Along for the Ride, Sarah Dessen

The first book I finished for my book-a-day challenge over break was Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen. I feel quite accomplished having finished this book first, as it is absolutely the longest title on my list. (If I were one of my students, this would count for two books)

Ms. Dessen’s books are always incredibly popular choices among my middle school girls. By the end of the school year, I always have at least one less Dessen book on my shelf, mysteriously enough.

Along for the Ride delivers just as well as her other books. Auden, a recent high-school graduate decides to spend the summer with her father, his new wife, and her new infant sister on the coast, in the small town of Colby. A nocturnal girl, Auden finds a friend in Eli, a “local boy” with issues of his own. Dessen’s characters always have some issues to work through, but they’re always vulnerable enough that as a reader, I want them to succeed and grow.

One thing I love about this story is Auden’s relationship with her step-mother. It’s a good relationship. There’s no wicked-step-mother-vibe and their relationship grows in a healthy way. It’s refreshing.

I liked it, but I like all of Sarah Dessen’s works.

Now I’m off to finish my next book!

The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls

I finished up this book last week, but couldn’t get to my review until today. Adrienne’s injured, and so her summer plans have gone from an exciting canoe trip into Canada, to a summer lying by the pool and doing water therapy on her knee. Her mother is having none of this, and ropes Adrienne into a mother-daughter book club with four other girls stuck in town for the summer as well.

It’s a mis-matched group, and hijinks ensue. Though hijinks probably isn’t the right word, as it’s not a funny book, but it does move along at a good pace. Dipping in and out of subjects such as family, friends, popularity, this story draws parallels from some literature classics such as “The Awakening” and “The Left Side of Darkness”. The book ends quicker than I’d have liked, not really solving anything, but just moving on into the end of summer. It’s a wee bit abrupt for my taste (much like my blog posts, I suppose).The character development is a bit lacking, and teh tragedy is sudden, and kind of an afterthought.

Overall 2 out of 5 stars.

From the publisher: I’m Adrienne Haus, survivor of a mother-daughter book club. Most of us didn’t want to join. My mother signed me up because I was stuck at home all summer, with my knee in a brace. CeeCee’s parents forced her to join after cancelling her Paris trip because she bashed up their car. The members of “The Unbearable Book Club,” CeeCee, Jill, Wallis, and I, were all going into eleventh grade A.P. English. But we weren’t friends. We were literary prisoners, sweating, reading classics, and hanging out at the pool. If you want to find out how membership in a book club can end up with a person being dead, you can probably look us up under motherdaughter literary catastrophe. Or open this book and read my essay, which I’ll turn in when I go back to school.

*I received a copy of this book for review purposes free of charge from the pubisher via netgalley.com. All opinions are my own.