A Few of the Characters:
Auden –College bound girl who grew up too fast. She did not have the typical childhood. Academics is where she feels safe because that is what she is good at, and she doesn't like to fail. While spending the summer with her dad she meets some people who help her see life differently.
Eli - A mysterious boy who had had some hardships in his life, but who helps Auden regain some things she never experienced in life.
Maggie, Esther, and Leah - Unlikely friends to Auden, who turn out to be just that and more.
Heidi - Auden's stepmother, who proves to be more than Auden first thought she was.
What made me keep turning the page?
Watching Auden grow and learn about herself
Seeing how Eli helped Auden, but also how Auden helped Eli without realizing it
Wanting Auden to find a balance in her life between fun and school
Observing Auden and her mother becoming closer
Contemporary/Realistic YA Fiction Fans
This was my first Sarah Dessen book, but won't be my last! I loved this book! It was such an easy read, but it was also complex. It made me reflect on things in my life as I read. The characters were so easy to fall in love with! I quickly began to care for Auden and her family. Along for the Ride was hard to put down, and I could have read it in one sitting if life hadn't gotten in the way. :)
Along for the Ride is a story about Auden, a girl who is in the midst of the seemingly predictable summer before her first semester of college. Auden has lived with her control-freak college professor mother her entire life, and in order to get away from her mother and the grad student she’s currently sleeping with, Auden decides to go visit her flaky father and his young wife, Heidi, and their newborn baby.
Arriving there, Auden realizes her father is as flaky as ever, her stepmother is a mess, and the baby is extremely colicky. She almost immediately she regrets her decision to visit after her carefree summer is taken away from her.
Auden attracts negative attention from several local girls after she unwittingly hooks up with one of their exes. Then she gets stuck with helping Heidi out with the baby and being a bookkeeper for her store. But as Auden gets to know the people in the small town around her, especially Eli who is alike Auden in so many ways but still a mystery to her, she grows into a person who is so unlike her mother and unlike her father that she can’t be described as anyone but herself.
I really enjoyed Along for the Ride. Like almost all of Sarah Dessen’s characters, Auden can easily be related to by even the average reader. She has her flaws and her good points, and nothing about her screams too perfect, or too much of a mess. She’s socially awkward, and it’s interesting to watch her grows as a person and become more at ease with everyone around her. Eli is cute, mysterious, and the perfect romantic interest for Auden and Sarah Dessen portrays their story wonderfully.
Along for the Ride is not my favourite Dessen book, but if you’re a Sarah Dessen fan, or even new to reading Sarah Dessen, it’s definitely a must read.
Review originally posted on my blog http://hobbitsies.net/2010/09/along-for-the-ride-by-sarah-dessen/
Before a few weeks ago, I had never even so much as picked up a Sarah Dessen book, let alone read one. And, to be perfectly honest, I wasn't all that impressed. I would have been very disappointed if I had paid full price for it. But I purchased it along with That Summer and a few other books (some good and some dreadfully bad) at a yard sale for 50 cents each.
As much hype as Sarah Dessen gets, I expected this to be really good. I read That Summer as well, and found them both so hauntingly similar that I just had to skim through them before writing this review to remember what happened in which book. Of course, they have their subtle differences, but it's the same basic story structure.
Plot: Auden can't sleep. Eli can't sleep. They go shopping at a gas station at night. Or ride bikes/learn how to ride a bike. That's about it. The story had enough to go deeper, but the part that had the potential to be gripping and emotional wasn't delved into enough, in my opinion.
There is a subplot of Auden helping her stepmother, Heidi, with her new baby. I found myself pitying Heidi quite often, but it's an over done story line. Dad leaves for younger woman, but he wants nothing to do with their kid.
Characters: Auden is your typical stressed-by-parents-with-impossibly-high-standards girl that I've noticed a lot of in this genre lately. That's not to say that she wasn't likable. I did find myself rooting for her and Eli to get together, though.
Eli has this great back story of why he's the typical brooding-mysterious-hot-coveted guy we all know so much, but, as I mentioned above, it could have been done better.
Maggie, Leah and Esther were good for a few smiles throughout the story, but over all they were just typical teenage girls with nothing to make them stand out. Maggie has this great guy in love with her and everyone knows but her (big surprise there, right?), but she's to busy crying about the guy who hooked up with Auden right after they broke up. Just more typical characters with typical story lines.
I loved her brother, Hollis. He's traveling all over Europe dating tons of girls. I almost laughed when Heidi points out who the girl he ends up with resembles. Almost.
Writing Style: There was nothing that stood out about the way Sarah Dessen wrote to me. It wasn't bad, but I didn't find it mesmerizing either.
Overall: It really wasn't my cup of tea. Normally, I'm a huge fan of chick lit and curling up with a good romance book. There was just nothing special. I didn't find myself wishing I was Auden or wishing the guys at my school were more like Eli. It was just all very typical; when I was finished, I put them right into my own yard sale box.