Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
(Viking, Hardcover, 2009)
Auden's life up til now has been a serious affair. When her parents were still tumultuously married, she learned early to stay quiet and behave. As a result, she missed out on life, learning how to ride a bike, and the joys of friendship. Auden plans to spend her summer before college with her dad and his new family in the beach town of Colby. What she doesn't expect is to find herself working at a cute boutique, cooing to her new baby sister, and spending sleepless nights with fellow loner, Eli.
Summer just wouldn't be summer without a new Sarah Dessen book to enjoy. Auden joins the rank of Sarah's other real life heroines, someone we could all be and someone whose life we can all understand. That's what I enjoy most about Sarah Dessen's books, the accessibility. All of her characters are dealing with everyday issues. Along for the Ride asks the question, after the sun goes down and the beachgoers head home, what happens during the long summer nights? Auden finds herself unable to sleep at night (some readers may recognize the signs of a girl who carries too much worry and stress) so she walks the town at night and meets Eli, a loner unable to forget a tragic accident. Their nightime friendship teaches Auden that life shouldn't always planned, that sometimes it's better to just go along for the ride. Beautifully written, Along for the Ride is another heartwarming hit from one of my favorite authors.
p.s. Has anyone else noticed that Sarah Dessen's main characters keep getting older and older? Along for the Ride ends with Auden at college. I wonder if Sarah will write a novel about a college student next. Just a thought...