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Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (Good and Bad Review)

Jan 24, 2014

I first picked up a Sarah Dessen novel at the unreasonably small library at my school, since it seemed fairly interesting. This was last June and I was fairly new to the YA romance scene; now, I have been told that this first book was one of the best by Dessen. If so, then it unfortunately set my expectations "unrealistically" high. This book was The Truth about Forever, and you can read my review of that book here.

As I said, I guess I sculpted my expectations for Along for the Ride based on The Truth about Forever. It wasn't as though I'd only read one Dessen book-- I'd read two others besides: Someone Like You, which I disliked but thought was the exception, not the rule, and Dreamland, with its excellent writing (even with its topic making me uncomfortable.) Anywho, Along for the Ride was just not for me.

Bad:


  1. Maggie & Co. are cardboard-cutout characters, vastly disinteresting. Mostly, I hated selfish and inconsiderate Leah (who just cares about going where she wanted ((TALLYHO))). Auden, the main character, was right in her first-impressions-judgement of them: They ARE superficial. Obviously, Maggie has more to her than meets the eye, but still: It's just her, and frankly it's not enough. (Think 4 Kaitlyns from The Fault in Our Stars, but one of them is quite intelligent.) Additionally, their taste in boys says it all (kind of), and makes them seem even more shallow, even Maggie, if such a thing is possible (it is).
  2. Jason. I understand that he was made to be unlikeable, but STILL. Weirdly enough he said things like "I wouldn't blame you if you were to never speak to me again," showing his emotions. I think he cares for Auden but expects too much from her: to wait until he himself has time for her, and sit idly, skipping a lot of fun/parties, when he doesn't. Also: is he Jason from The Truth about Forever? While this is kind of unlikely due to timing, they have similar personalities, and I have heard that Dessen commonly includes characters from other books into new ones, reprising their roles. (But usually, MCs from other books get small roles in new books, so...)
  3. Auden's actions? Like, specifically, Jake. >.>
  4. Sarah Dessen's book formula. Like, I understand that you are supposed to look at books separately from each other, especially if they are not part of a series, and treat them independently. But one has got to wonder if Dessen is just really really really overusing all her plot elements.
Good:
  1. Eli? He's quirky for sure, but.... the way he just opens up to  Auden & no one else, especially seeing that Auden is NEW TO TOWN, is really kind of unnerving. I love the laundromat-pie thing, though. It really adds an extra dimension to the Eli/Auden relationship (whatever it is).
  2. Heidi. YES YES YES. Auden was condescending about her in the beginning but that only made me love her more when she turned out to be..........nice.
  3. Auden....... but only sometimes. I'm glad she has a good relationship with her parents (Even if said parents are consistently make mistakes/use poor judgement regarding decisions).
  4. Auden's brother, Hollis. Agh! He's lucky, lucky, lucky, and quirky, and kind of a spoiled kid, but he seems to be a genuinely nice guy with an interesting personality (even if he just keeps sapping money from his parents).
 
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