Auden has never been a kid. She was basically born into adulthood, which means no bike riding, no food fights, no gossip. Nothing. Instead, she was her academic mother’s mini-me trying to cope with her parents’ divorce while swimming in a pool of high expectations. All the stress of being an adult at 12 lead to a horrible insomniac. But once she decides to visit her father at his beach house with his new wife and baby for the summer, time reverses, and she gets to live her childhood again. With the help of Eli, a mysterious fellow insomniac, and a few screechy girls in a boutique, she lives freely for the first time.
Guys, I’ve reviewed a couple of Sarah Dessen’s books on here, and you basically know what I’m going to say. Dessen is the favorite pizza place you always come back to. It isn’t unique or exotic or exciting, but it is comfortable, inexpensive, and easy.
Yes, she has a formula. It’s the summer before college, a girl is trying to find herself and does something uncharacteristic of herself, meets a typically artsy guy and some interesting people, finds herself and new friends. Bam. Plotline of almost every single one. But the thing is, she adds different elements of to the same contemporary formula that makes the reader think and continue to read.
There is no suspense in these books. There’s comfort. And Along for the Ride is a comfortable beach read. It’s not too exciting, but the pace doesn’t slacken and the reader falls in love with the characters. Auden is endearingly ignorant of the world, yet full of book smarts. Eli is troubled and mysterious with a secret past and a hard-to-read face. Both characters blend together in a cute and easy book that gets your heart racing at the incredibly adorable (and unrealistic) parts, and always keeps you flipping the pages.
And there are real issues in these books. This book deals with loss and coping and moving on. It shows how two people completely different can somehow make love work and that support can help someone get through tough times. But instead of making the book completely depressing, she layers the lessons under the basic plot line and predictability of the story.
All of Dessen’s books are fantastic, and this one is no less so. If you’re looking for a beach read, or an escape from the insipidness of typical life, Along for the Ride is your perfect match.