Sarah Dessen has done it once again. She has wowed me with her beautiful tales of summer. I absolutely loved Keeping the Moon and That Summer was okay, but Along for the Ride is probably my favorite one of her summer books. This book perfectly captured the carefree nature of summer along with how much a few months can change a person. Change mixed with summer always makes for an interesting read. The plot did seem a little loose to me, but I did enjoy this book to be just a character, emotion heavy book rather than a detailed, fixated plot. My only complaint about this book is something that I noticed about the dialogue. Almost every single character in every single conversation says "Really." Not even a "Really?" but a "Really." Every single conversation, I'm not even kidding. I didn't even know that people said really as a statement. If only one person said it I'd have no issue, but everyone said it. Now I realize how much one of my friends says "Really" and everytime I hear it I have a sudden urge to punch a wall. Really.
The characters did not make me grind my teeth together as much as their words did. Auden is an amazing narrator. Sure, most kids aren't as sheltered as her, but it was believable to me. Auden has spent her life trying to get her mother's attention by getting stellar grades. She gave up her childhood and never even had the rite of passage of a child to learn how to ride a bike. It may seem a little far-fetched, but I just found out that one of my friends missed out on riding a bike too. I really enjoyed reading from Auden's perspective and loved seeing her grow up and learn how to live. She is a really fun girl and I'm glad she finally found out who she really, truly is. Eli is a pretty sweet boyfriend. I like me a fellow insomniac. He had a lot of depth to his character and I liked learning about his past. All the other characters, including baby Thisbe, were amazing. Each of them brought something to the plot and really made this book come alive.
The ending the book was very simple, but I loved it. It was predictable, but I thought that it was the beginning of a changed, and improved, Auden. That alone made this ending beautiful and I really think all of the characters in this book grew up and changed by the ending. All in all, this is a character heavy book that will capture your heart and make you reflect on your summers.