Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

It’s time for another addition to my series Sundays with Sarah!

“It shouldn’t be easy to be amazing. Then everything would be. It’s the things you fight for and struggle with before earning that have the greatest worth. When something’s difficult to come by, you’ll do that much more to make sure it’s even harder―or impossible―to lose.”

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Synopsis from GoodreadsUp all night. Nights have always been Auden’s time, her chance to escape everything that’s going on around her. Then she meets Eli, a fellow insomniac, and he becomes her nocturnal tour guide. Now, with an endless supply of summer nights between them, almost anything can happen…

Feelings: I really liked the way this book ended. I felt like it all came full circle and our characters got some closure. I wasn’t sure what the main issue was of this book (because Dessen’s books always tackle a difficult issue) but I realized that it’s about a lot of things. It’s about second chances and whether or not people can really change.It’s about what makes us who we are and being open to new possibilities. You guys, I read this book in less than a day. I felt like Auden, staying up late and reading, going for another cup of coffee because why not.

Issues: I realized while reading this book that Dessen’s books are both about nothing and everything. There’s always some central issue that the main character is wrestling with throughout the story, but for a while it seems like there’s really no central conflict and you’re just not sure what we’re building up to. It felt kind of annoyed by that, but I also couldn’t stop reading. So it’s not like that issue made me throw the book at the wall and move on with my life. It’s Sarah Dessen. It’ll get interesting!

Characters: Auden’s parents made me so angry. Both of them are so arrogant and selfish. You see those qualities coming out in Auden at the beginning of the book and you want to say, “She doesn’t know any better.” But then, she spends more time with Heidi and the girls at Clementine’s and you realize that she’s so much more. I ended up really liking Auden. She found her voice and was able to muster up some courage, deciding that only she could decide who she was.

It took me a while to decide if I cared anything about Eli. I felt sorry for him for a while, then I was confused by his standoffishness, then I figured that out, round and round and round. I will say, though, that I love a boy who loves his mom! I also love that Auden wasn’t the only one to have some character growth. Eli got to partake in that change as well and his life is going in a pretty positive direction. (Sometimes I pretend like the characters are still doing life somewhere in the literature world. It happens.)

I want to move to Colby. Is it even a real place? I want Maggie to be my best friend. When she took a stance on how girls don’t have to be “either/or”, that they can like pretty things and also be knowledgeable in finances or riding bikes, I was like YYEESSSS. Auden had been really judgey about her (courtesy of mom), but I’m glad she came to her senses.

Comparisons: Dessen’s books haven’t ever really reminded me of the others, but this one really read a lot like The Truth About Forever. We have a girl who’s focused on academics, stuck at home helping a powerful mom, who gets swept up by a friend group that shows her how to be young and live. And the love interest is a mysterious and complex guy who loves his mom and has a past that people don’t really talk about. I really enjoyed Forever, maybe a tad bit more than I liked this one.

Final thoughts: I enjoyed this book. It’s one that I can see myself rereading later on and still enjoying. I flew through this book. It made me think, it made me laugh, it made me look at my own life…it’s just a good read.

Pick this up if you liked:

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen (These books have a bit in common!)

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (For some reason, it made me think of this book. Maybe it was family drama and figuring out academic futures?)

Goodreads rating: 4.09/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.4/5

My rating: 4.5/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

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