Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lock and Key - Sarah Dessen



Ruby, where is your mother?

Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she's been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return.

That's how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn't seen in ten years, and Cora's husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future; it's a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give?

Best-selling author Sarah Dessen explores the heart of a gutsy, complex girl dealing with unforeseen circumstances and learning to trust again.


First let me start with this:  This unfortunately is going to be a short review.  I hit the CURSED COMMAND Z button again.  So of course it undid my entire post.  That I wrote a week or so ago, so I can't remember what I wrote.  I have got to stop doing that!  That's the second post in a week I've done that to!  In any case, on to my short review.

Why are there not more books like this out there?  Sarah Dessen has always played second fiddle to Deb Caletti for me, because as we all know I am an unapologetic fangirl for anything Deb Caletti has written.  That being said, this is the first Dessen novel that I've read that I feel is absolutely on par with any of Caletti's novels and would definitely give some competition for my favourite contemporary YA lit.

I'll be the first to say that I don't read very much contemporary YA.  In fact, disregarding my wild foray into Jenny Han's The Summer I Turned Pretty last month, I exclusively read Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti.  I've been burned too many times.  They seem to feature backstabbing best friends (and they aren't even nice enough for it to seem legitimate that they ever would have been best friends!), and girls who abandon their friends and family for whoever the featured hot guy is.  The reason I love both Deb Caletti and Sarah Dessen, is that while any of these things might happen, it is usually a backdrop for a larger issue, like abuse, depression, family tragedy, etc.  For example, in this novel - it has all those things I said I hated about contemporary YA.  And it was a GREAT book!  It's how these characters are dealt with.  For example, because of Ruby's family background, she is extremely closed to other people.  She doesn't open herself up and invest any emotion into her relationships.  I don't want to say much more on the subject as there are spoilers, but there is a turning point in the book where Ruby realizes the situation she is in with said friend partially happened because of how she related to people.  I can't really say much of anything I want to about the book now that I think of it because of spoilers!  So I'll leave you with this.  While the book HAS hot boys and bad bffs, it's not what the book IS.  It's just like real life - the same sentence is so easily applied.  This book is really about Ruby's growth as a person, allowing herself to trust people.  It's about how families shape you, and how you shape yourself outside of your identity within a family.  It's about families are not always who you are born to, but who you choose to surround yourself.  All in all, it was a really powerful book and I absolutely would recommend it to the few of you out there who haven't read it yet!


  1. My students love Sarah Dessen. Is this a new cover for Lock & Key? The copy I have in my classroom has a different look. I really like this cover!

  2. I think it's the UK version? Isn't amazing?! I've never been a pink girl, so maybe that's why I love this cover so much haha


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