Along for the Ride Review

book review

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen follows Auden West who decides to visit her father, stepmother, and their new baby at the beach over the summer. Raised by two professor parents, Auden never had the typical high school experience. When Auden takes a job at her stepmother’s boutique, she makes new friends who help her experience all of the high school experiences she missed.

While Along for the Ride isn’t in my top three favorite Sarah Dessen books, it still ranks near the top of my favorite Sarah Dessen list. Along for the Ride is similar to many classic Sarah Dessen books with strong characters, strong themes, and strong relationships. Additionally, it’s the perfect book for the summer time!

I think my favorite aspect of this book would have to be the characters. Each character, whether major or minor, is fully developed and represent part of the theme that Sarah Dessen expresses in this book. In this book, the focus is on people changing. The main character, Auden, changes dramatically in her final summer before college. She learns to make her own opinions, learns to socialize with people her own age, and learns that she doesn’t have to be perfect all the time.

I also appreciated how Sarah Dessen explored what it means to be a girl in this book. Auden’s mom is a cold and driven professor who shuns everything girly, as a result, Auden sees anything considered typically feminine as weak. However, through her friends and other characters in the book, Auden learns this is not the case. Auden’s stepmother, Heidi, own an extremely girl boutique, but she’s also an incredibly smart businesswoman. Auden’s new friend, Maggie, likes fashion and boys, but also is very intelligent and great at riding dirtbikes. I really like how Sarah Dessen conveyed that their isn’t “a right way” to be a girl and that just because someone is traditionally feminine that doesn’t mean that they are also weak.

Overall, Along for the Ride is a fun, but deep summer read. Like Sarah Dessen’s other books, it is extremely relatable and will stay with you after you read it. I give Along for the Ride five out of five stars.

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