’t experienced that in so long. It’s like only a specific group of books that can get me committed to reading. and I’ll hold on to any momentum as long as it gets me off that wicked refresh button on the youtube homepage. e n o u g h. this quarantine made me finally confront just how much time I let myself waste online. I want to read. Right now, this is the only thing I want to read. So I’ll read it. I have a whole lot more to say, but in short, Sarah Dessen books just hit different. Join me along this journey into the past. This review and more can be found on my blog.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    The problem with Sarah Dessen's books is not that she uses the same formula in every single one. That's fine! She's good at it, people like it - what one can do one must do, etc., etc. No, the problem is that she uses the same deadass doorknob of a female protagonist every single time. Auden is Annabel (Just Listen) is Ruby (Lock and Key) is Caitlin (Dreamland). They are ALL. The same. And my God, they are boring as hell. Auden, by far, is the deadest doorknob of them all. She is about as exciting The problem with Sarah Dessen's books is not that she uses the same formula in every single one. That's fine! She's good at it, people like it - what one can do one must do, etc., etc. No, the problem is that she uses the same deadass doorknob of a female protagonist every single time. Auden is Annabel (Just Listen) is Ruby (Lock and Key) is Caitlin (Dreamland). They are ALL. The same. And my God, they are boring as hell. Auden, by far, is the deadest doorknob of them all. She is about as exciting as a laundry basket full of dirty clothes. She is actually paint. Drying on a wall. She is a soulless corpse. She is nothing. I am tired of reading about these boring AF girls who everyone seems to find interesting and mysterious and unlike anyone else they've met. It's not real. You cannot just walk around without a personality and have people enjoy your company. The actual story doesn't really exist. At least not in the couple hundred pages I've read so far. Auden has terrible parents blah blah she feels pressured blah blah whatever. I'm asleep. The love interest this time around is also exceedingly dull and there is less than zero chemistry between them. The only common ground they share is their identities as outcasts (which they have GIVEN THEMSELVES FOR NO. REASON. PEOPLE LIKE THEM. PEOPLE WANT TO TALK TO THEM. THAT DOESN'T MAKE YOU AN OUTCAST) and their insomnia. SARAH, staying awake all night and sleeping through most of the day doesn't make you an insomniac, it makes you nocturnal. Or a teenager. And it certainly doesn't make someone unique or intriguing. AUGH. I've been DNFing books left and right this year and I promised myself I would try not to do it again unless it was absolutely necessary but eff that. This is drivel and I'm over it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Pinky

