by Sarah Dessen
Originally published on June 16, 2009
Synopsis 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.My take: Yay, we are back in Colby again. This is Dessen's second book set there, and I was glad to be back. Along for the Ride has some new themes and re-visits some old ones. Narrator Auden is an older sister for a change, as her dad and his new wife have just had a baby. When Auden is invited by them to spend the last summer before college at the beach, she decides to leave her somewhat overbearing mother and try something new.
Other themes of the book are that people are sometimes different from the way we hastily judge them, and that everyone deserves a second chance. Auden's very disappointed that her perpetually distracted and often narcissistic father is the same kind of father to baby Thisbe that he was to her. And, after a hookup with a guy she's just met on the beach, she finds herself harshly received by the local Colby girls. Plagued by insomnia, Auden begins to wander the town at night, where she meets Eli, a fellow insomniac (and -- awkward! -- the brother of her hookup.)
More crossover appearances: a visit from Isabel and Morgan from Keeping the Moon, a brief mention of Nate Cross from Lock and Key, and -- I never would have caught this if I hadn't read all these back-to-back -- a snort-inducing cameo by Jason, Macy's ex-boyfriend from The Truth About Forever. Talk about narcissists!
This book had a leisurely pace that perhaps befit a sojourn at the beach, but overall I enjoyed my second trip to Colby!
This post is not officially part of #ReadaDessen, but be sure to enter to win the Penguin contest for a full set of Dessen books here!