Yesterday I read my first Sarah Dessen novel. It was delightful. (It was made even more delightful because I found this book in my mom’s local library, in Haren. That library has come a long way, as the only English books it used to have were written by Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and Danielle Steel. So you can imagine my surprise when I saw Along for the Ride on its shelves.)
A summary: when Auden decides to spend the summer before college with her father and stepmother in a small beach town, she finds herself freed to discover a new world of friendship with other girls, as well as an unexpected romance with Eli, a rising star on the BMX circuit and a fellow insomniac, who joins her in exploring the late night world of the small town. As Auden struggles to turn from the path her mother has set for her and Eli tries to come to terms with the death of a friend for which he holds himself responsible, the two break out of their mutual self-imposed isolation and find one another.
It is a lovely read. It’s well-written, a little predictable in places, but that doesn’t really detract from the book. After all, isn’t that what being human means? That we broadly suffer the same trials and tribulations yet never lose that feeling that what is happening to us is unique and unlike those things others go through? My circumstances were and are different, but I recognized enough of myself in Auden to want to watch her learn more about herself and others and cheer her on until the end.
Plus, I really love her name. Although I think any hypothetical daughter of mine might resent me forever if I use it on her. I’ll have to take it up with B.