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Along for the Ride Paperback – April 5, 2011
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Dessen has built a well-deserved reputation for delicately depicting teen girls in turmoil. Her latest title showcases a socially awkward young woman who seeks solace in the comforting rigidity of academic success. Auden is about to start college in the fall, and decides to escape her control-freak professor mom to spend the summer with her novelist father, his new young wife, and their brand-new baby daughter, Thisbe. Over the course of the summer, Auden tackles many new projects: learning to ride a bike, making real connections with peers, facing the emotional fallout of her parents’ divorce, distancing herself from her mother, and falling in love with Eli, a fellow insomniac bicyclist recovering from his own traumas. The cover may mislead readers, as despite the body language of the girl in pink and the hunky blue-jeaned boy balanced on a bike, this is no slight romance: there’s real substance here. Dessen’s many fans will not be deterred by the length or that cover; they expect nuanced, subtle writing, and they won’t be disappointed. Grades 9-12. --Debbie Carton --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
"Beautifully captures that sense of summer as a golden threshold between past regrets and future unknowns." -The Washington Post
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Top Customer Reviews
It was the perfect summer coming-of-age tale. It had my required smidgeon of romance in it, but it was really just the story of how Auden grows over the course of one summer spent at her Dad's. Her parents just about put me through the roof....and yet I could see people who would behave that way. I wasn't sure I would get to a point where I forgave them their transgressions, but in the end they were just people, just flawed in a different way than I'm used to.
I loved the relationship Auden builds with the 3 girls. I love that as weird and, well, socially awkward as she was, they still sort of absorbed her into their group. I LOVED that Maggie was not all she seemed to be....I felt like there were so many lessons for girls in that one character -- there was a line that I probably should have highlighted, something about how girls can be girly and feminine, but that doesn't have to be all that they are....obviously said way better than that. *rolls eyes*
And needless to say, I LOVED the relationship that developed between Auden and Eli. I can't even put it into words. It was like two kindred souls finding each other, and learning about themselves in the meantime.
Looks like I'm going to take advantage of this sale and pick up a few more Sarah Dessen novels. I'd been in a funk in my reading, and her voice was just what I needed to suck me back in to this reading world I love so much.
Being an awkward nerd myself, I immediately empathizing with Auden. I even liked her name. Although the novel contained classic "coming of age" themes, there were enough unique aspects to hold my interest. I was particularly intrigued by the way Desson brought Auden and Eli together through their late night exploits.
The "it's never too late" theme is often applied in adult fiction with older characters, however Dessen did an effective job applying this concept to a teen character. From bowling to food fights, it was fun trying to anticipate what would be included on her list of activities.
Of course I have a few complaints. For instance, the book cover is attractive, but just plain incorrect. It shows an old bike rather than the types described in the book. Also, Auden would not be wearing that girlie pink dress.
Also, not being a coffee drinker myself, I found the ongoing references to coffee rather strange. I'm not sure if it's a regional or generational thing, however since all three of my grown children drink coffee I'm guessing it's another one of those things I missed out on as a teen.
When reading this type of "summer at the beach" story, it's fun to have a sappy, happy ending. I wasn't disappointed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
First of all, Auden is a teenage girll who never...Read more