review: “along for the ride” July 7, 2009Posted by Katie in reviews.
Tags: realistic fiction, romance, sarah dessen challenge
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen.
Viking // Hardcover // 383 pages.
Reviewed from purchased copy.
Auden is a pro at academics. Relationships with her professor mother, on the other hand, are another story. After receiving a photo frame from her brother, Auden decides to spend the summer with her father, her stepmother, and new baby sister searching for “the best of times.” But a change in scenery doesn’t automatically change Auden’s life. It’s not until Auden starts working that she meets new friends Maggie, Leah and Esther and potential love interest, Eli. That’s when Auden begins questioning her lifestyle, her choices, and the people around her, wondering if it really is possible to change.
Even after reading all of Sarah Dessen’s books, I still find something new in each one of her novels. For this novel, it was Auden that really drew me in. She’s the first character that I’ve ever related to on more than a superficial level. I always delved into academics as a kid instead of friendships and relationships. Even though I grew out of it before becoming a teen, I can imagine that my life would have been pretty similar to Auden’s if I hadn’t.
I enjoyed the adventures and moments that Auden and Eli had when the rest of the world was sleeping. I always used to wonder what other people were doing, why lights were on at three in the morning while I was up working late on a paper. I love that Sarah Dessen tackled that very question in a book after she was up late with her first child.
The bike riding metaphor didn’t bother me in the least. (And I loved the cover. Loved it!) But I could see how some reviewers and some readers would be bothered by the more obvious use of symbolism.
Auden’s world was well-developed, the characters well-defined, and the plot believable and relatable. A great addition to both Sarah Dessen’s body of work and all public libraries searching for a realistic fiction read for girls.