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Along for the Ride

A book by Sarah Dessen

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Like learning to ride a bicycle

  • Jul 26, 2010
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 novels to anyone looking to curl up with something on a beach or under the covers on a rainy day.  You don’t have to be a teenager to want to cozy up with her character-driven stories.

Her most recent, “Along for the Ride” is no exception. In her most recent, we’ve got Auden -- an overachieving college-bound girl feeling ignored by her absent father – and Eli, a former superstar BMXer who hasn’t ridden since he lost his best friend in an accident.   Oh, did I mention that Auden doesn’t know how to ride a bike?  And that they are both insomniacs?  I think you can see where this is going…

I don’t mean to make Dessen’s writing sound trite, though.  What makes her stand apart from the mountains of romantic YA literature are her clever sentences, subtle narrative building and believable dialogue.  Reading “Along for the Ride” I was rooting for Auden and Eli the whole time.  Watching them evolve and fall in love was only a delight.

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August 09, 2010
Wonderful review! I'm a fan of Dessen too, and I really enjoyed this one. I don't think it's one of her best, but it's definitely a great story :)
July 27, 2010
Sounds like an interesting author and book. I enjoy clever writing, so even if some of her stories follow a generic plot, I see no problem checking out at least one of her books. Which one is your favorite?
July 27, 2010
Whichever one I've just read is my favorite! So today, it's probably Along for the Ride.
July 27, 2010
(laughs) Ok. Sounds good to me. I'll add this one to my TBR list now. :)
More Along for the Ride reviews
Quick Tip by . November 06, 2010
Light but well written. A little more depth than the other Dessen books I have read. I really felt connected with the characters.
review by . November 07, 2009
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 …
review by . July 12, 2009
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 …
review by . June 16, 2009
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 …
About the reviewer
Martha Fischhoff ()
Ranked #1215
Voracious reader, history teacher, perpetual student.
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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.
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ISBN-10: 0670011940
ISBN-13: 978-0670011940
Author: Sarah Dessen
Genre: Children's Books, Teens, Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Date Published: June 16, 2009
First to Review

"Insightful and enjoyable"
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