My Bookshelf: Along for the Ride

along-for-the-ride-sarah-dessen-photo

Title: Along for the Ride

Author: Sarah Dessen

Genre: Young Adult/Romance

Amazon Summary:
“Nights have always been Auden’s time, her chance to escape everything that’s going on around her.

Then she meets Eli, a fellow insomniac, and he becomes her nocturnal tour guide.

Now, with an endless supply of summer nights between them, almost anything can happen. . . .”

Jeers:

  • If you’ve read a lot of Sarah Dessen’s books this is going to be exactly the same.
  • Auden’s dad was a huge asshole from start to finish and that wasn’t really taken care of or addressed properly.

Cheers:

  • It’s a nice light-hearted read.
  • The characters are unique and the detail in the story really brings things to life.
  • I’ve read this a bunch of times and I’m still not sick of it. I think Sarah Dessen does a really good job of writing books young girls can identify with.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes, if you like stories about teenage girls finding themselves. If you like one Sarah Dessen book you’ll probably like them all, but if you read too many you start to see how similar they all are. As long as you’re not looking for high-brow literature, you’ll be fine reading Along for the Ride.

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Along-Ride-Sarah-Dessen/dp/0142415561

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My Guilty Pleasure

I watch real estate shows. House Hunters, Property Brothers, Love It or List It… I love ’em. When I’m at my parent’s house, I’ll change the channel to HGTV and subject my whole family to housing shows, and my mom will sit there are yell at the woman on Love It or List It for never renovating everything she promised to.

But further than that, I go on Craigslist to look at apartments in Seattle or Montana. I go to realtor.com to look at houses near Pittsburgh that fit all my wishes (out of the way, big lot, woods on the property, fireplace) and waste hours looking at houses and planning how I’d renovate them. No, I am not in the market for a house. I’m in college and will have a legitimate reason to look at apartments in about 6 months, but not before then.

This is just a hobby completely unrelated to writing. Does anyone else share a similar hobby? Something silly just to pass the time?

How Writing Changes Over Time

I had to download Libre Office to be able to open all my old files to make this post for you guys. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything from when I just started writing, because that stuff was seriously horrible. Here is a sample (that I’m going to make up right now) of how my writing looked in 5th grade:

My name is Beth Raymone. I’m 13 and I have long black hair. I like to wear bangs that cover my eyes because I’m a goth. I walk to the bus stop in a MCR t-shirt and see my friend Becky.

“Hi Becky!” I said.

“Hi Beth! I think the bus will be late.” She said. She was wearing a purple hoodie and torn black jeans. She had on a blue beanie and rings on every finger. She was 14, one year older than me, but we’d been friends our whole lives because our moms had been friends in high school.

“Probably.” I said.

“Let’s just skip school today.” She said.

“Alright, what do you want to do?” I said.

“I just got this letter from my dad.” She said. Becky had never met her dad. He left her mom before she was born. “He’s in a hospital dying of cancer. We should go visit him.”

And so on. I assure you, it was even worse than that.

Here is something I wrote in high school:

Abby was sitting in the common room, reading one of her favorite books, when she heard some noise coming from the hallway where the boy’s bathroom was located. Being a prefect, she sighed and closed her book, getting ready to go and break up whatever fight was currently starting. Abby had been a prefect since her freshman year, and after four years, she knew what to expect.

“Come on Logan! Where’s your smart mouth now?” Abby recognized one of the biggest troublemakers in the school, Blaze, holding a smaller boy against the wall so that his feet only brushed against the carpeted hallway floor.

“Get off of me you-” the boy was cut off with a punch to his gut.

She sighed loudly and began tapping her foot to let Blaze and the other two boys know of her presence. “Really boys?” she asked without a trace of humor on her face.

“Oh look, its little Abby Fairfield, the perfect prefect,” Blaze laughed loudly.

“And look, it’s Blaze Smith, the obnoxious little mommy‘s boy who is always getting in trouble. Mommy won‘t be too pleased to hear of your latest misdeed,” she replied with a cocky grin as his friends laughed at him.

Blaze’s face went red and he dropped the smaller boy. “Shut up you- you stupid little girl! Just because nobody likes you doesn’t mean you have to take it out on me,” she laughed along with his friends at his weak retort. Abby was one of the most popular girls in the school, and he knew it.

“Is that why you always talk about how much you love her hair?” the boy to Blaze’s left laughed. “And how you moan her name in your sleep?”

Blaze punched him on the shoulder and cursed at him. “You shut up too,” the boy on his right chuckled so he hit him too.

