Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sarah Dessen Week: "Along for the Ride"

Of all that I have read from the young adult genre, Sarah Dessen's books have been by far some of the best books I have ever read. You can't go wrong with Sarah Dessen. Ever. She is one of the most foolproof authors I have ever read because her writing is beautiful and she creates strong characters with her their own individual voices.

So that's why this week is going to be Sarah Dessen week on OfficiallyMRS.

I am doing this in honor of Sarah's newest book, "Along for the Ride," which if I do say so myself, is one of her best.

This is what Sarah says on her website about the book:

"Along for the Ride"
In Sarah's Words
A lot of people were surprised when it was announced that I’d have a
new book coming out in Summer 2009, only a year after my last novel, Lock and Key. I can relate. It was kind of a shock to me, as well.
I wrote Lock and Key while I was pregnant, and edited it in the last few months before my daughter was born. Writing and editing is never that easy for me, and when you factor in the hormones and all the other fun stuff that comes along with carrying a baby, it was quite a wild ride. Suffice to say, I was more than ready to take a big, long break from writing to focus on being a mom. Or so I thought.

About three months after she was born, though, this idea started to
come to me, bubbling up in my sleep-deprived mind. I was up at all hours, feeding the baby, trying to sleep or trying to stay awake, and it got me thinking about the night, and how it can seem so long or so short, depending on what you have waiting for you in the morning. I’d look out my window at three or four a.m.—times I was never coherent before motherhood—see a light on in the distance, and wonder who else was up, and why. There was a whole other world at night, one I’d been completely unaware of, and it made me start thinking about the people who chose to live in it, and how they found themselves there. That’s where Auden’s story began.

Some books are incredibly hard to write. Most are, actually. But this one, for me, was a little escape once in a while, and I was more grateful for it than I expected. I wrote Along for the Ride in my daughter’s room, while she slept downstairs, and in the guestroom, while she babbled to the babysitter. I stole half hours here, afternoons there, taking what I could get and using it to get more, and then more, on the page. And when I got stuck, I’d often look out the window and see one of my husband’s friends go zooming by on a bike, taking flight on one of the dirt jumps in my backyard. It was a crazy and chaotic way to write a book, and not at all the kind of structured, methodical approach I’d always used before. And you know what? Somehow, it just worked.So I might be surprised to find myself here, with a new novel, so soon after the last one. But more than anything, I am grateful. This is the story I was clearly ready to tell. I can’t wait for you to hear it.

I personally adored this book. The characters in it were interesting and fun, people whom I could relate to, point to in my everyday life and say "that's Maggie" or "that's Auden." "That's Eli" "That's Adam."

That's just the joy of reading Sarah Dessen's books. You meet people whom you "know" or can sympathize with and get to see how they deal with their issues, either ones that you've never faced or you handled in a different way. The concepts of friendship, hard work and so forth are all things that teenagers go through in their everyday lives.

As a kid who never really did learn to ride a bike (or at least not well) and grew up at adult cocktail parties (I am the youngest of my first cousins by about ten years), this book especially struck a chord with me. The story focuses on the fact that Auden, the narrator, never really did have a childhood, with kickball and food fights, friends, boyfriends, drama, ect. She just had books, and her schoolwork, as both of her parents are college professors. Auden goes to live with her father (her parents are divorced) and his new wife and baby in Colby, South Carolina (a town that many of Sarah Dessen's books take place in, allowing you to meet characters from her other books, such as "Keeping the Moon"). Auden meets Eli, a fellow amnesiac, and together they go night by night to give Auden a second chance at the childhood she never had. Here is the short synopsis of the book from Borders (no spoilers):

Following her parents' bitter divorce, Auden has the chance to spend the summer with her dad and his new family in a charming beach town. There she meets Eli, and together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree life she's been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a

This is a wonderful book and one of my favorites (third on the list, if we are being exact) of Sarah's. It is currently Number 1 on the NY Times Bestseller List!! Congrats Sarah on such a wonderful book!

To learn more about Sarah and her books go to , or keep coming back to OfficiallyMRS every day this week to read more reviews of Sarah's books.
More (Sarah Dessen) to come,


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