Along for the Ride: the ending, explained – What happened to Auden and Eli?

By Feron Jayawardene — ON May 13, 2022
Along for the Ride

Along for the Ride is a new film adaptation of Sarah Dessen’s popular novel. The film is now streaming on Netflix and offers a wholesome teenage coming of age story. The film introduces the viewer to Auden, an insomniac who just finished high school in her quest to do simple things she had never done before. Her life is turned upside down after meeting Eli, a mysterious boy and the film ends with a clear but tricky ending. 

Caution: Spoilers ahead!

Auden chooses to spend her summer at Colby 

The first scene of the film introduces the viewer to Auden (Emma Pasarow), a very intense and nerdy girl who has got a scholarship at Defriese University. She currently lives with her mother Victoria (Andie MacDowell), a divorced professor and decides to live with her father who is now remarried during the vacation. 

After moving into Colby to spend her summer vacation, she decided to work at her stepmother’s cosmetic store. 

Her days start to become a routine of waking up late in the morning, going to her stepmom’s shop to work on the accounts and spending the night by herself at the pier reading a book. However, she sometimes sees a boy who comes to the pier to practise his BMX skills, but they never talk. 

Auden and Eli start to bond

One day the boy with the BMX bike comes too close to where Auden was sitting and accidentally spills her coffee. To make it up to her, he takes her to a pie shop inside a laundromat and they start to bond. 

Auden reveals how she never got the opportunity to do children’s activities like having a food fight or trespassing. The boy introduces himself as Eli (Belmont Cameli) and tells Auden to go make a list of every childish thing she wants to do and treat it as a quest. 

He also asks Auden if she knows how to ride a bike, but Auden lies by saying she can. The next night, Eli takes Auden to play golf as part of her quest. 

Meanwhile, Auden’s mother comes to visit her. She tells her to prioritise her scholarship of going to Defriese and come back to liver her. Auden declines. 

Auden’s and Eli’s secrets are reveals 

Auden starts to bond with Maggie, Leah, and Esther, the girls who work at the cosmetic store. She sees that Maggie is a talented BMX biker. They go to a party that night and Maggie reveals Eli’s backstory. 

Eli was a professional BMX rider, and he had a best friend called Abe. They were planning to go to Europe to perform. However, they were invited to a New York invitational competition and while on the way back, a drunk driver had hit their car. 

Eli was driving at the time and Abe had died. This death of his best friend makes Eli shut himself off after the incident, not coming to any parties or hanging out with anyone until he had met Auden. 

Later in the day, Auden reveals to Eli her reason for being an insomniac. Her parents had to wait after she fell asleep to fight and she had figured out that if she didn’t sleep, they will not fight. 

Meanwhile, Auden’s father takes her to lunch ignoring her stepmom Heidi’s request to help her with the baby and gives Auden his manuscript to read. An angry Auden later throws it away. 

Auden asks Eli about his past 

One night, they go trespassing and Eli takes Auden on a supermarket trolley. The crash brings back the memories of Abe. But Eli dodges Auden’s requests and declines to talk about what had happened. 

The next day, Auden’s friends invite her to a party and ask her to bring Eli too. But when she invites Eli, he refuses. Auden then subtlety confronts Eli about Abe and they both argue. Eli locks himself inside his bike room and Auden goes to the party without Eli. 

However, during the party, Eli arrives unexpectedly. Auden starts a food fight with Eli, helping him to escape the awkwardness and gaining her friends admiration. They go out for a night swim and Auden and Eli make out for the first time.

Another bad experience makes Auden rethink her new approach to life 

The next day, Auden walks along the road and sees her dad waiting at a coffeehouse. He tells Auden that he decided to move out after a big fight with Heidi. Inner wounds get opened and Auden tells her father to not quit their marriage like he did the last time. 

“I don’t think you quit on me. I think you didn’t even try,” Auden says, making the turning point of the film. 

Auden calls her mother for help, and she unloads all her frustration on Eli who came to teach her to ride a bike.

She again confronts Eli about quitting BMX. They both have a fight where either of them doesn’t want to accept their own mistakes and come to terms with their past experiences. 

“I’m not your Abe Eli, I can’t be your do over,” Auden says.

However, she comes home to see her mother and Heidi spending time together. She and her mother start to bond over again. Auden’s father comes home again and starts taking care of the baby, leaving Heidi some valuable alone time. 

What happened at the end?

Auden finally asks Maggie to teach her to ride a bike. The next day she receives a phone call from Maggie who says that Eli had started BMXing again.

Auden arrives just in time to see him perform. They both patch up and Eli finally opens up about Abe. Auden goes to sleep at 10.30 and wakes up at 8.30 in the morning which means she has finally come to terms with her parents. 

Eli comes to her garden in a tuxedo and makes her wear the yellow prom dress Auden always wanted to wear. Later, they both cycle to the beach and her friends surprise her with a prom party.

The film ends with Auden getting a postcard from Eli who is now in Europe. Auden and Maggie now share the share same room at Defriese university after starting their scholarship. 

Sofia Alvarez, the director of the film reveals the meaning behind the ending. Speaking to ‘The Wrap’ she says,

“I just love that the movie ends with Auden and Maggie because I feel like the friends you make at that age are the people who end up staying in your life longer than maybe the people you fell in love with at that age. Whether Eli and Auden stay together or not, she is going to have this friendship with Maggie for the rest of her whole life.”