Friday, May 16, 2014

Along for the Ride

Along for the Ride is a YA contemporary novel by Sarah Dessen.

For a long time now, Auden has been unable to sleep through the night.

Nights are her quiet time – her chance to escape everything going on around her.

When she decides to stay with her dad, stepmom and new baby sister for the summer in Colby, her odd sleep habits don’t change.

But she does meet Eli.

Eli also doesn’t sleep at night.

Soon enough he becomes her nocturnal tour guide and she begins to, for once, look forward to seeing someone else – after years of social solitude...

It’d hard to do a decent synopsis on Along for the Ride, because there’s not much to say. That doesn’t mean there’s no plot – it’s just that there are so many nuances to it you’ll either give away too much or too little.

I opted for too little.

But any fan of Sarah Dessen, I’m sure, will be more than willing to read Along for the Ride without needing encouragement from me anywho!

Auden is a “good girl” – sheltered from peer experience by being raised by two academic, artistic types that raised her, essentially, to be an adult.

In Along for the Ride we see a messy divorce, a mom that feels very distant, a dad that’s nice but seems disinterested and a haggard, young stepmom that is probably in over her head.

First of all, I have to say that it’s great to be back in Colby! Keeping the Moon was one of my favorite Dessen novels, so all the references to that first book – even just being in the Last Chance – was joyous to me! Plus, there’s even a connection to Lock & Key that warmed me. I love the way she’s doing little tie-in’s!

Along for the Ride presents an issue of insomnia that is very different – it gives Auden my sympathy right away over what is clearly a psychological issue. Amidst the family pain, which is sadly realistic, you really get to know these people.

There’s a quietness to Sarah Dessen’s writing that I had to re-orient to since it’s been so long, but once oriented it’s so subtle and graceful that it has a power in that quietness. She, in such a seemingly simple way, shows the ugly flaws in others – but yet still has a sense of hope.

That is Along for the Ride.

Quiet. Unsuspectingly powerful. Disarmingly simple. Poignant.

It’s Sarah Dessen.

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