Welcome to Colby! For early 2000s Young Adult readers, Sarah Dessen novels — including 2009’s Along for the Ride — were a rite of passage. Netflix and a slew of high-profile actors have since teamed up to adapt the story into a feature-length film.
“I am SO HAPPY to let you all know that Along for the Ride is going to be a Netflix film,” Dessen wrote via her official website in April 2021. “And — deep breath — they are going to film right here in [North Carolina]. I am so excited. And speechless. And yet still babbling, somehow. … And now I have to go breathe into a paper bag for a moment because this is all a bit Too Much.”
The streaming platform announced at the time that Sofia Alvarez, who helmed the To All the Boys trilogy — also based on YA books — would adapt and direct a movie inspired by Dessen’s novel. (This is Netflix’s first adaptation of one of Dessen’s works, and they also optioned her books This Lullaby, Once and For All and The Truth About Forever, though further details have yet to be revealed.)
Along for the Ride follows teenager Auden West (Emma Pasarow), who spends her last summer before college with her father (Dermot Mulroney), his new wife (Kate Bosworth) and their infant in the sleepy beach town of Colby. When she can’t sleep and decides to walk around town, Auden finds herself drawn to a mysterious teen, Eli (Belmont Cameli), himself an insomniac. The twosome start to connect as he shows off the nocturnal parts of the small town, even teaching her how to ride a bicycle. (Per a book summary, Auden had missed out on several milestones amid her parents’ divorce.)
“I have chills all over my body,” Pasarow gushed while watching the film’s trailer in a March 2022 YouTube video with Cameli. “I don’t even know what to say, I’m so excited! It’s a movie about friendship; it’s a movie about finding yourself; it’s a movie about falling — there’s a lot of falling in the trailer. I feel like I’m gonna cry.”
The Saved by the Bell actor, for his part, equally gushed about the project in the joint video.
“You invest so much of yourself, so much of your time into [the project],” Cameli added, noting the “beautiful” cinematography of the production. “It’s got a great soundtrack already. … I’m excited for audiences to see [our] night swim [scene].”
Along for the Ride premieres May 6 on Netflix.
Scroll below for everything we know so far about the film: