Book Review: Along For The Ride by Sarah Dessen

Title: Along For The Ride
Auhor: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Puffin
Publishing Date: February 4th 2010
Length: 424 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, friendship, family, beach, BMX
Source: Bought

Auden has always felt like the odd one out.

Since her parents' divorce she's shied away, studying lots and staying out of the party scene.

But now Auden's realized there must be something more and, just like that, she changes everything. Moving to her dad's house opens up a whole new whole of beach parties, food fights - and simply having fun.

As she gets to know herself - and a secretive boy with dark, brooding eyes - can Auden begin to let go and finally feel like she truly belongs?

Summary by Goodreads

Many other YA contemporaries present us with main characters who regret one or another thing from their pasts. Not Auden. She's always been content about her regulated and uneventful childhood. Auden has worked so hard for success and the approval of her parents that she completely missed out on making the memories other teens her age have made. In ALONG FOR THE RIDE she starts questioning her choices so far. She doesn't know it yet but her decision to spend the summer with her father, stepmum and baby sister in Colby will be her chance to make good for all that she's missed out on so far.
Auden first appeared as a slightly alien main character. Never having partied, enjoyed shopping, meeting friends. She is definitly not your regular teen, but that makes you like her even more.

Her days are mostly spent sleeping. It are the nights that count, in which she drinks coffee and wanders around town. They are restless and without any direction. Until Auden meets Eli and they begin spending their nights together on a kind of quest to make new memories. 
Their outings and adventures seemed so natural and sweet, I wished all the time that they could find a way to make their nights last forever.
I'm a night person like Auden which made her even more sympathetic and her nights with Eli a YA highlight. What surprised me was that their love story wasn't as dominant as their friendship (people who actually know each other before they fall in love) and without too many intimate scenes or details (minimal deficit).

Besides her nights with Eli, Auden's time in Colby is reserved for her new friends, summer job and her family. Auden's stepmom Heidi and her daughter Isby are two characters you immediately take into your heart, showing so much love and acceptance for Auden. Her unemotional and selfish parents on the other hand are very tough to like as they are anything but exemplary parents.
Auden's offer to help out in Heidi's clothes shop is the key to an eventful summer in Colby. It's where she meets the hip girl trio Maggie, Leah and Esther and becomes friends with them. Their cliques' passion for BMX bikes provides ALONG FOR THE RIDE with an active hobby, offering to teach Auden and the reader more about a new sport.
After two years of putting off reading ALONG FOR THE RIDE I finally picked it as a must read this summer. It was my first book by Sarah Dessen and now I know why so many readers name Sarah's books as their favourite YA contemporaries.

4,5/5 ****/* ALONG FOR THE RIDE - A smooth and fortifying read inviting readers to the beach town of Colby and on a felicitous YA summer vacation!

ALONG FOR THE RIDE reminds you of your favourite childhood memories and encourages you to always go your own way and make as many new memories as you can, for you should know the best of times are always ahead of you. I totally get the appeal Sarah Dessen books have on YA readers, because they are about so many things that are important in your teen years. My next trip to Colby is already booked! 

"I knew if I'd spent the same amount of time with Eli during the day, or even early evening, I probably would have gotten to know him, too. But not like this. The night changed things, widening out the scope. What we said to each other, the things we did, they all took on a bigger meaning in the dark. Like time was sped up and slowed down, all at once." ― p. 188/189

ALONG FOR THE RIDE you might also enjoy these three beach reads. MOONGLASS by Jessi Kirby, TWENTY BOY SUMMER by Sarah Ockler and THE DAY BEFORE by Lisa Schroeder, a bold pick for readers who haven't yet enjoyed stories written in verse.

* Sarah Dessen's newest book THE MOON AND MORE was released in June 2013.

* Want to read an excerpt of ALONG FOR THE RIDE? Click here.

* You can also listen to Sarah Dessen reading an excerpt.

* For further information about Sarah Dessen and her books visit

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