Monday, October 12, 2009

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Along for the Ride follows a girl named Auden who is an over achieving insomniac who doesn’t know how to let loose and have fun and is unable to connect with people. Even before her parent’s divorce, she was considered to be the “little adult”; opposite of her brother Hollis who has been traveling in Europe for the last two years. Therefore, Auden has missed out on having a childhood and being a teenager in order to focus her energy on academics to please her demanding intellectual mother.

After graduation, Auden decides to spend the summer with her father, stepmother Heidi, and her new baby sister in the beach town of Colby. Auden packs books so she can study ahead for the upcoming semester of her freshman year in college. When she arrives in Colby, everything doesn’t go according to plan. Her father is immersed in writing his book, while Heidi adjusts to motherhood. On the first night, Auden gets involved with a boy who she finds out the next day is the ex-boyfriend of Maggie who works at Heidi’s boutique. Auden ends up working at the shop, and is introduced to a whole new world-a world of girls.

First, Auden explores Colby’s nightlife alone until she meets Eli who is a fellow insomniac who is dealing with his past. Together they explore the town. Eli helps Auden to rediscover what she has missed out on during the past eighteen years. Auden gains new friends even with Maggie. She learns that there is more to Maggie than being a girly girl. As Auden spends more time with Heidi, she sees that she is not what her mother perceived her to be-a waste of space.

Through Auden’s transformation, she learns how to connect with people and develop new friendships. She also learns not judge people at first glance like her mother. Along for the Ride is a well written story which deals with personal transformation and relationships between family, friends, and romance. Sarah Dessen brings all of the characters to life. Her descriptions make the reader feel like they are in the middle of the action with Auden. Sarah Dessen fans will notice a few familiar faces from earlier novels.

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