    “Relationships don't always make sense. Especially from the outside” For the past few days, I started reading a bunch of Contemporary Novels. I noticed that I enjoyed Saint Anything so much and decided that I wanted to read more books by Sarah Dessen. So I am on a "Sarah Dessen Marathon" and I want to finish all of her books before I go start any others. I know that I wont be reading one of her books because I am not interested in it, but I am planning on reading the rest. And I am really e “Relationships don't always make sense. Especially from the outside” For the past few days, I started reading a bunch of Contemporary Novels. I noticed that I enjoyed Saint Anything so much and decided that I wanted to read more books by Sarah Dessen. So I am on a "Sarah Dessen Marathon" and I want to finish all of her books before I go start any others. I know that I wont be reading one of her books because I am not interested in it, but I am planning on reading the rest. And I am really enjoying this marathon because all the books are so good, so far. She has this way of making her books so easy to relate to and I just love that about Sarah Dessen. “Life is full of screw-ups. You're supposed to fail sometimes. It's a required part of the human existence.” Auden was planning on spending her summer like all the other summers, staying home, studying, and hanging out with her mom. Her dad and mom are divorced and her dad moved on with another women named Heidi. After getting an email from Heidi, about her having a baby, Auden decides to do something she has never done before. She went to visit and stay with her father's family for the summer. She met her sister, Thisbe and was doing so many things that she never expected to do. Later on, she gets a job at Clementines, a clothes store and she meets so many people. Eli is a guy who is quiet and lonely, but he had a past that follows him everywhere. Ever since an incident, he hasn't been talking to anyone, until Auden came. Now, they spend endless nights, going on mysterious quests. This summer changes Auden's life for the greater good. :) “Sometimes a question can hurt more than an answer.” This book inspired me in so many different ways, it had me thinking about so many things. In some ways, me and Auden have so many things in common. I don't really have a social life, but I am lucky to have a really close friend. Even if others think I have a social life, it's a really small one. Goodreads is one of the things that has helped me out and made me come out of my shell. Me and my friend had a conversation once and it had us thinking about where we belong. We feel like we don't belong anywhere, but although this is supposed to be sad, we find it to be hilarious. Every day, we ask each other the same question, "Where do we belong?" But in the end, we start laughing, while people on the streets give us dirty looks. “It's still a memory worth having, even if it's not exactly what you imagined.” ,/b> In some ways, Auden felt the same way, and that is one of the things I liked about this book. It was weird because ever since I started reading this book, I felt like I was lonely. It was like, I had a strong connection to this book and I am really glad that I do. Even Eli had the same impact on me, he was so easy to relate to in some ways. I really liked how Eli and Auden could connect in some ways and how both of their lives changed in the end. Even if they had their ups and downs, they were awesome friends and meant for each other. “Life shouldn't be about the either/or. We're capable of more than that, you know?” The side characters made the story more realistic and I loved most of them. I didn't like Jake at all though and I really wish that there was a part taken out of this book because I kept cringing when that incident came up. Leah, Maggie, Ester and Adam were amazing friends and I loved how welcoming they were. Maggie was one of my favorite characters, I am glad that she wasn't one of those drama queens. These characters knew how to make my day and make me feel better, if I am in a situation where I feel alone. They were all hilarious, and Eli and Auden had these moments where I would laugh my head off. Heidi was so stong and I loved Eli's mom. I didn't like Auden's father and wasn't a huge fan of her mother either. But Hollis was a nice older brother, although he was a player. They all had their flaws and that's what made the story so real and I loved that. “Just because something’s damaged doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be treated with respect” Ever since I started to read books, I felt like I was never alone. There were always characters that would help me out when I feel down. If I am in a situation that I want to get out of, the book is right there to catch my fall. I know it's a bit dramatic, but this is how I feel. But if I don't have a book with me, I feel so empty and lost. It's like an addiction but a really good addiction and I know I will never stop reading. I found that a lot of Sarah Dessen's books are so inspirational and although it deals with so many serious situations, it is funny and fun. “This isn’t ideal. Very few things are. Sometimes, you have to manufacture your own history. Give fate a push, so to speak. You know?” I highly recommend this book, it's so intriguing and although it can be slow paced at times, you will still enjoy every ounce of it. It's one of the books that have impacted my life and had me thinking about so may different things, I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. :) "It’s not just where you go, but how you choose to get there.”

  17. 5 out of 5

    Peeves

    oh dear. this book was pushing me to the edge of self destruction. The book is just too..shallow for me to be interested in it. The plot is weak. Wait. is there even a plot in the first place? it is so bad that i am cannot even be bothered to give a full blown review. Too much conversation involving other people(Auden is like a invisible ghost some times. seriously? how does she overhear everything?). is it only me or...? judging from the ratings by other goodreads reviewers, i guess it is only oh dear. this book was pushing me to the edge of self destruction. The book is just too..shallow for me to be interested in it. The plot is weak. Wait. is there even a plot in the first place? it is so bad that i am cannot even be bothered to give a full blown review. Too much conversation involving other people(Auden is like a invisible ghost some times. seriously? how does she overhear everything?). is it only me or...? judging from the ratings by other goodreads reviewers, i guess it is only me. I do not. I repeat. i do not want to know how a perfect pair of jeans will speak to you. Honestly. i am from singapore and the idea of summer is foreign here. We do get holidays here, but judging by the way the summer is described in Along for the Ride, you would think the characters in the book honestly have no purpose in life. they do the samething thing over and over EVERYDAY?? okay, i am getting too emotional. i should leave. but i can't. How many times does Auden and that Eli guy bring up the "talking to a girl's ex-boyfriend in her own kitchen" joke. how many times have i read the line "i did not know how to reply to that". Seriously, the whole purpose of this book is just lost on me. It is about second chances? hell yeah it is. of course it is about second chances if that word keeps popping up on every single page for the last part of the book!!!! for my own well being, i shall stop here. i apologise for the haywire review. And yes. UNFORTUNATELY.. i own a copy of this book. what a waste of space.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Julie Zantopoulos

