Dessen has built a well-deserved reputation for delicately depicting teen girls in turmoil. Her latest title showcases a socially awkward young woman who seeks solace in the comforting rigidity of academic success. Auden is about to start college in the fall, and decides to escape her control-freak professor mom to spend the summer with her novelist father, his new young wife, and their brand-new baby daughter, Thisbe. Over the course of the summer, Auden tackles many new projects: learning to ride a bike, making real connections with peers, facing the emotional fallout of her parents’ divorce, distancing herself from her mother, and falling in love with Eli, a fellow insomniac bicyclist recovering from his own traumas. The cover may mislead readers, as despite the body language of the girl in pink and the hunky blue-jeaned boy balanced on a bike, this is no slight romance: there’s real substance here. Dessen’s many fans will not be deterred by the length or that cover; they expect nuanced, subtle writing, and they won’t be disappointed.
Grades 9-12. --Debbie Carton
When Auden impulsively goes to stay with her father, stepmother, and new baby sister the summer before she starts college, all the trauma of her parents' divorce is revived, even as she is making new friends and having new experiences such as learning to ride a bike and dating.
Sarah Dessen has been one of my most beloved authors since I was the same age as her teenage protagonists. I’ve kept up with her career even as I outgrew her target audience. Granted, I read a lot of YA fiction as a high school teacher, but I go out of my way for Dessen. Her books are pretty formulaic. A little teenage tragedy, a little teenage romance, a little bittersweet happily ever after. But her writing is always spot on and I recommend the … more
After the first chapter, I was panicking internally. Oh, no. Auden seemed like a Macy-clone, whom I love, but less likable. However, as I went on, I found Auden to be different from Macy (The Truth About Forever). Auden's a smart girl, but she has not lived life. I loved how this novel really gives hope to people that haven't done everything they wish they could have in the past. Auden shows you that it's never too late to learn something new, no matter how old you are. It's … more
Along for the Ride is my second Dessen novel, the first being Lock and Key. I definitely think Along for the Ride was more enjoyable for me, I connected with the main character Auden a great deal more than Ruby in Lock and Key. Instead of just being a nice book it made me feel something. This book has a wonderful message, it's never too late to live your life the way you want to and you are never too old for anything. I admittedly probably cannot ride a bike. I learned when … more
Auden has always been highly motivated and focused on her schoolwork, pushed by her successful scholar of a mother and bestselling writer father. When her parents split up, Auden becomes an insomniac, and becomes all too familiar with the night. The summer before she starts college, she decides to live with her father, his new wife, and their newborn daughter. There, in a small beach town full of eclectic people, Auden realizes all that she has missed out on, and discovers that maybe it's not too … more