Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
It’s been a few days since Ruby was living on her own, weeks since her mother abandoned her, and ten years since she’s seen her older sister, Cora. But after being reported to Social Services, she’s forced to live with Cora and Cora’s husband, Jamie, an internet millionaire. Ruby doesn’t want to live with them or deal with all the changes her new life entails, but now it’s not so easy for Ruby to remain as isolated as she wants to be.
Lock and Key is a very satisfying read. Though not quite as good as some of Sarah Dessen‘s previous books, her many fans will not be disappointed. For longtime readers of Dessen, a plethora of characters from her previous books pop up in Lock and Key, a few by name, including one in particular that surprised me, and many more by inference (e.g., “For the really obscure ones, I had to enlist this guy one of my employees knows from his Anger Management class who’s some kind of music freak.” Awesome.), adding to the pleasure of reading Lock and Key.
The hallmarks of Dessen’s books appear in this one, with some new twists I appreciated. It’s thoughtful, understated yet powerful, with a focus on character and relationships, not plot. But while Dessen’s previous novels have centered on upper middle class protagonists (as far as I can recall, the only exception is Keeping the Moon prior to the mother becoming famous, though I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong), girls facing challenges in their relationships, Ruby has spent much of her life poor and avoiding relationships. Although Ruby may be a new type of protagonist in terms of socioeconomic status and family background, her character and voice are similar to previous Dessen protagonists, which made the book even more enjoyable to me than it might have otherwise been.
Lock and Key will be published tomorrow, April 22.