Plot, Cast, and Everything Else We Know

Ready your screens, the next Netflix young adult book-to-film adaptation is coming your way. Known for their adaptations of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Kissing BoothNetflix has teamed up with Sofia Alvarez, writer of To All the Boys and its sequel To All the Boys: PS I Still Love Youto adapt Sarah Dessen’s 2009 novel Along for the Ride. The adaptation marks Alvarez’s directorial debut as she brings the story of Auden, a high school graduate enjoying her last summer before college, and Eli, a teen from a small beach town in North Carolina, to life.

Along for the Ride marks the first of three of Dessen’s novels Netflix optioned the rights for in 2019, The Hollywood Reporter reports. The other books optioned, The Lullaby and Once and for Allalso follow girls embarking on new journeys and healing from past trauma. Along for the Ride is only the second film adaptation to come from Dessen’s books. The first was the 2003 movie How to Dealwhich used her books Someone Like You and That Summer as source material.


With more adaptations coming your way this summerhere’s everything you need to know about Along for the Ride before it cycles onto Netflix in May.

Plot: Everything We Know

The film follows Auden, a girl freshly graduated from high school, as she spends her summer with her dad before starting college at Defriese University (a made-up college thought to take inspiration from Duke University) in the fall. Her mother and father are divorced, and because Auden spent the majority of her life with her mom, she wants to spend her final summer as a child with her dad. Her dad lives in Colby, a fictional town thought to be inspired by Emerald Isle, North Carolina. This means her summer should be filled with beaches, seafood, and ample opportunities to bond with her dad.

What Auden had not expected was to meet Eli, another teen that seems unable to sleep, the same as Auden. She and Eli embark on a journey, so Auden can do everything she never did as a kid because she was too busy being the “smart girl.” Based on the trailer, they seem to be having fun as they check off things on Auden’s “what I should’ve done in high school” bucket list, but Eli may have a secret. While pushing Auden into a shopping cart, the cart tips over, and he seems to react pretty emotionally, ensuring that she’s okay before writing off her concern over his reaction. What happened to cause the reaction? We’ll find out.

Cast: Everything We Know

Emma Pasarow and Belmont Cameli star as Auden and Eli, respectively. Showtime fans may recognize Pasarow from Super Pumpedwhile Cameli is in the new Saved by the Bell series on Peacock. Other names people may recognize on the cast list are Andie MacDowell, Dermot Mulroney, and Kate Bosworth. MacDowell plays Auden’s mother, Victoria, Mulroney is Auden’s father, Robert, and Bosworth is Auden’s stepmother Heidi. MacDowell is known for a myriad of roles, from Groundhog Day to Maid. Bosworth is often remembered for her breakthrough role in Blue Crushthough more recently has done dark comedies and horror films like Before I Wake. Mulroney is known for films like Young Guns, My Best Friend’s Weddingand The Wedding Date.

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The younger cast is rounded out by Genevieve Hannelius (American Vandal, Dog with a Blog) as Leah, Marcus Scribner (Black-ish) as Wallace, Laura Kariuki (Black Lightning) as Maggie, Paul Karmiyran (Veronica Mars) as Adam, Andrew Dicostanzo (The Girl from Plainville) as John, Ricardo Hurtado (Country Comfort) as Eli’s brother Jake, Samia Finnerty as Esther, Hannah Michelle as Cala, and Isaac Lee as Finn.

Release Date

The film will be available to stream on Netflix starting May 6, 2022, meaning you still have some time to read the book before watching the movie (if that’s your thing).

Everything Else We Know

The film is based on the 2009 young adult book of the same name by Sarah Dessen. Based on the trailer, the book has a few storylines that may not be in the film. In particular, Robert as a character, and the situations that involve him, may be different. In the book, Auden’s dad is described as being selfish, particularly in that he and his wife Heidi have a newborn that he does not really engage with. There is no evidence of a baby in the trailer, but that’s not to say their child will not be in the adaptation. The presence of a child impacts Robert’s storyline, as he and his wife fight, causing him to move out of their house, though by the end of the novel, they’ve reconciled. The inclusion of this subplot would add a different dynamic to the film, but, as with many adaptations, there may not have been room for it.

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Notably absent on the IMDb cast list is someone playing Hollis, Auden’s older brother in the book. Other book-to-film adaptations have eliminated older siblings, like Simon’s older sister Alice in Love, Simon, so it is not uncommon for this to happen. Like Robert and his subplot, there may not have been room for her older brother and the plots that came with him in the adaptation.

With Along for the Ride hitting Netflix soon, get ready to enjoy Auden’s North Carolina nights and discover what you should’ve done before you graduated from high school.

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