TITLE: Along for the Ride
AUTHOR: Sarah Dessen
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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, 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.
Along for the Ride was not what I expected. It was my first Sarah Dessen book, (yes, I know, I’m a few years late). To me, she’s always had the reputation for writing romance books. Because of this, I expected a lot of romance. There wasn’t as much of it as I thought there would be. It was not as cliche filled either. It wasn’t even centered or driven by the romance, instead by the characters. Instead, I think it focuses on other things like family and friends. And for that, I am super happy.
One of the things I really liked about Along for the Ride was the super relatable characters. I can really relate to Auden, especially when it comes to parents. Like her, I have a mother who makes complaining about my dad a hobby (but I still love her) and a father who has more of a… passive role in parenting. I also liked how she seemed to develop and mature throughout the novel. However, she did annoy me a few times. Let’s just say that for a very smart girl, I think she does a few stupid things. There’s also Maggie, a girl Auden meets while visiting her divorced dad. I could relate to her too as she was trying to balance what her mom wants and what she wants. And how could I forget super dreamy Eli who is often misunderstood and in the midst of an internal conflict.
Speaking of Eli… I really liked the romance in the novel, as little as it seemed. It was really cute and nice and made me all smiley and feel warm inside. I liked the dynamic between Eli and Auden and how they started out as friends first and then kind of eased into a romantic relationship. That being said, when I reached the end of the book, I was kind of disappointed because I wanted more. More romance, more everything.
I really liked the story Along for the Ride has to tell. It is so much more than just a cutesy romance novel. It’s full other themes like family, friendship, and identity. I loved the relatable characters along with the character development. And the romance was super cute and well done! Still, I want more!