Title: Lock & Key
Author: Sarah Dessen
Published: April 22nd, 2008 by Speak
Book rating: 5 stars
Cover rating: 3 stars
Source: Bought it
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.
I've had several recommendations to read Sarah Dessen since I've joined the blogging world. All I ever hear is how amazing she is and how she's pretty much the Queen of Contemporary Romance. Several months back I picked up Lock & Key at the bookstore knowing I'd read it one day and I seriously want to punch myself for waiting so long. I assumed this book was about a broken girl finding some guy in her new life, falling in love, and then being all better. Please, don't think so shallow of this book because you get so much more.
Out of all the Sarah Dessen books in the bookstore that day I decided on this one because I felt I related to Ruby the most from what I found out from the description. I was definitely right, we're alike in many ways. One of the most important things we have in common are our alcoholic mothers. Now granted my mom is a recovering alcoholic, she's still an alcoholic. It's a disease and it's always there. I still know what it feels like to go through what she was going through. It's like nothing you could possibly imagine and the only way you can actually understand it is if you've been through it. I connected with Ruby on a much deeper level because of this and I really loved that. Ruby was such an interesting and fun character to read about, she goes through a very long journey in this book and it's really only the beginning for her. We get to see her vulnerable and helpless but we also get to watch her become a strong young woman. She was such a nice person at heart and you could tell she wasn't truly being herself or showing who she was because she was afraid and felt as if she couldn't trust anyone. Her idea of family was so warped in the beginning and I hated that. Throughout the entire book we get to see her grow into this beautiful young woman, go through trial and error, and figure out the true meaning of love and family. Nate was a surprising addition to this story, Sarah did such a fantastic job with his story line and character development. I was invested in Nate's journey of becoming his own person and standing up for himself just as much as Ruby's. I loved how their love story wasn't the main focus, although we're lead to believe it is at first, it just plays a small role in bringing all of these lessons together and teaching us what family should be about but it also was still a beautiful aspect to the story. Cora and Jamie, Ruby's sister and her husband, were phenomenal characters and I adored them both to pieces. Cora was so much like Ruby and neither of them really saw it. They were both stubborn and they had some serious issues to work out in their relationship. To see them pull through and develop such a strong sisterly bond was beautiful, being close to my big sister I know how important they can be. Jamie was needed just as much as any character in the book, he brought the lightheartedness and love to the story when the other characters were struggling to find it. He was the perfect role model and authority figure Ruby needed in her life. I loved seeing him connect with her from the beginning even when she wasn't willing to.
Sarah Dessen has shown me what family is truly about and how young love can become something so much more. I truly savored every single word of Ruby's story. I'm definitely going to be reading more of Sarah Dessen in the future because my good friends weren't lying when they said she could write a great book.I highly recommend this to lovers of contemporary novels that take you on an emotional journey, make you feel good, and leave you with hope.
Purchase this book on