Along for the Ride summary and ending explained

Along for the Ride follows Auden who meets Eli on a summer vacation in Colby where she learns to live life in a newer way while helping Eli let go of the past.

Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers

Plot summary

Auden (Emma Pasarow) is a very dedicated student and she has particular notions about things that make her stand out from most groups, both metaphorically and literally. She is done with her senior year and ready for college but doesn’t fit quite well with the others.

For the summers, she plans to go to Colby to spend time with her father Robert (Dermot Mulroney) and her stepmom, Heidi (Kate Bosworth). But her main motive is to achieve some self-discovery as she is aware of her single dimension personality.

Her welcome at Colby doesn’t go quite as well as she hoped. Her father, while warm, is not very familiar with the etiquette of the father-daughter bonding process.

On her stepmom Heidi’s suggestion, Auden heads to The Tip, the cool hangout spot for all the young people but soon realises that’s it not her kind of jazz and quickly leaves.

On a sleepless night, she heads out with a book by her side when she comes across Eli (Belmont Cameli), a fellow nightwalker like her. But, Eli, not accustomed to seeing other people out at the time of the night, quickly takes the other direction.

The next day, Auden starts working at Heidi’s shop where she meets Maggie (Laura Kariuki) and her gang. Maggie and Auden started on a rough note after Auden’s encounter with Maggie’s ex Jack at The Tip the day before.

A couple of nights go away like the first one before Eli finally approaches Auden with a conversation. For their first hangout, Eli takes Auden to a cool spot hidden inside a laundromat. Eli knows everything about Auden, thanks to Heidi, who likes to boast about her stepdaughter.

Thanks to Eli, Auden is finally feeling somewhat at home in Colby.

Some days later, she’s paid a visit by her mother who doesn’t feel comfortable with Auden’s changed lifestyle at Colby as she doesn’t hold the unacademic nature of Auden’s work at Heidi’s cloth shop in the highest regard.

Maggie gets a little softer towards Auden and Auden also realises that she’s actually better than she thought. Auden starts taking some interest in Eli. Maggie gives Auden some insights into Eli’s life.

Eli’s best friend, Abe, died in a car accident some time back. Eli has been leading a recluse’s life ever since without giving any space to anybody else in his life. He also gave up his professional BMX career and now runs a bike repair shop.

The same night, Auden watches a video of Eli and Abe on YouTube before breaking into tears.

Meanwhile, Auden also faces issues with her father’s work-obsessed nature as she notices how Heidi’s life is side-lined taking care of the baby while her father works on her book all the time. She also finds it hard to develop a bond with him just as her mother predicted.

Auden tries to ask Eli about his background and his goals that could be on the “quest list”. But Eli tells her that he’s retired from his BMX career and even though once he wanted to move to Barcelona, it’s no longer on his quest list. Eli still feels responsible for his best friend’s death as he was driving the car when the accident happened.

Maggi and the gang convince Auden to bring Eli to a hot dog party so they can assess what’s happening between Auden and Eli. Auden takes the proposal to Eli but she is met with resistance. Eli realises that she knows about Abe and he refuses to go to the party.

If you have any doubts about the ending, here’s a complete breakdown.

Along for the Ride ending explained in detail:

The comeback

To everyone’s and Auden’s surprise, Eli turns up at the party. A moment of surprise and awkwardness later, a food fight breaks out before everyone heads for a night swim. As everyone cheers and claps, Eli and Auden kiss. Eli has finally managed to come out of his shell minutely.  

The next day, Auden finds her father sitting outside a coffee shop with his suitcase. He has left the house after a fight with Heidi. Auden confronts her father for quitting on his family again but he fails to understand. Auden finds Heidi crying and calls her mom for help.

As Auden sits and recovers from the shock of what’s happened, Eli comes to her with a bike asking her to ride it. Auden gets frustrated because she doesn’t know how to ride a bike, a fact she tries to hide from Eli.

She feels bad about not knowing how to ride a bike because most fathers teach their kids how to ride one. An argument breaks out between the two as both try to confront each other without accepting their own situations. Things take a nasty turn and they split after the argument.

A new beginning

Auden’s mom helps Heidi. Auden’s father returns to the house. Heidi and he talk it out and the man finally realises that he will have to step up as a father and a husband. Auden and her mom also pour their hearts out to each other clearing the tension that existed before.

A conversation with Heidi, who moved to Colby from New York to open a business of her own, opens Auden’s eyes. She realises that she could be more than who she is, only if she tried more.

Maggie teaches Auden to ride a bike. Later, she goes to Eli’s garage but doesn’t find him there. She gets a call from Maggie who tells her something surprising.

Eli has decided to return to professional BMX. Auden rushes to the spot to witness Eli winning his comeback competition.

After the contest, Auden apologises to Eli, but Eli tells her that he stopped doing things he loved because he couldn’t do them without having Abe by his side.

The late bloom

That night, Auden sleeps to her fullest. Upon waking up, she is met by Eli, who’s suited up in a tuxedo. Auden gets dressed up in a yellow dress. He takes her to the beach where they are met by the girl gang.

Eli had planned to gift Auden the experience of a prom party as she had never been to one before. Auden and Eli party with friends leaving Auden with some great memories of Colby.

Soon after, Auden leaves Colby and Maggie joins her too as they both go to the same college. Eli stays in touch and sends Auden postcards asking her to continue the quest even if she has homework to complete.

For Auden and Eli, the summer at Colby has been an experience of transformation where they learnt to see their lives differently.

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