27 April 2012

Review: Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Title: Lock and Key
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Published: 22nd April 2008
Source: Own Copy

"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? - From Goodreads

With my love of contemporary fiction growing quickly, I now have another author to add to my list with Sarah Dessen. This was the first Sarah Dessen book I have read and I can assure you that it will not be the last!! I had heard many good things about her so I decided to randomly pick up one of her books to read and this was the one I set my hands upon. I knew what to expect from contemporary fiction, what I was not expecting was how this book would grip me and not let me go. I think if you could fall in love with a book, I would be on my way as I could not put this down.

Ruby has been living on her own for a while now. She has been trying to make ends meet and keep herself out of trouble at school so that no one will find out that her mother left a few months ago. After the authorities find out she is on her own she is placed in her sisters custody, the only problem is that Ruby has not seen her sister Cora in ten years. Ruby has no idea where she fits into Cora's life and would rather set off on her own again than stay and find out.

Ruby was a great character. Right from the start of the book I empathised with her and wanted her to find a safe home to live in with people who loved her. I was solidly on her side right from the start, however this did not stop me from wanting to grab ruby and shake her to try and stop her from making some really stupid mistakes. Even though she does really stupid stuff, you can see through this whole book how much Ruby wants to keep her life together and I found myself rooting for her the whole way through.

The other characters in this book are also great and there was no one in the story that made me want to punch them. Even Ruby's control freak older sister Cora is well meaning, even if some of her guilt and remorse is misdirected. In contrast, Nate the boy next door seems like he leads a charmed life and it seems like he has everything, but he is far more complex and as his story unravels we learn that Nate is just as tortured as Ruby is.

This book was not too deep or dreary and the story kept going at a good pace. I never felt like there were any parts that I was struggling to get through, the plot just kept pulling me along. There were nice touches throughout this book and I really liked that all the characters were flawed in some way, it made them all very likeable. This was a good story with an engaging character who does stupid things.

This was a great book, I don't think it was ground breaking in any way, but I was engaged for the whole book and I admit that I got a bit teary on occasion. I think that I will be reading more Sarah Dressen books whenever I am in need of some really good contemporary fiction. Is there a Team Sarah Dressen I can join?


  1. {new follower here}

    I think that this could be a really nice read based on the summary. Thank you so much for sharing.


  2. Lovely review. :)
    I have yet to read one of Sarah Dessen's books, too, but after having read your review now, I'm tempted to pick up my copy of THIS LULLABY immediately - and buy one of LOCK AND KEY as well. :D Thanks for sharing!

    Fictional Distraction

  3. I love contemp too!! This sounds great! I actually just finished "How to Save A Life" and based on this review, I think you would like that book, too!