“Now why don’t you boys run along and try to stay out of trouble?” she waved her hand at them, as if trying to get rid of a bad smell, and they turned and walked down the hallway while muttering at her under their breath.

*Dies*

But seriously, it’s good to look back at that kind of stuff and be able to see how much you’ve improved. He’s a sample of my current WIP, Only in Whispers (formerly A Game of Madness):

“And he wasn’t too rough with you? I want to ensure that he is treating his possessions with respect.”

Wren bowed her head. “He behaved perfectly well. As you know, a lady doesn’t discuss such things.”

Lord Acton burst out laughing. “A lady? Is that what you call yourself?”

“She jests, my lord,” Collis said. She gave Wren a sharp look. Wren got the message. They were his playthings, not his equals. She knew as much. She just couldn’t reveal that Ferran would find no pleasure in her. She’d likely to be passed on to Cordell.

“Ah, a sharp sense of humor you have, little bird,” Lord Acton said. He smiled at her. “Has Ferran told you anything about me?”

“No, nothing at all. He’s barely said a word to me,” Wren said. Lord Acton raised his eyebrow at her. “We’ve been too busy for talking, you see.”

Lord Acton let out another long laugh. “Not such a lady now, are we?” He took a sip of wine. “And you, what of my brother? Has he anything to say about his Lord?”

“No, my lord,” Collis said. “Nothing but good things. He is happy with your command of Castle Sol.”

Lord Acton continued trying to talk about Ferran and Rozen, but he finally realized that the girls had nothing interesting to say about the subjects. He moved on to talk of how his lands had not been so prosperous that year. Wren and Collis listened as Lord Acton went on for hours about his land and the landholders around him. By the end of it, Wren could name each and every farmer who worked the land around the castle, but she still didn’t know what Lord Acton wanted with them. Had he gotten bored with his usual girls?

“My lord, it’s time for supper,” a servant said, appearing in the doorway. Servants had been in and out to refill the pitcher of wine twice. Wren and Collis had only sipped from their glasses, never refilling them even once. Wren didn’t know how Lord Acton wasn’t yet drunk from it all; or better yet, passed out and snoring in his luxurious chair.

“Off with you whores,” Acton said, waving them away. “Bring me my food, I have no wish to dine with the others. Bring me the purple whore to feed them to me. I don’t want a scrap of clothing covering her magnificent breasts.”

Now, this is a first draft, but so were the others, so it’s a fair change. The first one was fifth grade, the second one was tenth grade, and the third one was present day. That’s a span of 11 years. If you ever despair about never being a good enough writer, look at some of your older stuff. If you have no older stuff, shut your mouth and keep writing!

How has your writing changed over the years?

Madness

This is a haiku
Because I hate this dumb class
Like, fucking-a man

Powerpoint slides, *dies*
I am incredibly bored
I need a smart phone

Forty-five minutes
Of graphs and correlations
IVs, DVs… Ugh

Participation
It is graded, so I’m here
No other reason

8% of grade
It’s totally not worth it
This class is torture

Forty minutes left
Will he notice if I leave?
Just sink through the floor?

If you are reading this
I have probably passed on
To a better place

My pillow is great
But Professor keeps me here
My bed weeps for me

I could be sleeping
Or painting a masterpiece
Or robbing a bank

Thirty minutes left
The wind is blowing fiercely
But that is outside… 😦

I think he’s lying
He didn’t take attendance
I could’ve just skipped

Professor comes near
Quick! Hide all evidence
Yes, I’m listening…

Is the fine worth it?
To pull the fire alarm?
I just won’t get caught

You! Girl who speaks now!
Shut your mouth, your question sucks
Brain cells crawling away…

Look, it’s a zebra!
Not really. I like zebras.
Stripe stripe stripe stripe HOOF!

I’ve put up a shield
In one ear and out the other?
No, I hear you not

Twenty minutes left
Endless agony and grief
Tetris would help me

Spiral, spiral, square
But what do the doodles mean??????
Negative pi- ELF!

Did you see the elf?
He just ran by in pink tights
No, I’m not on drugs….

So hungry, nom nom
I have eaten my finger
Desperate times, man!

Fifteen minutes left!
Marbles, marbles everywhere
Marbles should be pugs

My hair is slinkies
Not really, but I can dream
Hahaha, slinkies…

Stop staring at me!
Those beady eyes, that mean glare
Oh, it’s a trash can

I am a tea pot
Short and stout with a big knife
I can’t trust the scones!

Class, in summary
You all fail, epically fail!
Go be homeless now

I am almost free!
I shall make a break for it!
Anarchy!