Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen


I love Sarah Dessen’s books. As I have said before, her books have the ability to be refreshing, simple and light yet talk about issues that are not-so-simple either. It is easy to connect to her characters and there is no way you don’t feel for them.

Auden is a perfect girl, she is studious – brings straight A’s – acts more mature for her age. She lives with her mother, who is a professor at a university. She tries hard to live upto the standard her mom wants. And her father (who is also a Professor) divorced her mother (when Auden was 16) and lives at the beach noy very far from where Auden lives, with his new wife.

She thinks of spending her summer much as all the other summers, reading for her university classes (which have not even started) and roaming around in nights because she cannot sleep. But everything changes when she receives a small frame from her brother ( who is total contrast to Auden) with the title ‘Best of Times’. She then accepts the invitation from her Dad and step-mother, to go visit them and their newborn (Thisbe).

This one summer changes everything for Auden. She meets Heidi, whom she judges even before knowing her, same for all the other people except Eli. She understands that it is not always about success,

“Maybe it was true, and being a girl could be about interest rates and skinny jeans, riding bikes and wearing pink. Not about any one thing, but everything.”

Auden gets a second chance at living her childhood with the help of Eli. She gets to enjoy herself and understand that it wasn’t too bad to lose and not to be a success all the time.

“Life is full of screw-ups. You’re supposed to fail sometimes. It’s a required part of the human existence”

I think I loved Auden but most of all I really liked the fact that I got a lesson on never judging a person by his/her looks. I am sure I would judge anyone just the way Auden did. And I was in for surprises too, because I connected more with Heidi than anyone else. I know most of you will gawk, but I did like (towards the end) Auden’s mom too.

“An ending was an ending. No matter how many pages of sentences and paragraphs of great stories led up to it, it would always have the last word.”

I am sure this will be one book that will stay with me, because I really felt a lot of things change in me too. I really connected with Heidi, who is a new mom – struggling with a very colicky baby with no help whatsoever from Auden’s Dad ( who has to get his 9 hours uninterrupted sleep to function). The strength of this book lies in all the secondary characters that are there, all of them seem so real and from each one of them Auden learns something new.

I hope you get a chance to read and enjoy this book.

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  1. Hi Veena,

    What a great an enthusiastic review and recommendation.

    I have heard about this author, but never really having followed YA fiction, I haven’t read any of her books.

    Recently though, I have started to take much more interest in the genre, so this looks like a good author to follow, for a novice like myself.

    Sarah Dessen’s reputation has apparently been growing at a steady rate, here in the UK and although she has not attracted the amount of reviews as she has in the US, they all seem to have been pretty positive.

    When I checked her out on Amazon.co.uk I discovered that the UK version of this title has a completely different cover art, which I thought was quite funky and modern, take a look and see what you think.

I love to hear your thoughts!