"You know, if you don't know how to ride a bike, it's nothing to be ashamed of," Eli said.
"I can ride a bike," I said, "I just... haven't had the opportunity in a while."
She did it again. Sarah Dessen gives us the pleasure of slipping into the world of Lakeview and Colby this summer. And only a year after the release of her previous book, Lock and Key. Impressive. She writes the story of Auden, who, among other things, is on a quest to experience what most people do in childhood. Riding a bike, for example. And, of course, just as on any journey, there were characters that encouraged Auden, and others that brought her down. We watch Auden struggle to stay on the bike- literally and figuratively- as she spends her last summer before college finding herself.
I read this book in less than twenty-four hours. Usually, I spread books out over a few days, trying to savor them. To get into the pacing of the book, learn the characters- just sort of settle in. For me, it was impossible to put Along for the Ride in that category. I felt the story pulling away from whatever I was doing, whether it was laundry or eating lunch. The fact is, Sarah Dessen writes a darn good book. Every element is there- humor, emotion, heartbreak, happiness, let-downs. Reading one of her books is like peering into someone’s life- it’s incredibly realistic. Sarah has a knack for dialogue as well; everything said sounds like the conversations you would have with a parent, friend, or acquaintance. In short, read it- if you don’t, you’re missing out.
There is this little twinge in the back of my mind, though. After closing the cover, feeling satisfied and at the height of my ‘Dessen high,’ I couldn’t help but wonder…will Sarah one day write a book that doesn’t end with a neatly tied bow? Don’t get me wrong, I love a good happy ending. Anyone who loves fairy tales agrees with me. But, I feel like I’ve read this novel before, only with a different cast of characters. I’ll be a dedicated Dessen fan for as long as she’s writing, but the day she publishes a book that concludes with a few loose ends and a couple of T’s left uncrossed, you’ll find the gladdest reader in the world doing a happy dance around her room. :)