I’ve read a number of Sarah Dessen’s books, and not necessarily in the order they have been published. Some I have really liked, others less so. I have to admit I had reservations when I started this, one of her earlier ones, published in 2009. I needn’t have worried!
Set in the summer holidays before Auden goes off to university, Along For The Ride is an engaging story of how the outsider can become one of the group. Or, as the characters themselves say, how sometimes people do change. There are things you could criticise about the book – all the characters are a little too extreme: the clever girl too clever, the bike rider obviously has to be the best bike rider and so on – but nevertheless you find yourself completely engrossed in the story. The dialogue is brilliant, witty and interesting. OK, so maybe real people don’t talk like that often (if at all!), but it’s great fun to read. And there are some excellent quotes, such as
Maybe it was true, and being a girl could be about interest rates and skinny jeans, riding bikes and wearing pink. Not about any one thing, but about everything.
A book about change, and about giving yourself and others a second chance. Once you are into the story, you are engrossed. A thoroughly enjoyable read.
And to end with another quote: … an ending was an ending. No matter how many pages of sentences and paragraphs of great stories led up to it, it would always have the last word. It’s important to me that the last paragraph/sentence/word in a story is a good one, and in Along For The Ride it is!