Dessen, Sarah. Along for the Ride. New York: Viking, 2009. Print.
2010 ALA Teens’ Top Ten
#1 New York Times Bestseller
Auden decides to spend the summer before her freshman year of college at her dad’s beach house with her step mom and the new baby. She expects to use the time to prepare for the upcoming semester, but instead starts to learn the value of having fun, having friends and having a boyfriend.
Auden is serious about school, she’s serious about pleasing her parents and she’s serious about using the summer to prepare for her freshman year at college. That’s why Auden surprises everyone by agreeing to spend the summer at her father’s beach house with her step mom and their new baby. She plans on spending most of her time studying for the upcoming semester, but once in Colby Auden finds herself getting pulled into new experiences.
Having missed out on social events while in high school and also having been afraid to disappoint her mother who’s a professor, Auden finally starts to learn over the course of the summer how important it is to have friends…and to fail sometimes, just as long as you get back on the bike. She also finds herself on a quest to make up for her lost childhood and begins doing all the fun things she never had time for before – bowling, having a paper route, starting food fights and, of course, riding a bike. It’s Eli, a champion bike rider, who is teaching her all of these new skills and it’s only when spending time with him that Auden begins to understand how important it is to enjoy life and to go along for the ride.
*Elle (16 years old) inspired me to read this book; she is an avid fan of the author and thinks "Sarah Dessen's books are great". She also loves that Auden spends the summer at the beach "having fun and learning new things...even when she's scared", including how to ride a bicycle. "Everyone loves the beach" she adds, pointing out how almost everyone can relate to Auden's experience.*
Image credit: http://sarahdessen.com/book/along-for-the-ride/