Reading Sarah Dessen is like walking into an air-conditioned store after a hot, humid day in the sun. Reading Sarah Dessen is also like drinking an ice-cold smoothie after a long, harsh marathon. And finally, reading Sarah Dessen is like eating comfort food: you always know what you're going to get, a tasty, satisfying treat.
Auden has just finished her senior year and looks forward to spending the summer like she usually does: staying home and studying, while occasionally attending the parties hosted by her mom for her grad students. However, instead of following routine like she usually does, Auden decides to spend the summer at the attractive beach town where her dad and his new family reside. There, she meets her half-sister, Thisbe, as well as her first group of real friends. But the most alluring thing about the town is Eli: an ambiguous, secretive young man who is an insomniac, just like Auden. Late at night, they explore the childhood Auden never had - they get to know each other, and open up from what has restricted them in the past.
4.5 stars. I really love Sarah Dessen's writing. Previously stated by my plethora of similes in the first paragraph, it's just a comfort to be able to read her work. The strongest aspect of Dessen's novels are her characters. They are perfectly written - nuanced, flawed, yet so extremely likable and fleshed out. There's something that readers can relate to in every character: whether it be the driven determination of Auden's mom, or the insecurity Auden has with failing, etc.
The only reason Along for the Ride
didn't receive the full five stars is because I felt there was something missing: there wasn't the extra punch Dessen usually delivers in her books. I just wanted to make it clear that it's not because of how formulaic some find her books to be. I simply space out the time between her novels, so I don't feel like I'm reading the same story over and over.
Overall, very good. I'm already looking forward to reading another book by Sarah Dessen.
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