Dear Sarah Dessen,
The relationship between your character Auden and her father in the book Along For the Ride reminds me of the relationship between me and my dad after he left. When I was in fourth grade my dad walked out on my mom, my brother, and me. He left to be with another girl and he started a family with her just like Auden's dad started a family with Heidi and Thisbe. I shared the same feelings towards my dad's new family as Auden did towards her dad's family. I never wanted to see my dad after he left and always made up excuses not to see him. He was never there for me just like Auden's dad wasn't really there for Auden. Neither came to school things that their daughter had. Neither were exactly there for us when we needed them the most in our life due to them living farther away. Auden's dad couldn't make it to things like her graduation and my dad never made it to things like softball games, concerts, or even things like conferences for school.
Another thing Auden and I have in common is that we have a hard time trusting our dad's after leaving. We both didn't really like our dad's after they left for the fear that they would hurt us again. For Auden that did happen when her dad and Heidi got into big fights and her dad ended up leaving and staying at a hotel. After a parent leaves it takes a long time to heal and trust them again. Even though they gain your trust back there is still a constant fear things hadn't changed and they will leave again. Just like Auden's mother says a person doesn't change my mom says once a cheater always a cheater.
Both Auden and I also see our dad's differently now. It isn't easy for either of us to talk to our dad's and we can't help to notice all the little flaws they have. Yet we still want to be alone and spend quality time with them. We can't open up to them easily due to being hard to trust them so we keep it short and sweet but still talk a little. I have noticed though at times that both Auden and I have a hard time finding things to talk to our dad's about. Yet we both still look up to our dad's because they are an authority figure. We both have seen that it all has been hard for our dad's with everything they have gone through and they are tying their best to be the best for their kids. I now see that after my dad left I hurt him by calling and screaming at him for leaving our family. I regret doing that and I think Auden started to regret not going to her dad's house after he left because once she g0t use to it she enjoyed her summer at Colby.
This connection I made between the book and my life really made it easier to get into it. I couldn't set the book down, when I would get to the end of a chapter I would tell myself after the next chapter I would be done but I kept telling myself that until the end of the book. When I got to the end I turned the page to a blank page and stared at it hoping the words would just show up and keep telling the story of Auden's life and romance with Eli.
The book was even easier to get into because I could see myself in Auden's shoes. We both are very similar yet very different. I, just like Auden, am very good at school. Except the fact she goes the extra mile in preparing for school. I, unlike Auden, have as people would say a normal teenage life. I go out and do things with friends and like to just hang out. Auden is the girl that would sit at home and study on a Friday night but I would go to a movie or go to a friends house. I liked reading about someone that had a different yet same type of living style. I also really liked how Auden didn't really know what to do when things "normal" teenagers did because she never got to do those things. This made the book funny. I felt bad for Auden though because she didn't have the opportunity to do "childhood/teenage" things like learning to ride her bike, or go bowling, or to just have fun.
After reading your book I realized I had to enjoy my teenage life while it's here. I never regret anything I have done unless it is something bad I did that should be regretted. I take every opportunity I have at having fun and never turn down doing something fun with friends to sit at home and do nothing. One message I got from your book was never hurt your friends. If you do something to make a friend mad they will forgive you sooner or later, if it wasn't that bad. Your friends will always be there through good times and bad. They are there to help you so you have to let them. Another message I got was always life your life to the fullest and laugh and have fun every chance you get.
I also realized relationships mighty get bumpy but you have to hold on tight. They are an important part in growing up and that you need to be smart with who you choose to go out with. Be with someone you can be real with. Be with someone you can tell all your secrets to without regretting it. Share things about yourself to the guy who can help or won't make fun of you about it. I learned to tell them anything, don't let there be secrets in the relationship because when the secrets come up it could ruin what you have. Altogether I learned from your book that relationship between yourself and boyfriends, or girlfriends, or any friend is important and they are the people that are there to help you so trust them and let them help. If you do let them help you there is a good possibility that you won't be let done because they will give you all the help you need if they are your true friends.