Review: Along For the Ride

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…

This was a great story of character development, which I see a lot of in Dessen’s books. At the beginning of the novel, Auden is very reclusive and all about making sure she’s her parents’ perfect child, as her older brother is more of a free spirit. After she gets a gift from her brother, she gets the urge to do something for herself for once, so she ends up spending the summer in Colby with her dad, step-mom, and new baby sister.

As the summer goes on, Auden breaks out of her shell a bit, after meeting the girls who work for her stepmom, Heidi, and the brooding night-owl, Eli. Between the four, Auden gets to experience almost everything she never did in high school, which was mainly socialization. I connected with Auden on this level because I’ve always been somewhat of a recluse with only a couple of friends, and I shy away from interacting with new people. This connection I had really made Auden feel real to me. I am her; she is me.

What I really enjoyed about this book was that the characters all had layers. No one was who they really seemed when Auden got to know them (except for Jake, he was a tool). Maggie and Heidi were two characters that I was sure I’d hate, but Maggie ended up really surprising me in a good way, and I ended up feeling for Heidi and her struggle with a newborn and distant husband. Auden also changed her perspective of her step-mom after witnessing firsthand how her father only cared about his writing and not his marriage or newborn daughter. Heidi was a well-rounded character and I was glad she got the rarely seen “step-mom redemption” in this book.

Concerning Auden and Eli’s friendship/budding relationship, I felt like there wasn’t enough of it. They were totally adorable together, and did have their bumps, but I felt like we were ripped off with getting to know more of Eli. He’s still dealing with something from his past, and while it’s talked about, it just doesn’t seem like his vulnerability of the subject was shown enough. The way he went from an apparent hermit (according to Auden’s new friends) to being pretty much normal as soon as Auden came into town was a bit, eh, to me. I just really thought that, given the synopsis, we’d get more of Eli.

Still, I loved Auden and Eli’s nighttime adventures. There were a lot of cool things that Auden got to see thanks to Eli, and he really understood her “not being able to sleep at night” thing. I thought that was a great aspect to these characters – that they had this night-life that no one knew about. They didn’t get into trouble or do any illegal… they just can’t sleep at night, so they make the most of it.

In any case, I really enjoyed reading this book. It was a book that actually helped me to relax after a long day and I looked forward to reading it each day. I only ever got frustrated with Auden’s parents, who were just cringe-worthy for most of the book, but other than that… it was a good read.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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