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Along for the Ride

Along for the Ride

4.6 1167
by Sarah Dessen

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New York Times bestseller

Up all night.
Nights have always been Auden’s time, her chance to escape everything that’s going on around her.
Then she meets Eli, a fellow insomniac, and he becomes her nocturnal tour guide.
Now, with an endless supply of summer nights between them, almost anything


New York Times bestseller

Up all night.
Nights have always been Auden’s time, her chance to escape everything that’s going on around her.
Then she meets Eli, a fellow insomniac, and he becomes her nocturnal tour guide.
Now, with an endless supply of summer nights between them, almost anything can happen. . . .
“As with all Dessen’s books, [this] is a must-have” —VOYA, starred review
Also by Sarah Dessen:
Just Listen
Keeping the Moon
Lock and Key
The Moon and More
Someone Like You
That Summer
This Lullaby
The Truth About Forever
What Happened to Goodbye

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Beautifully captures that sense of summer as a golden threshold between past regrets and future unknowns." -The Washington Post
Mary Quattlebaum
Want a change from fictional neckbiters and backbiters? Welcome Auden West, a studious good girl about to be sun-kissed…Confiding and dry-witted, Auden's voice is like listening to your best bud while splitting a carton of Haagen-Dazs. Author Sarah Dessen beautifully captures that sense of summer as a golden threshold between past regrets and future unknowns, a time that shimmers with the sweet promise of now.
—The Washington Post
John Schwartz
…a wistful narrative of a young woman's last summer before heading off to college…the satisfying ending will give many readers a lump in their throat.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Studious good girl Auden, named for the poet, makes a snap decision to spend her summer before college at her father's beach house rather than with her mother, a professor whose bad habits include male grad students. Auden's parents divorced three years earlier, a split she's not yet over. Her remarried father has already produced another heir, a colicky baby named Thisbe (after a tragic figure from Shakespeare), with his young wife, Heidi, who owns a boutique. Feeling sympathy for stressed-out Heidi, Auden agrees to do the shop's bookkeeping, providing her with an instant social circle-the teenage clerks plus the boys from the neighboring bike rental, including hunky, wounded Eli. Both night owls, Auden and Eli bond when he coaxes her to experience childhood activities-bowling, food fights, learning to ride a bike-that her insufferable parents never bothered to provide. Auden's thoughtful observations make for enjoyable reading-this is solid if not "top shelf" Dessen: another summer of transformation in which the heroine learns that growing up means "propelling yourself forward, into whatever lies ahead, one turn of the wheel at a time." Ages 12-up. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Dessen has built a well-deserved reputation...[her] many fans...expect nuanced, subtle writing, and they won't be disappointed.
Children's Literature - Melissa Joy Adams
Growing up in a divorced family, Auden never learned how to ride a bike. She became super focused on academics in order to appease her parents and was never really allowed to have a childhood. Because she studies all the time, she has no social life and even plans to spend her summer in-between high school and college reading ahead for her fall classes. But after getting a present from her highly social and carefree brother, Auden makes a sudden change of plans. Instead of spending her summer on academics, she decides to spend it at the beach with her dad, his new wife, and their new baby. Despite intending to spend the summer entirely free of work, Auden ends up helping her stepmother out by working in her kitschy, boardwalk boutique. There she begins to get a glimpse of the world of a normal teen—friendships, fashion, and even boys. Auden's chronic insomnia results in her befriending one boy in particular, Eli, a local bike celebrity. Eli's tragic past has turned him into a recluse and has kept him from bike riding for almost a year. Late at night, the two go on mini-quests to recapture Auden's childhood and in the process they gain much more. Dessen's complex characters and rich plot make this both an engaging and realistic novel. Not only will this novel appeal to readers looking for a quick and easy read, but also to those who insist on quality writing. Reviewer: Melissa Joy Adams
VOYA - Ed Goldberg
Two years after her parents' divorce, Auden still feels that she could have prevented the break up. While Auden summers with her father and his new wife and baby, the hurt becomes more apparent—as do her parents' flaws. A year after local teen Eli's best friend, Abe, was killed in an auto accident in which Eli was driving, Eli still feels responsible even though it was not his fault. He has stopped doing things he loves, like championship biking. Auden and Eli literally bump into each other at the beach. Loners and insomniacs both, they begin spending their nights on a quest to salvage Auden's deprived teenage years, time spent studying rather than socializing. Working at her stepmother's store, Auden is drawn into the drama/life of co-workers Maggie, Esther, and Leah, and their friends. But as Auden and Eli become closer, Auden discovers herself emulating her father by distancing herself from Eli and her new friends. Dessen, queen of the intelligently written, thoroughly enjoyable novel about loners coming together, populates this novel with parents into whom one longs to knock some sense, teens who are smarter than their parents, and friends who are fun, loveable, and loyal. The subtheme of bike riding is a perfect ploy—especially because she never learned as a child—for Auden to grow. The juxtaposition of Auden's carefree older brother falling in love and settling down while Auden spreads her wings shows how people can change given the right circumstances. The dialogue is true to both adult and teenage language. The summer resort town setting is perfect. As with all Dessen's books, her latest is a must-have. Reviewer: Ed Goldberg
School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up

