Sarah Dessen masterfully weaves romance and friendship through stories of young people struggling with modern-day issues. Her writing is believable and real, without superfluous drama or angst.
Some readers might feel every wound is stitched up a little too neatly in Along for the Ride, that no one can bounce back from problems this serious in the space of a summer, but for young readers, Dessen’s stories communicate hope in a brighter future and the belief that any problem can be solved. She tugs at the heartstrings just enough to evoke empathy without being maudlin.
I know several teen girls who are huge fans of Sarah Dessen, and I can certainly understand why. Dessen knows young people, and she gently helps them see a way out of life’s obstacles through communication and healthy relationships–all while telling a compelling story that appeals to a girl’s sense of romance. This is one author whose fan club I can heartily promote.
Profanity/Language: 51 religious exclamations; 4 mild obscenities; 8 derogatory names; 6 scatological words; 6 anatomical terms.
Violence/Gore: A character remembers a fatal car accident; characters sustain minor sport-related injuries with little blood.
Sex/Nudity: Implied sexual activity; characters engage in suggestive body movements while dancing (twice); characters kiss briefly (3 times).
Mature Subject Matter:
Divorce, family problems, death of a loved one.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Social drinking (adults under 21).