9 August 2009

Review: ALONG FOR THE RIDE by Sarah Dessen ****

"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.
In her signature pitch-perfect style, Sarah Dessen explores the hearts of two lonely people learning to connect."


This was my first Sarah Dessen book and I admit I order it mostly because I fell head over heels in love with the cute cover. I wasn't too keen on the plot, but since everyone and their monkey is praising Ms Dessen, I thought I'd give her a try too. The result? I fell right under the Dessen spell, of course!

Judging by the cover and the description, this is such a summery book so I thought now was the perfect time to read it. It's been ages since I've read a proper YA novel and it felt kind of strange at first, but then I started to enjoy it - it was sort of nice to be reminded of what it's like to be 18 again (even though I don't miss those times at all), hehe.

The plot wasn't too mind blowing, but I enjoyed it anyway and I did find the book quite hard to put down as it was really well written - the narrative voice was typically teenagery, but the narration was still beautiful (slightly melancholy) and I liked that combination, it was perfect for the book. I really liked the main character, but all the side characters were great too. I didn't favour anyone in particular, but I thought they were all well crafted and had dymension.

This is YA fiction at its best and I can hardly fault this wonderful and well-written story of friendship, first love, divorce, death, coping with a newborn etc - I could've easily rated it 5/5, but it didn't completely blow me away on the personal level (totally subjective, whereas objectively it's excellent).

Ms Dessen is adored by her fans (just check the ratings of her books on Amazon!) and I'm really glad I've finally given her a chance. I'd really recommend Ms Dessen to anyone looking for a great YA read and I'll be definitely reading more of her books - next up I'm planning to order Just Listen and The Truth about Forever and I'm also tempted to read This Lullaby and Dreamland (which appears to be really hard to get in Europe?). They all sound great and I'm awfully excited to read them!!!

Lastly, click here and here to see Ms Dessen introduce the book and read an excerpt from it.

overall rating: 4/5
plot: 4/5 | writing: 5/5 | characters: 4/5 | cover: 5/5

ps: Oh, no IMM post from me this week because I've only received a couple of the books with several still on the way so I thought I'd just post them all next week.


Leah said...

This sounds like a good read, will have to look out for some of Sarah's books!

Book Chick City said...

I've seen a lot of Sarah Dressen around other blogs, so really should give her a go - think I will start with this one. Thanks for the review!

Alicia said...

Great review :) I'm glad you enjoyed the book - I just love the way she writes, I always feel that I am in the world she is creating :)

I don't know why Dreamland is hard to find - the US Amazon has it, but I did notice that other places don't....I have no idea why!

bookalicious said...

Leah & Book Chick City - I really recommend Ms Dessen! I mean yes, I've only read one book by her, but I can really see why so many people adore her, she's just wonderful!

Alicia - Yeah, she really does write well. It's simple but still lovely and it's so easy to get sucked into her world. Judging from the descriptions, most of her books take place in Colby? And I've noticed that similar places (like the Last Chance) and people are often featured, I like that!
After reading Along for the Ride, I really have the urge to read the rest of her books too, there's just something about them! I'm trying to hold back at the moment, but I'll probably order all of them on a whim as soon as I get my next paycheck, haha.
As for Dreamland, it seems to be available fine on US Amazon, like you said, but my beloved Book Depository doesn't have it - they only have this horrendous cover and there's no way I'm paying 10 euros for such an ugly looking book, however shallow that sounds, lol. In the end I'll probably just order it from the US, even if the postage is insanely high, heh.
Have you read all of her books btw? Which one was your favourite of the bunch? :)

Alicia said...

Yeah - I think most of her books take place in similar locations so that there can be an overlap. I know I've heard of it happening before, but since I just read two books so close together - I noticed it more!

I have read all of her books {and own all but 2!} but I am in the process of re-reading them all! So if I had to pick a favorite.....I think I would say Lock and Key :)

Anonymous said...

sarah dessen is a great writter and i have read many of her books. i haven't read 'along for a ride' yet but im getting it soon. I can't wait!! i love all of her books!!!

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