It's the summer before college and Auden goes to her father's house in the small coastal town of Colby for some well-earned R&R. Having no plans other than to preread textbooks for her first-semester classes at Defriese University, the would-be bookworm's solitude is quickly disrupted by Thisbe, her colicky new half sister. Strolling the boardwalk with a fussy baby and late night coffee runs at the Gas/Gro lead to chance encounters with the locals, whose main pastime revolves around Colby's bike park. Auden's curiosity is piqued by Eli, a bike-shop worker whose reserved, solitary nature seems to match her own. Her social sphere widens when Heidi, her sleep-deprived stepmom, asks for some bookkeeping help in her fashion boutique, and Auden is drawn into the circle of girls who work and hang out there, including Maggie, the clerk also bound for Defriese in September, and sidekicks Leah and Esther. Auden joins in on evening rituals of "store-going," eating junk food, and house parties while keeping her budding relationship with Eli to herself. Even Dessen's minor characters are multifaceted and interesting. Readers will be most absorbed by Auden and Eli's romantic friendship, the type soul mates are born of, played out in the bike shop, Colby's all-night Laundromat, and coffee shops. This summer vacation-themed story will be savored.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY

Kirkus Reviews
Auden missed childhood thanks to her parents' divorce, which she navigated with the gravitas of a 30-year-old. No bike-riding, no giggly sleepovers. Just schoolwork, college ambitions and relentless insomnia. In the summer before college, she spontaneously joins her dad, his 20-something wife and new baby at their oceanfront house, hoping to transform into someone who enjoys normal teenage fun: beach, boardwalk, bonfires and beers. Dessen reworks well-traveled terrain and creates a remarkably original story with realistic teen dialogue, authentic girl friendships and a complex underlying question: Can people really change? Taut, witty first-person narration allows readers to both identify with Auden's insecurities and recognize her unfair, acerbic criticisms of people. It's Eli, a fellow insomniac, with whom she connects, and together they tick off items on her kid to-do list (food fights, bowling, paper-delivery route) while the rest of the town sleeps. The spark between these two sad teens and the joyful examples of girl connectivity deepen this ostensibly lighthearted, summer-fun story, which offers up complex issues-the residual effects of divorce, acceptance of imperfect parents and lip-gloss feminism. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.32(w) x 8.36(h) x 1.20(d)
750L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Beautifully captures that sense of summer as a golden threshold between past regrets and future unknowns." -The Washington Post

Meet the Author

Sarah Dessen is the author of thirteen novels, which include the New York Times bestsellers The Moon and MoreWhat Happened to GoodbyeAlong for the RideLock and KeyJust ListenThe Truth About Forever, and This Lullaby. Her first two books, That Summer and Someone Like You, were made into the movie How to Deal
Dessen’s books are frequently chosen for the Teens’ Top Ten list and the list of Best Fiction for Young Adults. They have been translated into twenty-five languages. Sarah Dessen is the recipient of the 2017 Margaret A. Edwards Award from the Young Adult division of the American Library Association.
Sarah Dessen graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with highest honors in creative writing. She lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Jay, and their daughter, Sasha Clementine.
Visit Sarah at sarahdessen.com.

Brief Biography

Chapel Hill, NC
Date of Birth:
June 6, 1970
Place of Birth:
Evanston, Illinois
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, degree in English.