    Video review is linked here. Okay, Sarah, you finally got one right. I enjoyed this book and it was a quick read that helped me escape all the upheaval in my life right now. I liked Auden and her arc, I loved Eli and the friends that Auden made. Heck I even loved Hollie even as I hated Auden's actual parents. It was a fun summer read and for once didn't have anything problematic in it that stood out to me. Video review is linked here. Okay, Sarah, you finally got one right. I enjoyed this book and it was a quick read that helped me escape all the upheaval in my life right now. I liked Auden and her arc, I loved Eli and the friends that Auden made. Heck I even loved Hollie even as I hated Auden's actual parents. It was a fun summer read and for once didn't have anything problematic in it that stood out to me.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Jo Weir

    Sarah Dessen simply does not disappoint. This one was awesome, with the bikes and the self identification. Also I loved how the stereotypes were addressed and how it's OK to fit into different categories without feeling like you have to stay in one box because society says so. I was never lonely per say, but I do remember that feeling of not fitting in and knowing I was different. I really enjoyed the take this book took on that and the outcome. Great read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Edit: 4.5 stars after this reread. No idea why I rated it 3 stars back in 2012!

  21. 5 out of 5

    anud-be

    5★ This book was extremely relatable , some might say it was boring I get that , but I was not bored at all , all characters were well written , flawed and real and the character growth was well done , it's books like this one that help you grow while you synonymously being entertained , it was not an easy summer read but it was meaningful , strong , touching and healing . Thanks Mrs. Dessen

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie Shores

    Although it was not necessarily the ending I would have written, it was still a happy ending... just the way I like it. All the loose ends tied up in a big, red bow. Along for the Ride details the summertime adventures of Auden, a studious, sheltered girl who just graduated high school and decides to spend the summer with her dad, a narcissistic one-time author trying to finish his second novel, his much younger wife and their new baby in order to take a break from her emotionally aloof, highly-d Although it was not necessarily the ending I would have written, it was still a happy ending... just the way I like it. All the loose ends tied up in a big, red bow. Along for the Ride details the summertime adventures of Auden, a studious, sheltered girl who just graduated high school and decides to spend the summer with her dad, a narcissistic one-time author trying to finish his second novel, his much younger wife and their new baby in order to take a break from her emotionally aloof, highly-driven mother. Although the details of her life were unique to her, of course, I still found her story to be relatable. "Maybe with normal mothers and daughters, it was more straightforward. They have the kind of back-and-forth that left no ambiguity or question, saying exactly what they meant when they meant it. But my mom and I weren't normal. So this, stilted and vague though it might be, was the closest we'd come to each other in ages. It was like reaching out for someone's hand, then missing their fingers or even their arm and hitting their shoulder instead. But no matter. You hang on tight anyway." "And the bottom line is, what defines you isn't how many times you crash, but the number of times you get back on the bike. As long as it's one more, you're all good." I loved this book for everything it was and everything it wasn't. Introspective, but not preachy. Innocent, but not immature. Real, but not pretentious. My only complaint--and this is just a personal thing--is that "Jesus" was used as kind of a curse word several times when "Jeez" (or something else just as innocuous) could have been easily substituted. I think this was noticeable because there was absolutely no cursing at all. None. If it was mixed in among other "language", it might not have stuck out so obviously to me. Just saying.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Helga

    A lot of people say that Sarah Dessen uses the same plot, the same idea of a teenage girl meeting a boy, who changes her life, with who she hangs out more and more and then there is a conflict (a lot of time happening because of her old life...), but the girl tries to explain... However, I LOVE her books and now that I think about it yes she does write her books the same way, but I LIKE that way. Along for the Ride is my favourite book. Its one of those books you can just read into and enjoy parts A lot of people say that Sarah Dessen uses the same plot, the same idea of a teenage girl meeting a boy, who changes her life, with who she hangs out more and more and then there is a conflict (a lot of time happening because of her old life...), but the girl tries to explain... However, I LOVE her books and now that I think about it yes she does write her books the same way, but I LIKE that way. Along for the Ride is my favourite book. Its one of those books you can just read into and enjoy parts that you liked even after you read it. The book is about a girl called Auden. Her parents are divorced and she lives with her mom. The divorce effected her very much and so she fell into studying,learning...She never did anything social or enjoyed her childhood and now to think of it she almost skipped it. But that years summer, she goes to her Dad who lives in Colby with a women who he has a child from. Auden meets this guy called Eli, she doesnt even really know him, but they spend a lot of their nights together as they both stay up late (Auden because before the divorce her parents were up fighting late at night) making up for the stuff that she never did in her childhood. But then her Dad and the women fight, her dad moves out for a "break". This brings up a lot of Audens past and she is going back into studying, learning...that she hasnt done, mostly blocking out Eli. But then she realizes how much he means to her, but can Eli forgive her? I would definitely advice you to read this book! I loved Eli`s character the "we dont have to talk about it" if anything embarrassing came up. I also think that a lot of people can relate to the story. I just loved it :)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Daniella (Reading With Daniella)

    Click here to see this review and others on my blog Reading With Daniella I have really liked, if not loved, every Sarah Dessen book that I have read, and Along for the Ride was no exception. It is no surprise that I was in love with the writing style of this book. Sarah Dessen has such an admirable way with words. I don't think I could ever tire of reading her stories. I will forever continue picking up her books and I am sure that I will continue falling in love with everything that she produces Click here to see this review and others on my blog Reading With Daniella I have really liked, if not loved, every Sarah Dessen book that I have read, and Along for the Ride was no exception. It is no surprise that I was in love with the writing style of this book. Sarah Dessen has such an admirable way with words. I don't think I could ever tire of reading her stories. I will forever continue picking up her books and I am sure that I will continue falling in love with everything that she produces. I'd like to share a couple of my favourite quotes from the book: “Life is full of screwups. You're supposed to fail sometimes. It's a required part of the human existance.” “It shouldn't be easy to be amazing. Then everything would be. It's the things you fight for and struggle with before earning that have the greatest worth. When something's difficult to come by, you'll do that much more to make sure it's even harder―or impossible―to lose.” “An ending was an ending. No matter how many pages of sentences and paragraphs of great stories led up to it, it would always have the last word.” “It didn't make you noble to step away from something that wasn't working, even if you thought you were the reason for the malfunction. Especially then. It just made you a quitter. Because if you were the problem, chances were you could also be the solution. The only way to find out was to take another shot.” “Morning would come before we knew it. It always did. But we still had the night, and for now, we were together, so I just closed my eyes and drank it all in.” Obviously, I'm always excited to pick up a Sarah Dessen novel (what fan of Ya romance isn't?), but I was especially excited to read this one because it was recently announced that it will soon be adapted into a movie on Netflix. I believe there are three books that have been chosen, but Along For The Ride will be coming out first. I was pleased with