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Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

April 21, 2008

cover of Lock and Key by Sarah DessenIt’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.

Also reviewed by:
Becky’s Book Reviews
Bookshelves of Doom
Little Willow
A Patchwork of Books
A True Reality

7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 22, 2008 11:00 am

    Not her best. I read this one a little while ago and was so bummed about not loving it I went on a fiction reading hiatus. There are many signature Sarah Dessen things that I love about it (which you also pointed out) but I also felt that she was on auto-pilot. Some things were resolved too easily for me or not explained enough. I’m mostly thinking Cora here. Her teen fans will love it and I am looking forward to my library receiving it.

    • January 14, 2013 10:44 am

      I COMPLETELY disagree with your comment . This was the first book I read by Sarah Dessen , and is the best book by her so far . I love all of her books , but Lock and Key is my favorite novel , and will probably be the best book I will ever have read . Thank you .(:

  2. April 30, 2008 4:52 pm

    So good, so good. I love Sarah Dessen’s books and this was no exception. 🙂

  3. Gabrielle permalink
    October 26, 2008 8:20 am

    I am a huge fan of Sarah Dessen. I am just not as excited about this one as I was the other ones. It has a very appealing cover, and a good story, but she just didn’t put this one together as well.
    I was kinda bummed about this one. It’s okay.
    I give it a 4/10.
    Sorry Sarah.

  4. Cecile permalink
    February 3, 2009 5:32 pm

    Actually… i really like this one a lot. Because I could somehow relate.

  5. Skye permalink
    April 9, 2011 1:21 pm

    who’s the antagonist?


  1. Review: Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen « YA Fabulous

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