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Along for the Ride 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1167 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have never felt more emotion in a book, I was sometimes actually laughing out loud, to being frustrated with the characters.What really broke my heart is what they decided to name the bike shop.I was literally in tears! This book teaches us to do go out there and try things we are not used to.And if we don't get it right the first time there is always a second chance and so on.And that we shouldn't miss out on opportunities even though they don't seem like that big of a deal. I relate to this character more than I have to any other character, because I have missed out on a lot of adventures myself. From not going to parties or having boyfriends, but what I loved about this character is she couldn't ride and bike and I'm ashamed to admitted it, but I don't know how either!After one scratch on the knee I was done...But maybe I'll give another try, because it's never too late.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Along for the Ride" by Sarah Dessen is about a girl named Auden who never had a real childhood. She always thought that her parents didn't have time to deal with her. Her mom is focused all on schoolwork, and makes sure that Auden always has the best grades. Her dad only cares about work and himself. The two differences in her parents caused a divorce, which Auden pretends she does not care about. Auden also never had any real friends. This all changes when she goes to visit her dad and his new wife and baby in a small beach town the summer before college. She finds a new job, new friends, and a romance. One of her new friends, Maggie, amazes Auden by how she is completely her own person. Also, Eli, a former bike star who was in an accident, helps Auden get back her childhood and do everything that she never could. This book has a very unique story. The characters are realistic and interesting. The setting is beautiful and has a warm feel to it. Also, the book has a specific plot and soulution. Definitely a teenage story. The only problem with this book is that the story line is very prdictable. Even though the story is unique, the reader is never very surprised. Tyler
theReader278 More than 1 year ago
Loved this one!
Book-Lover6 More than 1 year ago
This was the first book that I have read by Sarah Dessen and it wont be my last. The characters were colorful and unforgetable and the plot keeps you wanting to read more and more. I recommend it for a relaxing read. It will keep your attention!
JustAnotherRead More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing just as her others are. It's about a girl Auden who is such a academic freak. Her parents divorce and she spends her sleepless nights alone. She then goes to live with her dad for the summer, and surprisingly to her she has a good time and finds new scary yet exciting experiences during her summer. New friends, and feelings. Sarah did it again! I highly recommend this book to all of you who like a good teen/YA novel. I actually recommend all of her books!! Especially "Just Listen", "Lock and Key", and "This Lullaby".
pupdog96 More than 1 year ago
Sarah Dessen is an amazing author! I've only read one other book by her and I loved it! Then after reading this book, I thought they tied. I love how I could imagine myself as the main character. Sarah Dessen makes you feel like your actually there as the character. Also, you can smell all of the smells and hear all of the sounds! They only bad thing about this book is that they haven't made a movie. I hope the make a movie. If you are a girl looking for a good summer romance book, this is a great choice. Buy it, check it out at a library, or borrow it from a friend... But you don't want to miss out on all the fun adventures you get to go through in this story! Get it!!!!!!
book_nerd0606 More than 1 year ago
Sarah Dessen is definitely my ALL TIME favorite author. This is definitely one of her best books yet. I just plain loved it. Don't stop reading it after the first two or three chapters. Just like every other Sarah Dessen book, it takes a while to get into it. But once you do, it's amazing. I totally loved it, staying out late with a guy you secretly like and running stupid errands, and doing stuff that you didn't get to do when you were a kid. Plus, finally finding some good girl friends to talk and hang out with. Oh my gosh, the end kept me on my seat the whole time wondering and wondering until i finally finished the book. Amazing. If you haven't yet, read this book. It will all be worth it in the end, I promise.
BakingQueen More than 1 year ago
Riding a bike is only one of the many things Auden's missed out on. Even before her parents divorce, she was cast in the role of little adult, never making waves, focusing on academics to please her demanding mother. Now she's spending the summer before college in the tiny town of Colby with her father and his new wife and baby. A job at the town's trendiest boutique gets Auden in touch with all the gossip. She feels out of place and lonely, especially at night when she hangs around at the local diner and convenience store. Then Auden meets Eli. During the time they spend together they embark on a quest. A quest to save Auden's childhood.
starrysky13 More than 1 year ago
