Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

LockandKeyTitle: Lock and Key

Author: Sarah Dessen

Genre: Contemporary

Publisher: Speak

Pages: 422

Rating: 4.5/5

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.

This is my second Sarah Dessen book, and I’m glad to say that it went just as well as the first one did.

I love reading about family drama and interesting family relationships. A seventeen year old abandoned by her mother and forced to live with her estranged, ten-years-older estranged sister and a brother-in-law that she didn’t even know existed? That’s plenty of drama, and that’s just the concept.

From the beginning, I started caring about the characters. Despite Ruby’s stubbornness, I wanted things to get better for her (plus, it was understandable – she’d been abandoned and manipulated and overall treated badly before coming to her sister). Her sister initially seemed like she would be a stereotypical uptight sister that just doesn’t understand her little sister, but she luckily grew out of that cardboard character early enough that she didn’t annoy me. Cora’s husband, Jamie, was an interesting and fun character right from the beginning, and the family dog, Roscoe, was an interesting character of his own.

My sister, who has never read a Dessen book before, has often told me that she thinks of Dessen’s books as the Nicholas Sparks books of the YA world. Now, I’ve never read any of Sparks’ books, but from what I’ve seen of the previews of the adaptations of his books, it seems like his books focus a lot more on the romance. That’s not to say that there isn’t any romance in this book, because there is, but like in The Truth About Forever, I don’t think the romance takes over this book. It’s certainly there and I was interested in it and how it would progress, but it wasn’t the only thing I cared about and it didn’t seem to be the main focus of the book (although, as with Truth, I think it did get a bigger focus near the end).

This book takes place during the school year, so I’ve already been proven wrong in my belief that all of Dessen’s books take place during the summer. I think this book can be, and was, a great summer read anyway, though – all of the characters were fun and interesting, the story was enthralling, and the romance was cute, which seem like great components in a summer, or really any, book. This book definitely gets me excited about reading Dessen’s other books.



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