the Netflix adaptation of To All The Boys I've Loved Before, so I was super excited when I heard that a few of Sarah Dessen's have been selected! As always, I adored the references to Sarah Dessen's other books! I always get such a ridiculous thrill from it!! Jason from The Truth About Forever was mentioned and eventually made an appearance. He was just as awful and annoying as before. There was also a mention of Wes from The Truth About Forever, or as Jason called him, "the juvenile delinquent welder with a tattoo". Ruby's key necklaces from Lock and Key made a quick and subtle appearance, as did World of Waffles, which has come up in many of her books. I love how smoothly Sarah Dessen manages to slip in these little mentions of other people, things and events from her previous books that are so discreet that only fans of hers would notice. However, when we do, it is so incredibly special and exciting! It is one of the many, many things that make her work so amazing and fun to read. I'm actually really happy that I waited until now to read this book. It takes place the summer after Auden's high school graduation and she and most of her new friends are enjoying their last summer before they go to university, which is the same situation that I'm currently in. I also very much enjoyed the actual setting of the story. I know that Sarah Dessen has set a few of her other books in the town of Colby, but this was the first one that I read. I very much enjoyed exploring the cute little town along with Auden, I can't wait to see more of it in her other books! Unsurprisingly, I fell in love with the cast of characters that we were introduced to. I will say that they seemed a little bit flatter than some of the other side characters that Sarah Dessen has included in her other books, such as Saint Anything or The Truth About Forever, but they were lovable and fun nonetheless. I could strongly identify with Auden in some ways and understood and related to the quest that she was going on to make up for lost time in her childhood and teenage years. I really enjoyed the watching the relationship between Auden and Eli bloom. Eli was quiet and reserved, but he was also funny and surprisingly sweet. I loved seeing how great he was with baby Thisbe; it was adorable! As a total night owl, I LOVED exploring the town of Colby with them in the middle of the night. There truly is something about nighttime that makes everything, even the most mundane tasks, feel extra special and exhilarating. Being awake at night when most of the world around you is asleep and completely unaware is a magical feeling for me and I loved how it was worked into the story. I'm honestly so jealous; I wish I had somebody to go on nighttime adventures with!! I would also really love to read another book involving the characters going on night time adventures, so if you know of any good ones, please recommend them to me! As with many of Sarah Dessen's books, Along For The Ride was left rather open-ended. I would have really liked to have seen more of Eli and Auden together at the Beach Bash and then some of their relationship afterward. I honestly feel like there could have been more development between the two of them in general throughout the story. There are still so much that I don't know about Eli and I would have enjoyed seeing more sides of him. With this being said, Sarah Dessen's stories are always so much more than a simple romance. The book included personal growth not only for the protagonist, Auden, but many of the secondary characters as well. There are friendships and interesting familial relationships explored in addition to the romance. Another element of the book that I really enjoyed was the relationship between Auden's father and Heidi. I was surprised by how invested I became in their marriage. Her father was truly one of the most infuriating characters that I have ever read about. He was selfish and treated his wife horribly! She was struggling to care for their newborn baby on her own but he did nothing at all to help her because he insisted that he was to busy working on his novel and needed his sleep. Heidi was such a sweet, caring and selfless lady and I was so proud when she finally started standing up for herself to Auden's father. I was so happy to see things hopefully working out at the end for the sake of Heidi and the baby, as well as Auden. Auden's mother also really ticked me off, but I feel like she has begun to redeem herself. In summary, this wasn't necessarily my favourite Sarah Dessen book, but I really enjoyed it and would most certainly recommend it to anyone looking for a summery contemporary romance that packs a punch.

