From that time on, the world was hers for the reading....

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sarah Dessen: Along For The Ride

Thanks to a very cool friend, who sent me a gift card, I was finally able to pick up Along For The Ride by Sarah Dessen! I know that I probably should have used the card for something practical, but I have no willpower whatsoever when it comes to books. And, quite frankly, I waited long enough to read this book.

It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce--or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.

A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.

It's Auden's last summer before heading off to college. She makes a spur-of-the-moment decision to spend the summer at her dad's beach house, landing her smack dab in the middle of life with a colicky baby and a not-so-perfect marriage between her dad and stepmom Heidi.

Watching her dad and Heidi struggle reminds her of her parents' divorce years ago, which brought on bouts of insomnia.

Spending time working at Heidi's boutique and nights riding around with Eli, a fellow loner and insomniac, Auden learns about being a friend, coming to grips with the past, being a carefree teenager, and accepting that she can't always be perfect.

I enjoyed watching her try and fail and grow. Her quest for a carefree teenage life brought back a lot of memories.

However, though important to Auden's journey, the adult characters ruined it for me. They were selfish and inconsiderate. It also seemed like everyone was anxious all the time, turning the littlest things into super-big catastrophes. Between them and the baby crying, I started to feel anxious.

That being said, I'm sad to say I didn't like this book very much. It was okay, not the best Sarah Dessen book I've ever read. In fact, with the overly anxious behavior and constant baby talk, I felt more like I was reading her blog and not a book. And I'm really not a fan of her blog at all.

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