Friday, August 5, 2011

Along for the Ride Review

Along For The Ride
Sarah Dessen

Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Release Date:
June 11, 2009
Genre:
YA, Contemporary Romance
Pages:
Kindle Edition
Source:
Purchase
Rating:
5/5 (Avg 4/5)
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.

In her signature pitch-perfect style, Sarah Dessen explores the hearts of two lonely people learning to connect.

I have to admit that I am a sucker when it comes to romance. But sometimes the story is so cliché and predictable, I have to put it down. I've done this for a lot of books. Oddly enough, I've never given Sarah Dessen a chance - which is peculiar because she's an NC author, and I do try my best to support my state's authors. So I decided to give her a try... and I am so glad that I did. Everything about this story screams 'Missy's Perfect Romance Book' and let me tell you why.

Auden is a completely relatable protagonist with a particular trait that I can relate to very well - insomnia. I had a huge problem with it when I was in school and there were many nights when I went to the local Waffle House just to get out and do something, in hopes that I would tire myself out. Of course the insomnia is just a small little spot in what makes Auden a great character. She's smart, self-sufficient and doesn't go all ga-ga for just any boy. I'll admit, I was a little worried when the first guy came into the story because I did NOT want the story to be one of those good-girl-reforms-bad-boy type stories that I could really go without right now. Eli was a great male lead and I love the fact that he stayed so mysterious for so long. There were a lot of characters in this book, but I felt as though each one served their own purpose very well.

I also liked the romance and relationships formed in this novel. The insta-love and insta-lust was pretty non-existent, which made the story that much better because it built up to romance besides just falling into romance from the very beginning. I liked that Auden's stepmother wasn't the run of the mill evil stepmother trying to push her way into every aspect of Auden's life. Auden's parents didn't really touch me from the beginning, but they grew on me as they each grew themselves throughout the book. I also really liked how Auden's friendships with some of the teens in the town seemed to grow organically - it wasn't something that just happened overnight, but rather with a lot of time and effort on both party's sides.

Going with all of this, Auden grew dramatically throughout this novel which is so refreshing. Normally, you have a main character that's pretty set in their ways and may change their mind on one or two things, but Auden really opened up to change - though she never really lost who she was through the novel either. It was a great balance and worked well for the story.

Overall, this novel is fabulous. The pacing is great and easy to fall into. The characters were wonderfully developed and the plot made for a great story. Sarah Dessen's writing is amazing and I will definitely be reading more from her very soon.

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