  25. 4 out of 5

    laaaaames

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. One star because the prose is lovely. Another because, I mean, I finished it. Despite my issues with Sarah Dessen (and they are numerous), I really enjoyed Lock & Key so I hoped that meant she was moving away from the crap that annoys me so much about her writing. Alas, it is not to be. I liveblogged reading this for a friend, so instead of writing up AGAIN why this book made me so furious and frustrated, I'll just copy and paste for you: pg. 33, a dude is all OOH YOU'RE THE HOTTEST GIRL to Auden w One star because the prose is lovely. Another because, I mean, I finished it. Despite my issues with Sarah Dessen (and they are numerous), I really enjoyed Lock & Key so I hoped that meant she was moving away from the crap that annoys me so much about her writing. Alas, it is not to be. I liveblogged reading this for a friend, so instead of writing up AGAIN why this book made me so furious and frustrated, I'll just copy and paste for you: pg. 33, a dude is all OOH YOU'RE THE HOTTEST GIRL to Auden who is just WALKING BY which is, OK, perhaps supposed to be high-school-era-smooth or dorky BUT it basically paints the world as a place where women who ignore street harassment as ungracious frigid bitches with little experience. AGGHHHH. pg. 43, OMG, "maybe my mom could play the aloof, selfish bitch" - first of all WTF, secondly, ever think that your mom IS OK with just doing dudes and not getting attached? LOTS OF PEOPLE ARE. OMFG. This is a general complaint, but I think Sarah Dessen should have written the book about Heidi because that is clearly what she cares about more. Shocking she'd pen this one right after having her own baby, Y/N? I had this problem with the Megan McCafferty books as well, but I hate books where girly-girls are to be mocked and patronized and feminists are to be mocked and patronized, because it is such bullshit that there is a respectable space where women are allowed to exist, where the societal conventions aren't taken too far but where feminism is for lesbians and harpies. And I fucking hate it. I fucking hate it too because I think it's such a real thing, not just in literature, I see it all the time. Let's laugh at the Elle Woods of the world but let's laugh at self-identifying feminists too. Bull. Shit. I hate being expected to remember people from all other Sarah Dessen books. Here's news: I DO NOT. I feel like I'm reading fanfiction for a series I never watched. I hate this self-referential bullshit. God I'm saying bullshit a lot. I'm not sure why it's so awful Auden's mom came to town with the hot grad student. Or at all. Mothers are allowed to have sex lives. It's generally how they became mothers. pg. 158, that whole street smarts/book smarts dichotomy? Scientists have done studies. IT DOESN'T EXIST. IT IS A WAY FOR STUPID PEOPLE TO PRETEND THEY ARE NOT STUPID. IT IS A WAY FOR INTELLECTUALS TO BE RUDE. IT IS NOT OK GAHHHH. pg. 160 and leading up to it, I cannot believe the reason it was OK for Auden to be talking to Eli WASN'T because people aren't fucking possessions but because actually Eli and Belissa (UGH BELISSA ALSO OF COURSE SHE HAS BAD SKIN AND A POINTY NOSE) are actually broken up DUH! I'm sorry, but "hot dog party" sounds more like a "sausage party" to me. OK I finished it while out and away from my computer, but, anyway, other issues: I hate the implication that the only way to truly let people into your life and not be a lonely bitch is romantic attachment. I also hate the idea that you're either a girl who is partially girly and details her life's minutiae or you are a lonely bitch. I don't even get why the mom is so lonely. I don't know many women who don't have a group of friends, unless they are awful people. Even serious academics hang out with other serious academics or writers or researchers or whatever else. I think the either/or dichotomy is another huge falsehood. Also: hanging out with a bunch of grad students who think you're awesome and want to discuss literature with you? Sounds pretty good. Sounds like a social life to me. HATE that Heidi and the dad end up together after all. He is awful. He had so much more to learn and yet that is mainly glossed over. I mean, men fare so much better in the Dessenverse. Also confused about how Heidi understands Auden's mom because she was a lonely bitch once too. Uh, except she is 26. I don't think you really had time, Heidi. Dessen really seems confused about when life happens, or at least that's how I see it. Eli is fine and all but does he have much to him besides biking and helping Auden with HER quest? If this was backwards, I would call a book sexist for making a girl exist primarily to help a dude find out who HE is. I want more. It's not fair to Eli, also I can accept why she'd spend time with him but I never felt their relationship was actually justified to me. Also, back to the Dessen Has No Idea When You Are Supposed To "Grow Up", why is whatshisface that Auden slept with and Maggie used to date such a huge asshole? He's 18 and sleeps with girls who he thinks are hot. Ohhhkay? I thought that was... being 18. OH AND EDITED TO ADD THAT I FORGOT TO MENTION... that Auden's mom's boyfriend basically stalks her into submission. That's a GREAT lesson!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Acordul Fin

    “It was so easy to disown what you couldn't recognize, to keep yourself apart from things that were foreign and unsettling. The only person you can be sure to control, always, is yourself. Which is a lot to be sure of, but at the same time, not enough.” Normally you'd expect the romance to take center stage in contemporaries like those written by Sarah Dessen, but I have to say, this element in her books is almost always sweet but highly underwhelming, it takes a backseat to character “It was so easy to disown what you couldn't recognize, to keep yourself apart from things that were foreign and unsettling. The only person you can be sure to control, always, is yourself. Which is a lot to be sure of, but at the same time, not enough.” Normally you'd expect the romance to take center stage in contemporaries like those written by Sarah Dessen, but I have to say, this element in her books is almost always sweet but highly underwhelming, it takes a backseat to character development, friendships and complicated family matters, and I truly appreciate this. Auden and Eli as a couple left me pretty cold, but I loved their personal growth and their relationships with the supporting cast.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mackenzie Lane

