Along for the Ride- Sarah Dessen
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.
Auden has always been mature for her age, while kids were going to parties, and gossiping, Auden was going to lectures and attending grown-dinners with her intellectual parents. Summer before college, Auden is sees a long summer of ahead of her. She finds herself doing the same old things she always does, studying, and heading out to the all-night diner she frequents since dealing with insomnia that was brought on by her parents divorce. She decides to visit her dad, step-mom Heidi, and newborn sister, Thisbe for the summer. While in Colby visiting her dad, she suddenly finds herself working at Heidi's boutique. While working there she is forced to socialize with the three girls that also work at the boutique, and the boys that work next door at the bike shop. One boy in particular peaks Auden's interest, Eli. Eli is withdrawn, mysterious, and completely different than any other boy she's ever met.
Auden's snobby, judgemental ways in the beginning of the book was getting on my nerves, but about 100 pages or so in, the story starts moving, and I quickly fell into it. You can really see Auden's growth as the story progresses. What I really liked about the story was the "Don't judge a book by its cover" message. The competitive bike angle was refreshing also. Sarah Dessen also did a good job in showing Auden's and her parent's relationship or lack there of.
Overall, after a slow start, the story picked up, and it was able to grab my interest. Sarah Dessen writes her YA books with a serious tone, and this one is no different.