Along for the Ride (2022) Ending Explained – Does Auden stay with Eli?

Along for the Ride Plot Synopsis

Based on the novel by Sarah Dessen, Along for the Ride is a Netflix Original movie abou t Auden, a teenager trying to find herself in a small beach town called Colby. With the help of fellow insomniac Eli, Auden tries to complete a quest: to do all the “kid things” she never got to do before her high school graduation.

Why does Auden want to spend the summer in Colby?

The first scene of Along for the Ride establishes Auden as a socially awkward teen who, while wanting to fit in with her peers, always seems to say and do the wrong thing.

She’s ready to break out of this version of herself: the one who focuses on school and doesn’t have friends. So, she decides to stay with her dad and stepmom in their small beach town the summer after her high school graduation. What better way to reinvent herself than to get out of her environment?

So, despite her mom’s wishes, she packs up her things and heads to Colby to go work in her stepmom’s boutique.

However, Auden’s first attempts to change who she is backfire. Once in Colby, she goes to ‘The Tip,’ a teen hangout spot at the beach. There, she makes out with a guy named Jake, but she quickly breaks away when she realizes this isn’t who she is or what she wants to be doing.

How do Auden’s dad and stepmom react to her stay?

Auden’s stepmom, Heidi, is thrilled to welcome her stepdaughter for the summer. Her father, Robert, is a bit more distant. Most days, he shuts himself in his office to work on his second book.

Auden notices the strain this puts on his and Heidi’s marriage. And Heidi can’t get a moment of relaxation because Robert refuses to help with their baby.

Why does Maggie dislike Auden?

Soon, Auden starts her job as an accountant at Clementine’s, Heidi’s boutique. Three other girls her age work there: Maggie, Leah, and Esther.

It just so happens that Maggie is Jake’s ex-girlfriend. She saw them together at The Tip and makes a passive-aggressive comment about it to Auden.

Esther assures Auden that Maggie will get over it, but Auden doesn’t help things when she accidentally insults Maggie for her taste in guys.

How does Auden meet Eli?

Auden’s insomnia keeps her awake late, so she goes to the pier most nights to read. Night after night, she sees another teenager there riding his bike.

One night, he accidentally spills her coffee and they finally introduce themselves. His name is Eli, and he works at a bike shop in town.

He takes her to a secret bar where they eat pie and play Connect Four. Auden muses that she needs to do “kid stuff” like this more often–the kind of things like trespassing and food fights that her strict childhood with her mother didn’t allow.

Eli suggests she go on a quest: to make a list of all the things she hasn’t done, and then do them.

What is the conflict between Auden and Victoria?

Victoria shows up in Colby one day to surprise Auden for lunch. It seems she’s really only there to criticize Colby and Auden’s father. 

Learning more about Victoria helps to better frame Auden’s personality and her difficulty making friends. Victoria’s more pretentious talking points often manifest in Auden’s interactions with others–except Auden is much more genuine, misunderstanding how her words can offend others.

This crops up with Maggie, when Auden good-naturedly makes fun of a Colby poncho. Maggie is quick to point out that Auden sounds like she thinks she’s above Colby when she does things like that.

Does Auden make any friends in Colby?

While Auden’s mother presents mostly obstacles to Auden’s making friends, their relationship eventually helps Maggie see what kind of pressure Auden is under. After Victoria leaves, Maggie sits with Auden. The girls finally bond, even learning that they’re going to the same college next semester.

It’s the beginning of Auden’s integration into Maggie’s friend group. Rather than follow them from a distance, Auden starts to go with Maggie, Leah, and Esther to parties, as well as watch Maggie go BMXing.

In one scene, they let Auden DJ in the car. She experiences a nervous pause, not expecting to fit in with their tastes at all. But when they jam to her song choice, the breath Auden lets out is indicative of her sheer relief: for once, she feels like she belongs.

Who is Abe to Eli?

At a party one night, Auden asks Maggie what she knows about Eli. Maggie says Eli hasn’t been to any parties like this since Abe died.

Abe was Eli’s best friend. There were both in Street BMX, winning competitions left and right. They had dreams to BMX together in Barcelona. One weekend, they went to New York for a BMX event. While Eli was driving, a drunk driver hit them, and Abe died.

Maggie says Eli has been like a ghost ever since. He gave up sponsorships, stopped riding, stopped going to hangouts with everyone.

Do Auden and Eli attempt the quest?

Bonded by their insomnia, Auden and Eli continue to hang out together every night. One night, she tells him she wants to do the quest. Trespassing the lighthouse after dark is the first item off their list.

He asks her if she wants to learn how to ride a bike as well, but this is a sore spot for Auden. She insists she knows how to ride a bike–don’t all fathers teach their daughters that?

What happens at the hot dog party?

Auden and Eli keep getting closer, but she doesn’t know where they stand. Maggie, Leah, and Esther convince her to bring him to HDP (aka the hot dog party), so they can help her evaluate Eli’s feelings for her.

But when Auden asks Eli, he says he doesn’t go to parties anymore. She tries to push him outside his comfort zone, but he lashes out in anger. When he realizes she knows about Abe, he accuses her of offering him pity friendship.

When Eli unexpectedly shows up to the party after all, everyone stops and stares at him in shock. Auden saves the awkward situation, however, by serving Eli the penalty for lateness: a food fight.

Later, while everyone parties in the ocean, Eli and Auden kiss.

Does Auden help her dad and stepmom reconcile?

The next day, Auden discovers her father in the middle of leaving Heidi. He says Heidi has gone crazy, and claims he’s not cut out to be a husband or father. Auden accuses him of quitting just because things got hard–just like he did with her and her mom.

She later finds Heidi crying at home. Auden calls her mom to come over and help. So, Victoria arrives to encourage Heidi and assure her that she’s not expecting too much from Robert and that her needs are important too.

Victoria tells Auden that whatever she said to Robert worked. He’s going to stay with Heidi and try to put in more effort.

Why doesn’t Auden want to learn to ride a bike?

Eli continues to press Auden about riding a bike. She snaps, accusing him of harassing her about it. Hasn’t he thought that it might be embarrassing to her that she never learned?

He says that’s the point of the quest, but she claims the quest is a joke. He’s pushing her to be a new version of herself, when he can’t even chase after what he wants.

But Auden then has a conversation with Heidi that helps her realize she shouldn’t be afraid of change. So, in spite of her embarrassment, she goes to Maggie. Her friend helps her learn to ride a bike, encouraging her to get back up after every tumble.

Eli, too, is challenged to get back on his bike and start BMXing again. He had given it up because it reminded him too much of Abe. But Auden helped him realize he was giving up all the things he himself loved.

Does Eli give Auden the perfect prom?

Auden’s quest is about doing all the things she never got to do. A big item on the list is going to prom. So, Eli shows up at her house one day in a tuxedo. She puts on a dress, and they go to the beach, where her friends are in their own prom attire. They surprise Auden with a Beach Bash prom.

How does Along for the Ride end?

Along for the Ride ends with Auden reading a postcard from Eli. He tells Auden not to let their quest end just because she has college homework.

Maggie teases her for reading the card for the hundredth time. Auden smiles, and they leave their shared dorm room together.



Read More: Along For The Ride Movie Review

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