Friday, June 12, 2009
Along for the Ride
Dessen, Sarah. 2009. Along for the Ride. Viking. 382 pages.
The emails always began the same way.
I love Sarah Dessen. I do. I know that there are other great romance writers out there for teens. And there's always room for more in this giddy-making genre. But for me, it doesn't really get much better than Dessen. Along for the Ride is her latest YA novel. It stars Auden, a teen girl with a bit of a sleeping problem. (Whether you think it's a problem-problem, or just a reinforced bad habit, I'll let you decide.) Ever since her parents began fighting, she has had trouble sleeping at night. (So she might stay up til the wee morning hours, but then she'll get in her hours of sleep in the morning and early afternoon.) When she was at home, she found refuge in a diner that was open 24 hours a day. But now that summer is here, now that she has decided to pay a visit to her father and stepmother, Heidi, (not to mention her new little baby sister) in a beach-resort type town, she's got to begin to adapt.
At first, Auden isn't quite sure what to make of her new situation. Heidi is exhausted; her dad is aloof--locked away in his office busy working on his new book. And she's really left on her own most of the time. Which isn't a bad thing. Sure, she'd hoped to catch up with her dad and get to know him a bit better before she heads off to college in the fall. But it's not like she expected to spend all her time with good old dad. This summer instead turns into a quest of sorts. Her quest to catch up on all the things she missed out on growing up--making new friends, hanging out, going bowling, flirting, etc. And this being a Dessen novel, expect a great hero.
Eli, like Auden, is a night owl. In fact that is one of the reasons they bond. He shows her all the local delights. They spend weekfuls of nights together, hanging out, laughing, being silly and carefree and forgetting about some of the problems that plague them during the day.
New stepmother. New baby sister. New job. New friends. And her first ever 'real' boyfriend.
Is it my favorite Sarah Dessen novel? Probably not. I think I'll always heart The Truth About Forever the best because it was my first. And while I've truly enjoyed all of her books which I've read (I still need to read Dreamland, by the way), none have quite been able to take the place of it as favorite.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews