“Your father and I are separating,” she informed me, with the same flat, businesslike tone I’d so often heard her use with students as she critiqued their work. “I’m sure you’ll agree this is the best thing for all of us.”
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Before I begin, I would like to make one thing clear: I hate cheesy high school romances. I read them occasionally if I want something light, but I can’t remember half of them, and a lot of them, I don’t even read the whole thing because sometimes they are just so bad. Usually, I read the beginning, then skip to the end. They are so often just so lame and the plot is always the same. However, I have always had a soft spot for Dessen’s books.
I like them becuase they were teenage romance, but with characters that weren’t normal. And while they follow the same basic tropes, they are well written and quirky and funny.
Her books, are well, they’re romance, but the story doesn’t focus on a girl who can’t her mind off a guy. It focuses on a girl who has a problem (drug addicted mother, divorced parents, death of a friend, moving, just normal things really) and creates a sweet, or sometimes bittersweet story about how the girl figures things out. And sometimes, in the end the girl doesn’t get a happy ending. Sometimes things don’t work out perfectly. Sometimes she doesn’t fall in love with the right guy. And that’s why I like these books: because they don’t all end the same. They follow a basic formula, but each time, it’s different and you can never really tell exactly how things are going to play out because they might not play out perfectly.
So, when I heard Sarah Dessen was writing a new book, I was happy and I immediately put it on hold at the library– falling 72nd in line, out of some 200 people.
Since I was buying stuff on Amazon, and becuase I haven’t bought a book in so long, I decided to splurge and ordered Along for the Ride along with Avatar: Book 3.
Along for the Ride came yesterday and I finished it about an hour ago. And I have to say, I really liked it.
It was classic Dessen, but that’s a good thing, because I could count on the story moving along at a perfect summertime pace. It was a book that was good enough to keep me up reading.
Along for the Ride is about a girl, Auden, who, ever since her parents’ divorce, has not been able to sleep at night. Her father recently got remarried and her stepmother, Heidi, invited her down to their beachfront home the summer before she goes off too college. Having nothing better to do, Auden goes, and that’s where the story begins. It isn’t all summer time flings and fluff, though. Because you really get to see what kind of person her father was (infuriating and selfish) and how people are not always what they seem (Meggie, a pretty girl, was also a dirt biker and a brilliant student) and how even the most secure of people have something to hide (her mother, dear God her mom). And of course, you learn how different the world can be at night, as Auden wastes away the dark hours running errands with another insomniac who has a couple sad problems of his own.
This story may not sound like much, and maybe it isn’t. But it is well written and the characters are very realistic. For example, just becuase Heidi and Auden’s dad got married and had a kid doens’t mean their relationship is perfect. In fact, you kind of see why someone would want to split up, but also what keeps people together. It’s not that the story is particularly deep and dramatic, but that it shows things as they are, which I guess is what I like most about Dessen’s books.
So, my final thoughts? If you need something new to read this summer, go for it. It was mildly predictable, but in an easy sort of way. I didn’t have to think about it. I imagine this book would do very well on a beach, with a cold drink in hand.
0. Couldn’t get past chapter one for fear of wanting to kill myself. Book induiced suicide…
1: Yuck. Ew. Below Average. Probably didn’t even read the middle and skipped to the end.
2. Ok. Would’ve been better if I’d written the ending and everything else.
3. Not bad at all. Very enjoyable. Quite nice. Recommendable.
4. My kind of book. Near ideal, but something was a little off (annoying names, bad ending, that sort of thing).
5. WOW. Makes me wonder why people watch T.V when this is out there. Really liked it. Don’t expect to see this often.
6 and above. What I want my book to be.