Along For The Ride was the first step in many more Sarah Desson movie adaptations


Along for the ride Netflix movie poster

If you have ever browsed the middle school or high school library and found yourself wandering into the romance section, then chances are you saw an overwhelming amount of one author: Sarah Desson. My personal preference for book genres to read has always been cheesy romance. I particularly enjoyed it in middle school, but even today, I find myself reaching for it when I need a lighthearted, easy read, and there is no better author for the task of cheesy romance than Sarah Desson.

When I saw that Netflix made a movie based on one of her classic romance novels, I was immediately brought back to my 7th-grade self who would have loved a movie adaptation to further fuel her rom-com phase. However, even to this day, when I saw Along For The Ride, I immediately clicked play to see if the movie would live up to all the hype that I vividly remember feeling as I read her books. 

Along For The Ride, the book was originally published in 2009 but was recently re-adapted into a Netflix movie that was released May 6, 2022. Although it is not exactly clear what inspired Netflix to give new life to this storyline 13 years later, what is clear is that Desson herself was extremely pleased with the reboot. 

Long-time fans, such as myself, will be happy to hear that the movie is followed relatively close to the book plot. With the same characters, locations, and relationships, it’s like watching your imagination play out on screen. 

The plot follows a recent high school graduate named Auden West—played by Emma Pasarow—who is going to live in Colby, North Carolina, for the summer, with her dad, stepmom, and their baby. Auden is your very typical shy, smart, and slightly judgy girl who mostly keeps to herself. 

The overall vibe of the movie is very beachy and fun, making it the perfect movie to put on if you need to relax, or are aching for summer to arrive.”

However, as the movie progresses, she starts to open up, because of a boy named Eli—played by Belmont Cameli—who she meets one night during her stay in Colby, and as you could imagine, this meeting kickstarts the classic summer romance we all know and love. 

The overall vibe of the movie is very beachy and fun, making it the perfect movie to put on if you need to relax, or are aching for summer to arrive. Despite most of the movie being very surface level, it does still manage to hit on some more serious topics mixed in with the predictable ones. One of the main points of the movie is the trauma from Auden’s parents getting divorced when she was a young child. 

This addition to the movie allowed for one of my favorite yet most unexpected character relationships to develop: the relationship between Auden and her stepmom Heidi West—played by Kate Bosworth. I thought the unique experiences they shared together, and the overall bonding that was portrayed between the two were very sweet to watch. 

Aside from that, the main relationship to focus on was obviously between Auden and Eli. With any rom-com, there definitely were some cringey moments that I was tempted to skip past, but overall, I liked the plot these two characters portrayed. 

However, aside from the storyline, which I already knew I liked because of the books, I didn’t think the movie did an amazing job at showing the range of emotions that could be found while reading. There was very little on-screen chemistry between the actors, which led to a certain lack of passion that wasn’t very enticing. I also didn’t love Eli’s character as a whole. He had one too many dumb moments for me to like him as the main character. If you’re going to have an oblivious sidekick, then it should certainly be a supporting actor, not someone who is on the screen constantly. 

As I mentioned earlier, Sarah Desson has multiple books published, and I can only hope that Netflix decides to pick one from the stack and turn another one of her stories into a movie for us to enjoy. With so many different options of plots, characters, and relationships to choose from, hopefully, next time, Netflix picks a couple with a bit more spark.