Author: Sarah Dessen
Genre: YA, Fiction
Pub Date: June 2009, Penguin Group (USA)
Source: I honestly don't remember -- I think I bought it back in 2009, likely from Amazon, but I couldn't swear to it.
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
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.
My, my -- this review is a LONG time coming, though I never actually got around to reading Along for the Ride until a few weeks ago. Yes, this one is classic Dessen, though I'll start off by saying it doesn't quite rank among my Dessen Favorites. I believe that honor still goes to The Truth About Forever with Just Listen, the first book I ever read by Dessen, a close second. I've said it once (probably more than that), but I'll say it again, I wish that Dessen or someone like her had been writing contemporary YA fiction like these books when I was a tween/teen. I know I would have enjoyed them at that age -- possibly even more than I enjoy her writing now.
This was the book I saw all over the place when I finally decided to give Sarah Dessen a try. I didn't want to start with this one -- I wanted to read every other book she had written first. I finally did that, and then my reading slowed down and the Great Blog Hiatus soon followed. So, it was fun for me to pick up Along for the Ride and discover that I still enjoyed Dessen's writing, the incredibly realistic (and full-of-life) characters she creates, and the world they live in -- this time, it's the town of Colby.
I finished this book pretty quickly, but by the end I didn't have quite the same completely satisfied feeling that I normally get from what I feel is Dessen's best work. I think that maybe I wanted a little more from the relationship between Auden and Eli than we ultimately got. It is absolutely great fun to read about the quest that Eli takes Auden on, to experience all the "normal" things she missed out on when she was a kid, growing up and trying to meet the expectations of her rather neurotic mother. I looked forward to every nighttime meeting between the two, anxiously awaiting their every conversation, but ultimately I just wanted a little more from them (for them?).
Naturally, if you love Dessen, you'll love this book. I still rate it highly, even though it's not my favorite. I can't wait to pick up What Happened to Goodbye and give it a go.
In addition to those mentioned above, you can also read my other reviews of Dessen's Books:
*I know I've read This Lullaby, but it must have been during The Great Blog Hiatus, so no review!
And as always, if you have reviewed Along for the Ride on your blog, please feel free to leave a link to your review in the comments section!