Friday, June 19, 2009
Review - Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Along for the Ride
Auden is in between High School and "real life". She decides to take this time to go and visit her dad, stepmom, Heidi, and new baby sister, Thisbe, for the summer. Her hope is that she will have somehting to put into the tacky picture frame her brother sent her. The one that has a picture of him in front of the Taj Mahal and the words THE BEST OF TIMES underneath. She packs up the frame and her textbooks (gotta get a jump on those college classes) and heads to what she hopes will be her first "best of times".
So many times I felt this was partially the story of my life, minus the cute boys and cute clothes! I spent a lot of time focused on my school work and then on my family and now my job. Like Auden, the simple act of friendship was very foreign to me.
"I mean, we just figured you thought you were better than us. But maybe you just didn't know how to hang out." (145)
I liked how Dessen had Auden grow, without losing who she was just more of an adding-on, becoming more 3-dimensional, but not someone else. My other favorite person was Maggie. Maggie works in Heidi's shop and is skilled at finding the right outfit for the right person.
"Finding those slim boot cuts for that woman was work. But it was so worth it. Her butt looked great when she left here." (208)
But like all of us, there's more to Maggie, she's going to the same brainiac genius college that Auden will attend. Dessen makes the point that you can be smart and pretty and whatever else you want. You decide.
The story of Eli fit in nicely with Auden's while his brother Jake could have been left out. The Bike Shop boys, Adam and Wallace, and the two other Clementine girls, Esther and Leah all had something to bring to the party.
The story moved at a steady pace and there were so many wonderful lines I had to stop myself from folding down all the pages. The incessant crying of the baby totally reminded me of The Amazing Dancer girl. She never liked sleep, still doesn't. I could relate. I enjoyed the new terminology: store-goers and snack-bang as well as the constant drinking of coffee! This story brought a smile to my face and led to many thoughtful pauses.
I only had one moment of conflict -
Auden's mom takes care of Heidi's baby so that Auden can go to the fake prom. Now, I'm amiable with my ex and his new wife and children but I draw the line at babysitting them!! Seems like too much especially when they are only a few months old...but that could just be me!
END SPOILER ALERT
Overall, this book was Sarah Dessen's best so far. I recommend it for middle and high school libraries. I give it 4 copies and know they will always be checked out.
Sarah Dessen on YouTube
talking about Along for The Ride
A book trailer .
Reading an excerpt
Click here to purchase from Powell's.