Book Review- Along For The Ride (by Sarah Dessen)

EraseWhy did you choose this book?

I chose this book because I recently read Just Listen, a book that is also by Sarah Dessen, and I wanted to see if I liked any of her other books.

Explain the plot of the book, or if it is a non-fiction book, what topics are covered.

This book is from the point of view of the main character, Auden. In the beginning Auden keeps to herself, she agrees with everything spiteful that her mother (who is very smart and accomplished and has even earned the title “Doctor,”) has to say about her ex-husband. Auden’s brother is always traveling, never home; Auden’s mom is always working, always beating down on her about excelling in her studies; Auden’s parents have separated, and she hardly ever gets to see her dad. Will they ever change? Although she hardly ever sees her dad, Auden’s dad’s new wife is constantly trying to contact her, trying to convince her to come over for summer break, and see their new baby, Auden’s half-sister.

Summer break has come and Auden heads off to where her dad is living with his new wife. She thinks that everything will be fine in their household. Auden hopes that she won’t have to tell her hostile mother what she hopes to hear: that their relationship is not going smoothly, and that her dad’s wife, Heidi, is feeling all alone with the new baby, while Auden’s dad finishes his book.

When Auden comes over to their house, she realizes that everything is not perfect. Her dad is always in his work room, typing away. Heidi is trying to take care of her baby all alone. Both of them, (Auden’s dad and Heidi,) have many disagreements, which throws Auden back into memories of her parents’ divorce.

At first, Auden is cautious around the people in this small town. She doesn’t feel the need to find friends. Sooner or later, Auden starts hanging our with this group of girls. At a glance, these girls seem boy obsessed, clothes/makeup obsessed, and shallow. When Auden starts hanging out with them, she finally figures out that people are more than they seem.

Auden bumps into a guy, (who she was previously introduced to by her new friends,) at a local gas station, and he teaches her some important life lessons. Since Auden had had no social life in high school, Eli (the boy who she’d met,) helps her try to go back and do the things that she missed out on in high school. He has her go on late night “quests” with him, from 11:00 PM to about 3:45 AM . Since they are both insomniacs, it works out perfectly 🙂 .

Auden and Eli get very close, close enough that Auden doesn’t know how to handle a relationship and keep herself from remembering the pain she felt when her parents split up. Auden wants to bury herself in studies, just as she did right after her parents got a divorce. Auden wants to forget, because she feels responsible for their breakup.

Auden and Eli stop having late night quests and they stop seeing each other after Auden pulls away from him. Auden wants to prove to Eli that she will try to make up for what she lost. She decides to get one of her friends to teach her how to ride a bike. Biking is very important to Eli, and to the culture in this town.

Do people ever change? No.-This was Auden’s first answer, but later in the book, she is able to see things in a whole different perspective, a whole different light. Are people like they seem? No, there is always something more to a person that can be seen at just a glance, just a conversation, even in just a lifetime.

Will Auden and Eli get together? Like in most love stories? Or will there be a twist at the end? Will Auden find a soft spot in her mom’s heart? Will Auden be able to hold her dad’s and Heidi’s relationship together?

Read the book and find out!!! 🙂 

Describe one of the characters in the book. Would you want to meet this character? Why or why not?

One of the characters in this book is Dr. Victoria West, Auden’s mom. Victoria is cold, brilliant/intelligent, calculating, and bitter. Sure, there is a kind side to her, but if I met her, I know she would not be very nice to me. I would not like to meet her because I do not like being judged and I do not want to meet a person who is cold and/or bitter, no matter how brilliant she may be.

What is your opinion of the book? Would you recommend it? Why or why not?

Meh. 4.2/10. I’ve read better for sure, but if you like love stories, than go for it!!! The author’s writing style isn’t very interesting, (sorry Sarah Dessen,) and the plots in her books, at least the “love story” part of them, all are about the same.

Spoiler: Girl meets boy, they fall in love, they break up, and they fall in love again.

Explain how this book is similar to another book, film, story, or article that you have read or seen. What connections or comparisons can you make?

This book is a lot like Sarah Dessen’s other book: Just Listen. Just Listen is similar to this book because of the love story part of the book, as I said above: (SPOILER:) girl meets boy, they fall in love, they break up, and they fall in love again. Also, the main characters in both of these books, (Auden in this book and Annabel in the other,) both have one phrase that they always hear repeated in their head. The experiences that these phrases come from are COMPLETELY different, but they are still important phrases that shape part of the main characters’ lives.

Auden’s Phrase: Shh, shh. Everything’s all right.

Annabel’s Phrase: Shh, it’s just me.

This book is also like Barbie Girl, by Heidi Acosta because they both have characters who would fit your schema of one role, but then as you get to know them, they are very different from that stereotype.

What do you think the main idea or theme of this story is? What is the author trying to tell you about life or our world with this book? 

I think that there are two main things that the author is trying to tell us.

One of the things that Dessen is trying to tell us is that people aren’t always what they seem to be. If you see someone who you think fits a stereotype, they might not fit it at all. Many characters in this book are like that, in fact, I think that all of the characters have a little bit more to them than you might think at first. Another book that proves that people aren’t always what is they seem is Barbie Girl, by Heidi Acosta. You can’t possibly know what someone is like from a glance or from rumors.

Another lesson that Dessen* is trying to teach us, is that you can try again. If you try once, and it doesn’t work out, try again. If you fall off of your bike the first time you’ve ever tried riding one, will you get back on? Will you try again? Or will you give up? In Along For The Ride, by Sarah Dessen, the main character, Auden, learns how to try again and teaches other people how to try again, and to not give up

* It rhymes!!! 🙂

Thanks for reading! 🙂 Please check out some of my other posts to get good reading suggestions. Feel free to comment below!



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