Sunday, July 22, 2012
Along for the Ride by 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.
In her signature pitch-perfect style, Sarah Dessen explores the hearts of two lonely people learning to connect.
I have never been one for contemporaries. I guess it has something to do with the fact that I like my books with a lot of action and sometimes I find some of these romances too cliche and stuff. I will, however, find myself occasionally in a very romance-y, mushy kind of mood. And that is when I need a contemporary to fill in that need.
This book has to be the best contemporary I have ever read, though it's not like I can compare it to many. But, it still happens to be a very good book in my mind, and I really enjoyed it. There was no action or adventure, no deep and passionate romance or mystical powers. However, Auden is the new girl.
Auden is used to be an intellectual introvert self. She's used to being mature and silent, never voicing her mind or getting out there to reach some of her goals. She's never been driven and when she comes to live with her father and her step-mother, she learns that it is nothing may never be the same. Her character isn't strong at all. She's quiet and lonely, independent and serious. If anything, she's even a more subdued version of myself. And that's saying something.
I loved how this took place during the summer. Although I prefer the fall over the summer, there's something about a magical summer romance that intrigues me. So then I became a giant mush ball as I read this book.
Along for the Ride isn't a complete romance, I discovered. I've read a few other books by Sarah Dessen and they all seem to have a similar story line. But, I didn't really mind the fact of that. This was more of a learning experience for a handful of characters rather than the romance. Sure, there's a bit of romance in here or else this wouldn't be a Sarah Dessen, but it was more about discovery and new experiences.
It was all beautifully written. The story was well planned and explained. There was a sense of closure by the end of the book that made me very happy. This is by far my favorite Sarah Dessen book that I have ever read. This could possibly change my attitude towards contemporaries, but I think I'll need a bit more convincing still.
Overall, this was a great story that earned four out of five stars from me. All of the characters were relatable in their own ways. What I really loved was seeing that all of the characters were dimensional. There was more to all of them that even surprised me. Nobody was who they initially seemed to be and it was entertaining to watch all of them unfold during the book. If you haven't read this book, I suggest you do. It was just one of those books that you need to read at least once, and it even makes a great summer read.