Review Blog

Oct 06 2009

Along for the ride by Sarah Dessen

cover image

Penguin, 2009. ISBN 9780141327488.
Age 13+) Highly recommended. This is a wonderful book that is even better on a second reading. Auden cannot sleep at night; her sleep patterns have been disrupted ever since her parents' divorce. When she is invited to stay at the beach with her father, young stepmother and new baby, she decides to go in the hope of maintaining contact with her father. It is also an opportunity to do more with her life before she goes off to university. She works in her stepmother's boutique and discovers the world of girls and clothes. Best of all are her nightly quests with Eli, another insomniac, when she discovers just what she missed out on in her teenage age years when she was too busy studying to have a good time.
Dessen's characters are all beautifully developed. I was drawn to the friendless Auden, who has tried so hard to get the approval of her academic parents, that she has missed out on parties, bike riding and even her prom. Eli, the dark brooding boy who has lost his best friend in an accident, is a wonderful character and I loved the way he shares Auden's quest to taste her lost childhood. Both Auden's and Eli's interactions with Thisbe, will give readers a real insight into just what it is like to look after a fretful infant and how love can develop for a baby.
The girls in the dress shop are delightful, and Maggie turns Auden's perceptions around about girly girls showing her that you can like clothes and make-up but still ride bikes and excel at school. Auden has a dysfunctional home life, but Dessen cleverly gives her overbearing mother and selfish father enough depth that there is hope that the family problems will resolve by the end of the book.
The themes of friendship, looking beyond the obvious and living life to the full are memorable. I loved this book, it is well written, has enough depth for the most discerning reader, a great beach setting and characters that are unforgettable.
Pat Pledger

Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
2017 Children's Peace Literature Award Short List
Inkys Awards 2017
2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award
2017 NSW Premier's History Awards
The Queensland Literary Awards 2017
CBCA Awards 2017 winners
Environment Award for Children's Literature 2017
Speech Pathology shortlist 2017
2017 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals
2017 Branford Boase Award
2017 UKLA Book Awards

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2016
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Bookmark and poster templates