I love Sarah Dessen. Ever since The Truth About Forever, I have loved her. I was not thrilled with Lock & Key but was amazed once again with Along for the Ride. I love how she intertwines her other stories without confusing anyone who hasn't read them. These characters are not only realistic, but relatable. I could not put this book down! It's a definite must-read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh...my God. Omigod omigod omigod omigod omigod. TALK ABOUT THE BEST BOOK EVER!!!! This got hooked from the first sentence. The way Auden changes over the summer is just amazing, and so sweet. Auden is the perfect duaghter for her mother, a straight-A student who has never even THOUGHT of doing anything reckless in her life. And when she goes to her dad's (the selfish writer) and his new wife, Heidi's (and baby Thisbe's, of course), house, she expects, and plans, to keep it thay way. But along with being such an obedient, cooperative child all her life, there are quite a few childhood experiences that Auden has never been able to experience. Like, for instance, riding a bike. Which is really a big thing in that area of Colby along the beach. After Auden organizes some of Heidi's...money...stuff...I guess...Heidi offers her a job at her REALLY pink, really girly botique Clementine's. Auden excepts the offer, and goes to work there, organizing more...money...stuff. (I'm sorry, I'm 11, and I really do not remember what it was called :P) Working at the botique, we have girly-girls Leah, Esther, and, most of all, Maggie. And then there's Eli, a hot guy who works at the bike shop just down the street... Auden, after spending the summer with these three crazy girls and that special boy, changes, and realizes all of the childhood experiences that she's missed...and that it's not too late to try them out. TEN FREAKING STARS for this amazing novel by Sarah Dessen. She has done it again, and I cannot wait to read more of her amazing literature.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read about 5 Sarah Dessen books, all in the past year. Each time I finish one I think "Wow. That one just might be my favorite." Then I recall the previous ones and can honestly say that I can't choose a favorite! I love them all so much. Every time I read one I would look at the dwindling amount of pages left to read and be like 'gosh, I need to read slower' just to get wrapped in even more! Then I'd finish the book and be sooo sad that it had to end! The characters are so relatable and i just get so attatched! And the boys.... if only all boys could be like the ones in Sarah's books. You just can't go wrong!!
ehanog More than 1 year ago
Yet another winner. If you're not reading Sarah Dessen you should be. Every single one of her books has insanely relatable characters, whether you've been where they are in their lives or not. This story does not disappoint, Auden's struggles with family, friends, and boys are totally relateable if you've ever been a teen girl. As someone who doesn't sleep much, reading this book was like an entrance into a world of the unknown, and totally inspired me to go out there and discover the hidden late night adventures my own town has to offer. Unfortunately I discovered that there isn't much of one, but reading this book totally makes you want to discover the things that go on after hours, while everyone's asleep. Auden is my favorite Sarah Dessen character, I totally related to everything that she went to and I think that pretty much everyone else would too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen reminds me why I love the wonderful Sarah Dessen. True it's the same "formula" but it's the "elements" added that make Along for the Ride great. Okay fine the heroine's in her stories always have a problem and they discover their solution in some way towards the end but the problems differ entirely. None of her stories are the same. Her way of writing engages you into the story and its characters With Auden I find myself feeling like I know her and have been her. There is this naive or an almost childlike feeling to Auden that makes me relate to her, she's new to everything so to say. But give her a book to read or an essay to write and she can do those kinds of things. Academics define Auden. She never really related to girls her age, never had any real friends, but that all changes the summer she decided to stay with her father, his new wife, and newborn sister. Personally I think that the reason she "recycles" characters is because it's kind of an Easter egg for the long time readers. But if you're new to her stories then you don't miss anything. Also the message isn't only that you can't judge someone by their appearance. But something much more than that, such as if you're given a second chance then do something and don't let that chance pass by we shouldn't take them for granted. And secondly that people don't always stay the same but do in fact change; not always but there are those rare occasions. Auden learns this in one summer that will be known to her as: "The Best of Times."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book, especially around the 100th page or so. Although it was predictable, it still made me connect with the characters and it kept me in suspense -well, most of the time. The only things I did not enjoy was the predictability and the lack of drama. I, for one, really enjoy a dramatic book with several high and low emotional points and this had more of a steady vibe.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One word: amazing!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was pretty good I read it on a week One of her best
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
