Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Day 275 - Along for the Ride [ARC Review]

Along for the Ride
Sarah Dessen

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Release Date: June 2009

Publisher: Penguin - Viking Children's

Pages: 384

My Rating: 4.25/5


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.

**Sarah talks about ALONG FOR THE RIDE


My first Sarah Dessen novel went smashingly! I can definitley see why she has so many fans of her writing. And I gotta say she just got a new one =)

Auden is a very unique character, for me at least. She's extremely academic, with two academic-driven parents who have been divorced for some time now. She's missed out on a normal childhood filled with scrapped knees, bike riding, and sleepovers. And she's missed out on girlfriends, gossip parties, and high school crushes. But it's not like she necessarily longs for those things. Auden strives for her parent's attention by staying busy with her school work and always striving to be better. And she's developed a sleeping problem thanks to the bickering of her parents. Insomnia is something Auden knows quite well.

As her high school years end and the summer before college starts, Auden decides to stay with her father in the beach town of Colby. She'll be staying with her stepmother Heidi, who drives her nuts, and her new baby sister Thisbe. Auden doesn't expect much from this summer, she packs a bunch of textbooks and some clothes and heads on over to spend some time with her father. But it's in the most unexpected places and the most unexpected time that Auden discovers who she is, what she's missed out on, and what kind of person she wants to become.

Colby is a small town where everyone seems to know each other. Auden ends up getting a job at Heidi's clothing store and makes some surprising new friends, once she learns to open up a little and not judge things (and people) at first glance. She also meets Eli, a handsome boy who has the same insomia problem she does. While Eli is dealing with his past, he ends up helping Auden rediscover hers and they do all the things she missed out on.

I haven't read about many "Auden"-like characters. She was far from the emotional characters I usually go for and yet I really found myself liking her. I can't really call her cold and distant and yet those are the only terms coming to mind. She's more...cautious than others, not really knowing what to do with emotion. And I can't say I blame her, her mother is overbearing and egotistical. And her father, while he means well or meant well in the past, is at present being a real jerk. He's so immersed in his writing for his novel that he neglects his new family.

All of the characters I met surprised me in some way, just like they did Auden. As Auden discovered things, so did I. You might be saying, "Yeah, well duh! That's how first person story telling works!" And you are totally right. It's just Sarah Dessen's writing has the power to make me feel what Auden does although I'm an entirely different person than her. Basically what I'm saying is this: I love Sarah Dessen's writing. I hope I enjoy and love her other books and characters as much as I did this one. And you know what? ...I'm sure I will!


Anonymous said...

At the risk of sounding shallow, I just looked at the rating. I want to read this book and don't want to know much about it ahead of time. So glad you liked it!

Mary said...

If I intend to read a book and see a review ahead of time, I usually look for a rating and then come back after reading for the rest of the review.

Mishel, I haven't read any book by Dessen but I've seen her titles all over the place. I love it when I click with an author. I have a few (Richard Russo, Adriana Trigiani and most recently, Michelle Moran) and I'll read anything they write. I'll have to give Dessen a try soon. Nice review!

Mishel said...

I totally do the same thing guys. I'm into ratings even though I wish I wasn't. Especially when I intend to read the book, I usually skim over the review because I want to be surprised. I come back later to compare thoughts though.

I hope you both are able to read this one though, I really enjoyed it and I'll definitely be reading more of Sarah's books =)

Christine said...

Yay! Mishel, I'm so glad you loved your first Sarah Dessen novel! I've only read the truth about forever, but I absolutely loved it! It had so much more depth and emotion and growth than I expected. My 14 year old daughter loves her work, and we both look forward to reading Along for the Ride. I can't wait!

And thanks for posting that Sarah Dessen video. I loved it! :)

Mishel said...

@ Christine - I hope you and your daughter read Sarah's newest book. I'm sure you'll both love it. I'm glad you enjoyed the video =)

Wendy said...

Fab review! I've never read any of Dessen books but my best friend LOVES them so I should try them. :)

Becca said...

Wow, with praise like that how can I not read this book now. Even though the cover makes me worried that there is more romance than I usually go for you have convinced me that I shouldn't pass this one up.

Meg said...

Great review. I've never read any of Sarah Dessen's novels but they look fantastic! Now I want to read them!

Shawna said...


My daughter loves this Author thanks for this review I showed it to her and she hopes luck is on our side in the giveaway!!!

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