Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Summary (from Goodreads): It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.
A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.
My review: Once again, Sarah Dessen has left me amazed by her writing. Along for the Ride was a beautiful read, full of emotions and gorgeous descriptions.
One of my favourite things about the book was Auden's nighttime habits. I didn't think that staying up all night then sleeping until mid-afternoon the next day was so strange, especially considering what sort of life she had up until that point. It just made a lot of sense for her, it was like an escape from everything else she has ever known.
Eli was also a very interesting character. I liked the interesting way that he handled the death of his friends; appearing quiet and not very willing to talk, but deep down, he wanted to still chat with his friends, but it was his way of punishing himself. It was quite intriguing that he hadn't actually given up on biking, he just chose to do it when no one would see him. I loved that eventually, after knowing Auden, he went back out there to the biking competitions.
Another one of my favourite things was how Auden's relationship with her mother and her stepmother began to change. With her mother, Auden started to break off from her hold a bit more, changing, even though her mom was always saying that people never change. In the beginning, with Heidi, Auden's stepmother, Auden didn't like her very much. She was too exuberant all the time, and very girly. As Auden is staying with her, though, I could see her beginning to adapt to those ways.
Sarah Dessen is one of my favourite authors, and I suggest anyone with a love of contemporary fiction to go and get one of her books and start reading!