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review: “along for the ride” July 7, 2009

Posted by Katie in reviews.
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alongfortheride

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.

Amazon
SWAN catalog
Sarah Dessen

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review: “keeping the moon” June 24, 2009

Posted by Katie in reviews.
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keepingthemoon

Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen.
Speak // Paperback // 240 pages.
Reviewed from purchased copy.

While Colie’s fitness guru mother is out touring Europe, Colie is sent to live with her eccentric Aunt Mira. Aunt Mira is a pack rat, an artist, and definitely does not follow her sister’s fitness plans. Colie feels out of place in her new surroundings…that is, until she stumbles onto the Last Chance Diner. Finding a job and possible friends, Colie begins to reevaluate her life and exactly what it means to be beautiful and happy.

Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite authors ever. In fact, when she was looking for an assistant a few years back, I considered applying and picking up my life to move cross-country if I got the job. (I didn’t. I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving my teens. Instead, I just book-talk her books as often as I can!) So, I have to clarify that this review may be a bit biased.

However, I loved this book. And it was a perfect primer for “Along for the Ride,” Dessen’s latest release, but I’ll go into more details about that when I review “Along for the Ride.” But compared to the more recent Dessen books, it doesn’t stand up to “The Truth About Forever” or “Just Listen.”

Colie is a pretty angry narrator, with good reason. She has never fit for a variety of reasons: body image, her mistaken reputation, and her lack of confidence. I easily related to her character and was so pleased when she began to come out of her shell thanks to Morgan and Isabel.

Dessen’s books all take place in Lakeview/Colby, and many of the characters cross over from one book to another. I love this aspect of the books and spend a lot of my time re-reading the books to catch new crossovers, even though there is a fairly thorough Wikipedia article that outlines all the crossovers.

A great summer read and a book that many of my chick lit readers will eagerly scoop up.

Amazon
SWAN catalog
Sarah Dessen

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