One thing I can say about the Nest Book Club board is that I've found a lot of wonderful ladies who share my love of books. Without these ladies, I would be missing out on a lot of fabulous books, especially those in the Young-Adult category. To kick-off my book review portion of this blog, I'll be starting with Sarah Dessen's Along for the Ride. This book was a really easy read but with all the Christmas traveling and visiting, it took me a full week to finish it. This was my fifth Dessen book I've read and it quickly became one of my favorites.
One of my favorite things about Sarah Dessen is that you meet and get to know her characters in their book but when you move on to another book you come across those characters you've come to love (or hate) as background characters and get to see what they're up to. Reading her books is like running into old friends you haven't seen for a while at the grocery store or a party.
Along for the Ride follows Auden West during her summer between graduating high school and becoming a college freshman. Auden doesn't plan on doing anything different during this summer but a spontaneous decision lands her in the beach town of Colby with her dad, step-mother, and their new baby.
When we first meet Auden she's a miniature version of her mother, not because that's who she is but because it just seems easiest for her. Growing up she was always a little adult and can't even remember whether she learned to ride a bike or not. Auden has always been told by her mother that people never change..using Auden's dad and brother Hollis as examples.
During her summer in Colby, Auden becomes closer with her step-mother Heidi and learns she's not just a vapid, pink loving, exclamation point loving woman. She also forms a bond with her baby step-sister Thisbe. As the summer progresses, Auden starts to transform, she's got a job, helps take care of Thisbe, and even more shocking is she's found friends. Even with a growing social life, Auden is still an insomniac and finds herself wandering around town at night when she meets Eli, another insomniac. They become friends and Eli takes it upon himself to help Auden do all the things she never did as a child and deems it her quest.
After spending time with Eli, Auden finds out from others something heartbreaking about Eli and up until he met her he wasn't socializing with anyone, which is a far cry from who he was a year ago. During her time spent with Eli and in Colby, Auden finds herself changing and realizes her mother really was wrong all along.
You can't help but relate to Auden and her transformation. She went from being her mother's carbon copy to blossoming into the person she was all along, just never having found the real her until her summer in Colby.