Title: Along For the Ride
Author: Sarah Dessen

Rating out of 5:
Reviewed by: Maddy Emerick
Date: 2011-05-19

 Sarah Dessen's Along For The Ride takes place in a town next to the beach called Maycomb.  It is summer of the present time and Is told by Auden, a girl that never used to get out much.  Auden finds a new night life in Maycomb, while fulfilling her summer with activities she never got to do in the past accompanied by her new pal Eli. 

  Auden's mother, Dr. Victoria west, an accomplished novelist, does, or did, carry the same personality as her daughter, one-sided and very opinionated negatively.  She had always treated Auden as an adult through her whole life.  She realizes this may not mold her daughter for the future.  By the end of the book, she comes to embrace life and appreciate Auden. 

  Auden faces two conflicts, self and man.  Auden had never felt the security of friends "having your back" and seemed to gain the reputation of loner, which made her socially awkward sometimes.  She faces conlicts between man when she fights pretty much the only person in Maycomb that gets who she really is, Eli. 

  In the beginning of the novel, Auden takes on life completely differently.  her main focus is on academics, thinking that is all she'll need in college to get her through to success.  She then is inspired by her free-riding brother Hollis, who has been bumming around in Europe for the past couple years.  Auden decides she needs some change so she sends an email to her step-mother, Heidi.  Auden sees Heidi as a person who is over-exuberant, girly, and definately not Auden's type.  As Auden's trip to Maycomb has just begun, she sees it as a mistake to have came, until she meets a boy who takes advantage of girls.  He instantly gives Auden a horrible reputation around small Maycomb.  Just as she thinks things can't get worse, they get better.  Auden meets one of her kind, Eli.  He is awkward and shy at first, but he's a night-owl, just like Auden, never sleeping.  As Auden and he share feelings and lives, he gives Auden the childhood she never had.

 I believe Sarah Dessen's theme for this novel is that is possible for people to change.  Auden and her mother always said people can't change, but in the end, I think her mind changes point of view.  Sarah Dessen clearly chose the title Along For The Ride based around bicycles.  That is another thing Auden missed out on during her childhood.

  One aspect of the story that i will remember is how much a person can make a difference in your life.  Eli clearly cared about Auden and thought it was unfortunate that she never had a childhood.  After they have a fight, Auden misses him and realizes how better her summer seemed with him.  She wouldn't ever take for granted someone that will go the extra mile to make life that much better for yourself.

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