    Just...boring. I don't have anything too, too negative to say, but I also don't have anything super positive to say either. All of the characters were flat; they lacked a necessary flair & zest. They weren't complex, and they didn't surprise me. It was slow moving & uneventful, but easy to read once you actually convinced yourself to pick the book back up. Eh, the girl support in this book was refreshing after having read a few contemporaries where the MC ripped other girls apart because of how t Just...boring. I don't have anything too, too negative to say, but I also don't have anything super positive to say either. All of the characters were flat; they lacked a necessary flair & zest. They weren't complex, and they didn't surprise me. It was slow moving & uneventful, but easy to read once you actually convinced yourself to pick the book back up. Eh, the girl support in this book was refreshing after having read a few contemporaries where the MC ripped other girls apart because of how they dressed, looked, etc. That's definitely a notable plus of this book. There are better Sarah Dessen books than this one, so unless you're on a mission to read all of her published works (like I am), then I'd ultimately give this one a pass.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Brigid ♡

    Are those ... Barbie dolls on the cover? I will never see this cover the same. Are those ... Barbie dolls on the cover? I will never see this cover the same.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    With scholars as parents, Auden’s entire life has always been mired in academia, to the point where she never had a chance to be a normal teen. She saw herself as an academic and that appeared to be her sole identity. When her parents’ marriage failed, she began to stay up later and later, till sleep became impossible. Dissatisfaction in her life sends her spending her last summer before college with her father at the beach town where he now lived with his new family. There, she meets three girls With scholars as parents, Auden’s entire life has always been mired in academia, to the point where she never had a chance to be a normal teen. She saw herself as an academic and that appeared to be her sole identity. When her parents’ marriage failed, she began to stay up later and later, till sleep became impossible. Dissatisfaction in her life sends her spending her last summer before college with her father at the beach town where he now lived with his new family. There, she meets three girls who teach her the meaning of friendship and a boy who steals her heart, just by being who he is. That one summer turns into a journey of realizations for Auden, which make her understand that unlike what she’d thought, her parents’ divorce did have an effect on her and that everything she believed to be a foregone conclusion didn’t necessarily mean it was so. Auden’s interactions with the three girls who became her friends were so much fun to see. Her bafflement with the thought process of teenage girls was quite endearing. It was heartening how Auden realized that liking girlish things didn’t mean you couldn’t also be an academic. As for Eli, he was so cool! I absolutely loved Eli. An insomniac like Auden, he helps her experience all the things she missed as a teenager. As they grow closer, they make each other stronger, better. Once again, Sarah Dessen amazed me with her insightful writing. Along For The Ride was a solid good book, which I enjoyed a lot. Posted on Blog

  30. 5 out of 5

    Arlene

    Along for the Ride, by Sarah Dessen, is a fun and enjoyable read. I have to admit, at first I could not stand the main character, Auden. She was self-centered, clueless about others feelings, snobbish and down-right annoying. I almost put the book down and called it a day because if I don’t like the main character, chances are I’m not going to enjoy the book. However, all that altered by mid-book and the story took a sharp turn down Enjoyable Avenue. I feel Dessen’s technique was deliberate, wel Along for the Ride, by Sarah Dessen, is a fun and enjoyable read. I have to admit, at first I could not stand the main character, Auden. She was self-centered, clueless about others feelings, snobbish and down-right annoying. I almost put the book down and called it a day because if I don’t like the main character, chances are I’m not going to enjoy the book. However, all that altered by mid-book and the story took a sharp turn down Enjoyable Avenue. I feel Dessen’s technique was deliberate, well timed and executed with precision. The story is about Auden who decides to spend the summer before her college freshman year in the beach town called Colby, where her father now lives with his new wife and newborn baby. Auden’s parents had a rocky marriage and were divorced a few years prior, forcing her to take on an adult role and missing out on the luxuries and experiences of childhood and adolescence, which had a negative impact on her personality and approach with people. When Auden arrives in Colby, it is obvious she has no intention of bonding with anyone or making any friends during her stay. All that changes when she gets a job at a clothing boutique meets Maggie, Leah and Esther and a great guy named Eli that show her how much she’s missed out on during her childhood. The summer she spends in Colby drastically changes her way of thinking and acting, and it is refreshing to see her transformation. I really enjoyed this book, but it took me a while to get there. So if you read it and find yourself annoyed with Auden, don’t give up on her. Great book that I recommend as a light read.

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