along for the ride
by Sarah Dessen
This was my first Sarah Dessen book, but it certainly won’t be my last. I LOVED along for the ride (personalized and
autographed from ALAN : ) and found myself thinking about the characters and story long after finishing the last page.
Growing up with two competitive professors for parents, it’s no wonder that Auden becomes a “mini-adult” quite young. Able to gain their attention with only her academic accomplishments, Auden didn’t have much time for friends, riding bikes, or normal childhood past times. After graduating high school, she decides to spend the summer with her father and her step-family: new step-mom and brand new baby sister. Yearning for a quiet summer, that allows time for reading textbooks ahead of fall university classes, Auden is in for a rude awakening.
Her father is still is selfish as ever, and uncomfortable scenes from her own childhood are being played out again with another mother and child. Not only did she not anticipate feeling like a third wheel in her father’s home, she also did not anticipate the sympathy she has for her young step-mother Heidi or new step-sister Thisbe.
One of Auden’s coping techniques as a child was avoiding going to sleep. If she could stay awake, her parents would not fight. It was after she went to bed, that their anger and bitterness spilled out. Still an insomniac, Auden meets another night owl, Eli. Unlikely friends, Auden and Eli begin spending the summer nights together throughout the beach town of Colby. All-night laundromats with out of this world pie, 24 hour convenience stores, the beach sidewalks are where Eli decides they are on a quest to make up for Auden’s lost childhood.
Eli also comes with his own baggage that keeps him up at night. A former all-star biker, Eli is still struggling with the death of his best friend. Together, through their unlikely friendship, Auden and Eli start to heal and find there is a lot the daylight can offer them as well.
Great characters: rival, turned friend Maggie, Eli’s mom who comes to the rescue for step-mom Heidi , Auden’s selfish father, Adam, the goofy friend; Great settings: hot dog parties, small beach town boutique; Great story.
along for the ride is a YA must-read. You can’t help rooting for Auden and Eli to both overcome shadows from their pasts as they begin a new part of their lives.