Along For The Ride by Sarah Dessen

Synopsis:

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

This is the fourth Sarah Dessen book I have read, and I loved it, like the others. This story follows Auden, a girl whose life was shaken by her parent’s divorce. She spent her life focusing on her studies to impress her mother and missed out on the normal teenage social interactions. This summer she decides to spend time with her father and step-mother after she discovers what sort of relationships her mum has with her graduate students. Everyone has a secret, and this is her mum’s. Her life changes that summer when she helps out at her step-mother’s store and discovers the life of girls. She also makes a good friend, the handsome Eli, and spends her nights with him drinking coffee, eating pie and visiting anywhere that is open 24-hours. Life is good and she is learning about life outside the academic world, but when her father leaves again her world is shaken. Unlike the last time, this time round her emotions surface and she faces hard battles with them. Her life has been transformed, she has made some great friends, but whilst discovering life away from homework she makes some mistakes. She has to make some tough decisions, learn how to face her parents and learn how to be a friend, and maybe more.

I find that Sarah Dessen writes books that I cannot put down. Every storyline is gripping and realistic. She writes characters that you can’t help but like and every lead male has some talent that helps them find release. In this book, Eli is a biker; as are many of the other characters, such as Maggie and Adam – two of the friends Auden makes. This is a theme in every Dessen books and I like it. It adds a little depth and creativity.

I liked all the characters. Many were not as they originally seemed. When Auden opened up and let herself feel emotions feel she was a different girl. Maggie, she seems like all she knows about is shoes and pink things, but actually she is very intelligent. Eli: now he I loved learning about him. He had a tough experience involving a friend, but watching him open up and get past the grief was lovely. My favourite moment however, was when we saw the soft side of Auden’s mum. She travelled down to see Auden because she thought she was upset – this seemed out of character for the mum, who was so hard and rigid.

I read this book in under 24 hours, I was hooked from the first page. I found nothing wrong with this. It is aimed at young adult but I think anyone who enjoys chick-literature would enjoy this book. This is a great book, and I can easily give it 5/5.

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