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 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.
- Good Reads
This is the first time that I have been let down by a Sarah Dessen novel. Seriously, I usually love her characters and story lines but I could not get into this book. Don't get me wrong - Along for the Ride is your typical Sarah Dessen novel and follows the typical Dessen formula (screwed up girl + screwed up boy = happiness and love and self actualization... don't believe me? Prove me wrong! I dare you!). But... eh... I don't know.
Actually, I do know.
I could not stand 90% of the characters! While it is Dessen's style to take a totally screwed up main character and transform her through out the course of the story, the leading ladies are typically likable and easy to relate to in some way or form. Unfortunately, I thought Auden was a total jerk. She was pretentious, judgmental, condescending and weirdly distant. And before you say it - yes, I know. Those are her fatal flaws that she works through but she was such a grating character to be stuck with. And Eli... I could not connect with this guy! Usually Sarah Dessen writes amazing male leads (Dexter and Wes.... sigh) but Eli...? I never felt like I understood him at any point during the book. Yes, we know that you lost your best friend in a horrible accident... but could you please let us in on what you're thinking about rather than stare moodily off into the distance? Jeesh.
And not to mention Auden's parents...
The redeeming factor for this book was the secondary characters. Namely Maggie, Adam, Heidi and Thisbe. They were so normal and sweet and hilarious that I couldn't help but love them. Most of the time I was more concerned about whether or not Maggie and Adam would ever hook up and cheering Heidi on when she stuck up for herself to care about Auden and Eli's relationship. But that's just me.
So far, I have a pretty amazing track record when it comes to loving Sarah Dessen's novels so I was bound not to enjoy one. You can't win them all, right? And before I forget, does anyone else think that the cover is a horrible match for the tone of the story?
P.S. - I am in love with contemporary YA right now - chick lit, romance, whatever! And I need suggestions... what are some of your favorite contemporary reads that I should check out?