Sunday, June 14, 2009

Along for the Ride, by Sarah Dessen...available mid-June

I have feverishly read the new Sarah Dessen book since our lovely Penguin Rep sent me a copy (one of my absolute favourite perks of working at a bookstore). Along for the Ride will be available mid-June or so.
I spent the best parts of my own summers as a kid in a very small town and so I have a soft spot for fish-out-of-water stories set in beachy small towns. I am happy to see that Sarah has decided to set Along for the Ride in the same area as Keeping the Moon. Both evoke summers spent just hanging out, new loves, and a final summery goodbye dance (never really happens in reality, but it fits in my head the way the last dance of Johnny and Baby really feels like the end of summer). And that is, to me, Sarah Dessen’s forte; setting and, as an extension, character. Sarah builds this little world that you feel creeping up around you. You feel hugged by the setting (or as Anais Nin would constantly say, encorseled).
Sarah also does the female group dynamic very well. The teasing and the loyalty; the highschool-as-it-should-have-been. And I always have a crush on her certain type of leading man. Just Listen (I forget his name) had the same dark male who hides a tragic or painful past that can only be healed by the connection he gets from his leading lady. Very Harlequin, but with an emphasis on all relationships. Auden, our heroine, must navigate her ambiguous relationship with almost everyone in her family, it seems, from her semi-estranged father to her new baby step-sister. The result is a character study; interacting with new people around her one woman takes on almost imperceptible, but satisfying changes. And she gets the unreachable guy as a result.
So pick up Along for the Ride if you’re looking for playful romance with a strong grounding in realistic family drama, and the theme of the Quest. But set aside some time because Dessen novels make you read them in one sitting.

(I want to mention that I hate the cover. I truly do. Neither of the leading romantic characters are described as looking the way the picture suggests, and the bike is all off. The biking theme in the book is more bike park and less slow saccharine boardwalk meanders. Do not let the cover throw off your game...your reading game, I guess--go with me)



bjonkman said...

Funny. First thing I thought was "What a cool cover!"

Of course, I've not read any Sarah Dessen, and probably won't. My tastes run more toward Lawrence Block, Elmore Leonard and Donald Westlake. But that leaves me wide open to off-the-wall suggestions like "Gods Behaving Badly" and "King Dork", both of which I enjoyed greatly (thanx Dave!).


Anonymous said...

Ha! I like your response to the cover.
I don't think you would enjoy this book, though. :) Sarah Dessen really is for ladies. Only insofar as ladies would generate the most satisfaction from reading her books. It isn't a girls only club, but you probably wouldn't want to be invited if Leonard and Westlake are your speed.
King Dork is great and off-the-wall. Aything by John Green is equally great, hilarious, and with a little more gravitas than KD delivers.


Anonymous said...

I am not familar with this author but have now added this book to my to be read list which seems to grow faster than I can read. Thanks for the reviews and suggestions

kiirstin said...

I've been meaning to read something by Dessen for ages. Her books are really popular at our library, and everyone speaks so highly of her. They're not exactly down my usual reading path, which is an even better reason for trying something by her.

Paulina said...

I'm always on the lookout for books that both my teenage daughter and I will enjoy. I'll have to put this on my reading list.

Paulina said...

Just finished this book. Very enjoyable! I'll have to look for more Sarah Dessen. Thanks for the free book, and for introducing me to this author, Mandy.

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