Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Along for the Ride

Next to Beverly Cleary's Fifteen and Melissa Kantor's Girlfriend Material, Sarah Dessen's Along for the Ride is about the sweetest and saddest romance I have read. Not sad, just... that's the way life is. Things are difficult for Auden-- her parents fought for years before divorcing, and her mother is controlling and supercilious. Her social life has never been comfortable. She can't sleep. When her father's new young wife has a baby, she decides to spend summer with them to get away from everything that she was. While this is somewhat successful, she also has to watch her father repeat all of the mistakes he made with her mother. She does make girl friends for the first time, and has a sweet, if rocky, relationship with a troubled boy. I bought this book without reading it, since Dessen's last book, Lock and Key was so fabulous. Dessen improves with every book. I can't wait for the next one.

I tend not to read nonfiction before I buy it, but perhaps I should start. While the following titles to support our 7th grade social studies curriculum were okay, I wasn't completely happy with them. First were Rourke Publishing Warriors Illustrated History: Gladiators and Spartans. These were cheesy, and very light on the text. I also had issue with naming Spartan warriors Plato and Aristotle; even though a footnote says they were common names, it just seemed odd. (And I'm not sure that Lucas and Flavio were ancient Roman names; Flavius, certainly.)

Also a little uneven were Marshall Cavendish's Ancient and Medieval People: The Roman Gladiators and The Spartan Hoplites. More information in these, but they again felt as if they were dashed off in an afternoon after consulting Wikipedia for details. Remember, as a former Latin teacher, I am very exacting. Let's leave all the ancient Greece and Rome writing to Don Nardo, shall we? He is the absolute best when it comes to these topics.


  1. Love, love, love Sarah Dessen! I made a poster for Along for the Ride - I'll email it to you if you want it. Printed it at Costco in 20x30 for only $10! I'm hoping to meet her at AASL. Are you going? I'd love to meet you, too!

  2. I had not heard of Beverly Cleary's Fifteen before now. I'll have to look out for that.