Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Review: Along for the Ride

Dear Blog,
yet another review I wrote while I was away.

Summary (from Goodreads):  It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.
A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.

  Review: I am a BIG fan of Sarah Dessen's, as you may or may not know. Despite the fact that most contemporary fiction holds few thrills for me, I could easily devour one of her books in a matter of hours. Her books are deep yet fun, realistic and easy to relate to yet a perfect piece of summer escapism.   Along for the Ride was no disappointment. 

I really liked Auden, perhaps something to do with the fact that she was, well, unusual.  She never had a chance to be a child, she spent all her nights awake, and  best of all (call me shallow if you like), she was called Auden.  I know you're not meant to judge people, but if the main characters have names like Auden, Eli and Thisbe (yes, I said Thisbe), how can you not love them instantly?!  Anyway, as well as having an awesome name, Auden's seriousness, dry wit and backbone make her likeable.  I can forgive her over-achieving, for I suppose that's just her way of being perfect and making things right, not unlike Macy.
While on the subject of characters,  I had high expectations for Eli. He was a Sarah Dessen boy after all, and he was no anticlimax as a mysterious, enigmatic, and utterly charming sort of person. And he rode a bike!  Few male love interests seem to do that in books nowadays, and while it wasn't as huge an element as I thought it might be, it was still refreshing to read about. 

One of the things that makes this my favourite of the Sarah Dessen books I've read is the relationship between Auden and Eli. They just seem to be so complete and so right together, as if they were lacking without the other.   Eli helped Auden on her quest to become a teenager, and she helped him to recover following the death of his best friend.  Although, call me shallow if you like, I was slightly dissapointed by their first kissed.  It was sort of, "oh.  That's it?" Unlike, say, The Truth About Forever, which is all "ta-da!" and makes you want to punch the air.  Not to say that they weren't perfect together, which they were absolutely. 

The writing style is as ever fabulous.  It's like Sarah Dessen is still a teenager just recounting the day's events.  Her voice in the book is so clear and realistic, you have to ask yourself if this is actually a grown adult's work or the voice of an eighteen-year-old insomniac.  The two seem to sort of blend together as one, until even that is irrelevant and you are Auden, as if it were being told in the second person or you're looking back through one of your journals.  Such is the awesomeness.

As my one single criticism, I'll quote from  my review of The Truth About Forever:

"this is the closest I will ever come to criticising a Sarah Dessen novel: if you took all the pages out, threw them up in the air, and put them back in any book, you wouldn't really notice. There. That is the only bad thing you will hear in this review.
Anyway. I don't know a single Sarah Dessen fan who actually complains about the similarity between her books. It's true, when you've read one, you've sort of read them all, but I DON'T CARE! I don't think that any of her other fans do either. She is the master of such fiction: the sort you read on perfectly sunny day or at the beach, with an ice cream while wearing shorts and a t-shirt."

Criticism explained.  As well as this being a lazy excuse for me to not  have to rephrase that in this review, my explanation from that review seemed good enough.  If it wasn't, I'm sorry, but you've probably heard it before in some shape or form.

Along for the Ride was set mostly in the seaside town of Colby, the town that Colie stays in for the summer in Keeping the Moon/Last Chance, depending on which side of the Atlantic (in Germany it's called Crazy Moon. Maybe I just missed something, but I think it got a little lost in translation). Also, Jason from The Truth About Forever made a small appearance, and he was just as annoying and mean to Auden as he was to Macy. I wanted to hit him around the head with my four-hundred paged copy as much as I did in his last appearance. Although in some respects having one of Satan's minions whose only intention in life seemed to be Having these small similatirites in Sarah Dessen's books makes the characters' world even more familiar- sort of like meeting an old friend and catching up with them after weeks of not seeing them.

In three words: romantic, fun, wonderful.
Reccomended for: Sarah Dessen fans old and new.
Rating: 5. My favourite of her books so far.

1 comment:

  1. This seems like an awesome book! I'm going to have to check it out sometime. Thanks! :D


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