Along for the Ride Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 33 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Along for the Ride.
This section contains 459 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Along for the Ride Summary & Study Guide Description

Along for the Ride Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen.

Sarah Dessen's novel Along for the Ride follows Auden West through the summer before she begins college. Auden has agreed to spend the summer at her father's beachfront home in the tiny town of Colby. Auden is hesitant at first because the extended visit means sharing a living space with her father's young wife, Heidi and the couple's newborn daughter, Thisbe. Auden's parents divorced several years ago and she is still smarting from it. Victoria West, Auden's mother, is a beautiful, successful woman with a sharp tongue and an intellect to match. Her father, Robert West, is a rather nondescript man who is unable to set aside his own needs to help his wife care for a newborn. Auden's younger brother Hollis is her complete opposite. Hollis is something of a charming slacker and the apple of Victoria's eye. When the novel opens, Hollis is backpacking across Europe, mooching money from his mother from thousands of miles away. Meanwhile, Auden gives in to her insomnia. Neither of her parents seem to notice that their daughter sleeps through the day and spends her nights reading and studying in local all-night coffee shops. Auden considers herself to be unusual until she meets someone with the same problem.

Auden is educated at a private school and highly motivated to achieve. She admits to being smarter than the average 18=year-old but her trip to Colby opens the character's eyes about who she has become. Auden does not have much experience socializing with other young people. This is a direct result of Auden's obsession with grades and school and her innate awkwardness. Through a series of experiential hiccups, Auden comes face to face with her fears and failings. First, she has an uncomfortable encounter with someone else's boyfriend shortly after arriving in Colby. Then, when she gets a glimpse of what her father's new life is really like, Auden is more than happy to take a job at a small boutique. Her father's wife, Heidi, happens to be the owner of Clementine's. Her small victory is short-lived, however, when Auden finds out that she is working with the young man's girlfriend. Things eventually turn around for Auden. She subsequently wins the day and the night.

Auden's summer in Colby is spent working in the boutique and learning about life and its inconsistencies. Auden narrates her own story of self-discovery and resolution of things past. Life can be complicated no matter what age you are. The characters in Along for the Ride represent distinct stages of life and ways of being. Auden navigates friendships and family as best she can. By the end of her summer in Colby, Auden learns that sometimes being totally in control is not necessarily a good way to be.

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This section contains 459 words
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