See I have never really liked reading Sarah Dessens books but this was the turning point in my (reading) life. I<3ed this book and sorry 4 going on and on. Just to recap loved this book would read it like um 50000000000 times! Peace Love Joy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is seriously the best book i have ever read. I read it in 2 days, i couldnt put it down. It was amazing, i would read it over and over again. I suggest this book, its a great teen love story, being able to try new things with new people and not being afraid to in love. Love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I Could not put this book down! It puts you in a girls head who has been through alot,Its amazingly written,and shows ALOT of emotion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Auden is at her dads house for the summer along with her new baby sister Thisbe, and her new stepmom, Heidi. She meets Eli and immediatly they both have the same thing in common......staying up late. They go out every night together and eli helps auden complete her quest.....she didnt have the normal childhood. Auden finds out that in life you just have to get back on the bike;)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sarah is very good author!! I almost read all of her books!!
forever-a-dreamer More than 1 year ago
If you've read other books by this author then it's not an exciting read, it's just the same thing you've read before with different characters. I have yet to read one of her books where the main character has two parents that are still together...in lock and key Ruby's mom took off as did her dad, in this lullaby remy's dad took off then died, in the truth about forever the dad died, and in along for the ride the parents are divorced. Not every family is split up and quite frankly I'd like to read about one that's still together in one of her books. Also there's never an interesting reason for the angst with the girl and boy in the books, it's always the girl getting scared and running off. If you read one of Sarah's stories it's good but I feel like if you've read one of them, you don't have to read any others to know what's going to happen next.
Awesomeness1 More than 1 year ago
First thing first: I love Sarah Dessen. She is a remarkable YA author, and writes with a distinct style and her books have substance. More than I can say for some other YA writer's out there. (I do NOT have a specific vampire novelist in mind...) Anyway, Sarah Dessen is dependable. Her work is always something I can come back to after a literary dry spell. That being said, this book in particular wasn't my favorite. I had a feeling it wasn't going to be, which is why I was in no rush to read it. I waited for it to come to me...and then it was time. It's about Auden, a girl having the summer of her life before going off to college in the fall. Auden is a studious girl, her parents always have valued academics over fun, so much that Auden never got the childhood she deserved. While she is staying with her father's new wife and baby for the summer in a quiet beach town, she meets Eli-- a fellow insomniac and a former BMX-er (yes, that's a word) with some issued. Together, they just might be what the other one needs. The characters, with the exception of Eli, were awesome. It has always amazed me how Sarah can give each character such a specific personality. They are complex, flawed, likable, and fun. And they all have their issues. But then there was Eli....him and me just never hit it off, okay? Auden was a little predictable, but hey, aren't they all? (Props for using a quote from the book) The writing was good. There were many moments of what I call "quotable material". Although sometimes, Auden's thoughts would jump from the past to the present, and the transistion wasn't always smooth. One moment she will be working, the next spent with Eli, then it will go back to her working. My easily-confused brain took a while to figure that out. But *sigh* the plot....Sarah, can't we spice it up a little? This is coming from a long-devoted fan. Sure, this book is awesome to a girl who hasn't read the same thing five times before, but that's not me. I'm sure if you read more than one Sarah Dessen book, you know the formula. Girl with personal issues does something out of character, leading to new experiences, new quirky friends, and of course, a sweet sensitive guy with issues of his own. She grows and develops as a person for while until something bad happens that sends her back into her little hole. Then she reaches some epiphany and everything is all happy again. One thing I loved was all the little Easter eggs hidden through-out. We get returning characters from Keeping the Moon and The Truth about Forever, which are my two favorites. I love cameo appearances. They make my soul happy. Anyway, did I like it? Yes, I did become absorbed. Was it my favorite? No. Oh and I have a rating clarification. I would give it 3.5 stars if it was possible. It feels like more than a three, but giving it a four seemed too misleading.
acsimps More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. I didn't really know what to expect since it was my first Sarah Dessen book. Auden and Eli were a great contrast and made for an interesting romance. I found myself annoyed with Auden a little for being so stand offish to everyone but I guess that was part of her character flaws she was meant to overcome. I think that I will pick up another Dessen book soon..maybe "Just listen".
angelreader94 More than 1 year ago
Dessen has some of the best books and this is one of my favorites. I pre-ordered it and the day I got it I didn't know what to expect. I got this book the morning it came out and couldn't even put it down. The story just makes you think about what life can really be like. This was the first Dessen book I read. I automatically fell for the characters. Thy all struggle in their own ways. Like I said, amazing.