Riding a bike is only one of the many things Auden's missed out on. Even before her parents' divorce, she was cast in the role of little adult, never making waves, focusing on academics to please her demanding mother.
Now she's spending the summer before college in the tiny beach town of Colby with her father and his new wife and baby. A job in a trendy boutique introduces her to the world of girls, their friendships, conversations, romances. And then there's Eli, an intriguing loner. A former star on the bike circuit and a fellow insomniac, Eli introduces Auden to the nocturnal world of Colby. Together they embark on a quest: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she's been denied; for Eli, to put a tragic episode behind him. Combine two lonely people with a charming beach town and an endless supply of long summer nights, and just about anything can happen.
When I went to the bookstore last week, I was only allowed to buy one book, a challenge for me. I eventually chose Along for the Ride and I think I made the right choice.
The book is very enjoyable with lifelike, round characters. Sometimes while I was reading I forgot everything else around me I was so deeply absorbed. Sarah definitely has a gift for creating believable characters. Auden, the girl whose entire life has been consumed by academics to the point that she's had little fun. The mother, an academic herself that wants her daughter on her side and doesn't believe people can change. The father, a selfish novelist that seems to always need to have things his way. Eli, the quiet boy whose life was changed forever when an accident killed his best friend, an accident that he believes is all his fault. Even the minor characters don't feel flat in any way.
I really enjoyed the writing and the voice in this story. It was a wonderful plot all packed together with characters that feel more like friends and a great story behind it.
The ending was very cute, but not unexpected. Not that I didn't go 'Awwwww' quiet enough that my mother sitting in the front seat of the car didn't hear and ask what I was Aw-ing about.
I'm already looking for more from Sarah Dessen and hoping I can return to the bookstore soon.