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Along for the Ride
Contributor(s): Dessen, Sarah
ISBN: 0142415561     ISBN-13: 9780142415566
Publisher: Speak
    OUR PRICE: $13.19  
Product Type: Paperback - Other Formats
Published: April 2011
Qty:
Annotation: When Auden goes to stay with her father, stepmother, and new baby sister the summer before she starts college, all the trauma of her parents' divorce is revived, even as she is making new friends and having fun new experiences.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Stepfamilies; Fiction.
Babies; Fiction.
Interpersonal relations; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: bl2011007995
Lexile Measure: 750
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 9.00" H x 6.00" W x 1.25" (0.95 lbs) 399 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 130118
Reading Level: 4.7   Interest Level: Upper Grades   Point Value: 15.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q46829
Reading Level: 5.6   Interest Level: Grades 6-8   Point Value: 23.0
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2009 #3)
Auden, the preternaturally mature daughter of two self-absorbed (and divorced) academics, is quiet, studious, and responsible. She's also never had a real friend, broken a rule, or gone on an adventure. Then, the summer before college, she accepts an invitation to stay with her father, her terminally perky stepmother Heidi, and her newborn half-sister Thisbe. Soon Auden is befriended by a trio of local girls who help her reconcile her mother's strict notions of feminism and intellectualism with her own desires for the future. She also forms a prickly alliance with Heidi, who, not nearly as vapid as Auden thought, shoulders the burdens of motherhood alone, since Auden's father helps out only when his own routine and sleep schedule are in no danger of disruption. Without judgment, Dessen explores the dynamics of an extended family headed by two opposing, flawed personalities, revealing their parental failures with wicked precision yet still managing to create real, even sympathetic characters. Though Auden's repressed upbringing is a less compelling hook than Just Listen's mysterious social shunning or Lock and Key's estranged sisters, Along for the Ride still provides the interpersonal intricacies fans expect from a Dessen plot. Rounding out her latest offering with richly depicted female friendships, Dessen offers up a summertime tale of self-discovery. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2009 April #4)

Studious good girl Auden, named for the poet, makes a snap decision to spend her summer before college at her father's beach house rather than with her mother, a professor whose bad habits include male grad students. Auden's parents divorced three years earlier, a split she's not yet over. Her remarried father has already produced another heir, a colicky baby named Thisbe (after a tragic figure from Shakespeare), with his young wife, Heidi, who owns a boutique. Feeling sympathy for stressed-out Heidi, Auden agrees to do the shop's bookkeeping, providing her with an instant social circle—the teenage clerks plus the boys from the neighboring bike rental, including hunky, wounded Eli. Both night owls, Auden and Eli bond when he coaxes her to experience childhood activities—bowling, food fights, learning to ride a bike—that her insufferable parents never bothered to provide. Auden's thoughtful observations make for enjoyable reading—this is solid if not "top shelf" Dessen: another summer of transformation in which the heroine learns that growing up means "propelling yourself forward, into whatever lies ahead, one turn of the wheel at a time." Ages 12–up. (June)

[Page 132]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2009 June)

Gr 8 Up—It's the summer before college and Auden goes to her father's house in the small coastal town of Colby for some well-earned R&R. Having no plans other than to preread textbooks for her first-semester classes at Defriese University, the would-be bookworm's solitude is quickly disrupted by Thisbe, her colicky new half sister. Strolling the boardwalk with a fussy baby and late night coffee runs at the Gas/Gro lead to chance encounters with the locals, whose main pastime revolves around Colby's bike park. Auden's curiosity is piqued by Eli, a bike-shop worker whose reserved, solitary nature seems to match her own. Her social sphere widens when Heidi, her sleep-deprived stepmom, asks for some bookkeeping help in her fashion boutique, and Auden is drawn into the circle of girls who work and hang out there, including Maggie, the clerk also bound for Defriese in September, and sidekicks Leah and Esther. Auden joins in on evening rituals of "store-going," eating junk food, and house parties while keeping her budding relationship with Eli to herself. Even Dessen's minor characters are multifaceted and interesting. Readers will be most absorbed by Auden and Eli's romantic friendship, the type soul mates are born of, played out in the bike shop, Colby's all-night Laundromat, and coffee shops. This summer vacation-themed story will be savored.—Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY

[Page 120]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.