Summary (book jacket):
“Ruby, where is your mother?”
With that question from the social worker, Ruby knows the game is up.
She’s been living alone in the old yellow house, waiting out the months until she turns eighteen and can finally be on her own legally. It certainly wasn’t in her plan to be reunited with Cora, her sister who left ten years before, and brought to live with Cora and her wealthy entrepreneur husband.
Suddenly life is transformed: a luxurious house, private school, new clothes, and even the chance of a future Ruby couldn’t have dreamed of. So why is she wary, unable to be grateful, incapable of letting anyone close? Only Nate, the genial, popular boy next door, seems to understand, perhaps because he’s hiding some secrets of his own.
Funny, perceptive, and touching, Lock and Key will delight the legions of Sarah Dessen fans and win many new ones.
What I expected: here’s a shocker: I’ve never actually read a Sarah Dessen book. I know, I know, it’s amazing that I’m a teen book blogger and yet I haven’t read any of the most popular authors’ books till now. Well, I bought Lock and Key at the library sale with high expectations, maybe too, too high. But I didn’t end up being disappointed, though.
Lock and Key was a lot stronger in characters than it was in story, and I think that’s because the story is more about Ruby growing and developing than it is about some amazing plot with twists and turns.
Reading about Ruby and seeing her transform was beautiful in itself. I loved how I could practically see her bloom from a reserved, quiet person to a girl who really did care whether or not she disappointed her sister’s husband.
Oh, and the part at the end just twisted my heart. Just saying… you know, if you need more of a reason to read a Sarah Dessen book.
Like I said before, the characters in this book truly shone out. They were all so real and multi-faceted that you could totally imagine them being at your school or whatever. They seemed like real people, they were so well-developed. Near the middle of the book, Ruby grew on me. She turned out to be a lot more than I expected, and I was glad to see her change.
Ruby’s sister Cora was also a lot different than I expected. In truth, she reminded me somewhat of myself with the whole taking-people-under-your-wing kind of thing. I mean, I don’t really do that, but I feel bad when I see someone who needs help (say, with math or something) and I just HAVE to help them out- I’d be guilty forever if I didn’t.
Jamie, Cora’s husband, was adorable. He was probably the sweetest character I’ve ever read about, always trying to make up to Cora for what she missed back when she was a teenager- heck, he gave her waves of presents on Valentine’s, each one better than the last.
Olivia, the sort-of-friend Ruby makes at her new school- she seems a lot like some people I know, unafraid of the truth and even less afraid to say it. It’s a quality I both admire and cringe from and definitely do not possess. Gervais was the unexpected funny guy, you could say- the classic image of a super-smart nerd with a twist.
Lastly, the male lead Nate- aww! I really liked Nate. Apart from his good looks and physique and all that, I mean. He always wanted to help people out and everything, but his own secrets made me want to be like, ‘It’s all right, just let someone help you out!’ He is definitely one of the better male leads in YA lit.
Parting Thoughts: I really liked Lock and Key, although initially I was a bit iffy. I realized later that it was because I set my expectations too high. Sarah Dessen’s real talent is not just in writing (she has that for sure) but most of all in her characters. Heck, even the dog had personality. What more could you want?
Rating: 4.5/5. This book has this been-there-done-that feel to it which makes it utterly unique and wonderful. You need to go out and get this book- and man, am I glad I have my own very own copy. I can’t wait to read more of Dessen’s work.