Along For The Ride
Current cover
Author Sarah Dessen
Publication date June 2009
Published by Viking Children’s Books
Publication Order
Preceded by
Lock and Key
Followed by
What Happened To Goodbye
Along for the Ride is the ninth book written by Sarah Dessen.

Summary Edit

Auden is an 18 year old insomniac and child of divorce whose night owl tendencies began when her parents were beginning to separate and would fight at night. When she goes to visit her father's new family in the beach town of Colby for the summer, Auden finds herself in a whole new world. She meets Eli, a mysterious boy with a tragic past.

Plot Edit

Chapter One Edit

Auden West lives with her mom, Victoria West. Auden is a great student at Kiffney-Brown, always focusing on her academics instead of a social life. Jason Talbot asks her to their senior prom, but blows her off last minute for an ecology conference. Due to the fighting during her parents' divorce, Auden became a night owl and would often stay up incredibly late at night.

In present time, Victoria, a college professor, hosts parties for her graduate students at their home, causing Auden to often slip out of the house and drive around at night before heading to Ray's Diner to spend the night time.

Auden's dad, Robert, calls Auden before her high school graduation and tells her that his new wife Heidi had given birth to a baby girl named Thisbe Caroline West and that he will not be able to make it to her graduation. This doesn't surprise Victoria who is often looking down at her ex husband and his new family. At the end of this conversation, Victoria tells Auden to reconsider the Faulkner quote she was including in her graduation speech.

Auden's carefree older brother Hollis is traveling across Europe at the expense of their parents, who are under the impression that he is learning life skills and culture while abroad. He sends one of the girls he had been met in Greece and was casually seeing to deliver a graduation present to Auden: a picture frame from a market in Greece that said "The Best of Times" containing a picture of Hollis in it. This causes Auden to think about making a change, prompting her to visit her father, Heidi and Thisbe for the summer at their house in Colby, North Carolina.

Chapter Two Edit

Auden arrives at her father's home in Colby to find a disgruntled Heidi in the living room with the baby, throwing Auden--who had been expecting Heidi's usually put together, bubbly self-- off. Auden's dad wakes the baby up and gives her to Heidi while telling Auden to go down to the restaurant, Last Chance, to pick up dinner for everyone while he finished writing for the day. Auden passes both Heidi's clothing store, Clementine's, as well as the Bike Shop on her way to get dinner.

Characters Edit

Auden West

Eli Stock

Victoria West



Robert West

Jake Stocke

Belissa Norwood

Hollis West

Isby West

Heidi West



Karen Stock

Where else did I read about that? Edit

Characters Edit

Lock and Key: Nate Cross

The Truth About Forever: Jason, Wes

Keeping The Moon: Colie, Morgan and Isabel

Places Edit

Jackson High: Dreamland, The Truth About Forever, Just Listen, and What Happened To Goodbye.

Perkins Day: Dreamland, The Truth About Forever, Just Listen, and Lock and Key.

Defriese University: Lock and Key and What Happened To Goodbye.

The U:

Last Chance Cafe: Keeping The Moon

Things Edit

Lock and Key:, Name of necklaces??

The Arbors: Auden lives with her mother in the same town that Ruby moved to in Lock and Key, where McLean later moves to in 'What Happened to Goodbye and where Annabel and Owen live in "Just Listen"

Heidi and Auden get necklaces with a studded key at the store. These are the necklaces from Lock and Key.

Sarah's Words from Sarahland Edit

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.

 Covers Edit

Cover Release Date Image
Original cover.Released in 2009.
Paperback cover.
Current cover.
Current cover


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