9780142414729_LockAndKey_CV.inddLock and Key  by Sarah Dessen
Release Date: April 22, 2008
Publisher: Viking’s Children’s Books
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

“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? – Goodreads


After I did the embarrassing mass read of New Adult fiction that ruined my brain in mass amounts, I was texting my bookbff and she was all “do you know what you need to read!?” And that is what started my Sarah Dessen readathon. Yes. I am a 26 year old book blogger and I have never ever really read a Sarah Dessen book. I say “really read” because I believe I did a few years ago, but I have no memory of it, so I’m starting fresh!

It happened to work out that my first library hold was Lock and Key and I feel that this was an excellent start into Dessen’s writing. This was a classic, heartbreaking contemporary novel. Ruby’s life has not been perfect. While she is fine with her background, she understands most look down upon. Her mother is an alcoholic who abandons her and Ruby is forced to live with her sister, Cora, and Cora’s husband, Jamie. While Jamie seems to open his arms and welcome Ruby into the family, Cora is a bit standoffish and Ruby just wants to go back to normal. Cora has a fancy perfect life and this is not what makes Ruby comfortable.

While, to the reader, Ruby’s life hasn’t been remotely comfortable, it has been comfortable to her and she did not want to face the change of this new perfect life. Ruby misses the old Cora. The Cora who wasn’t trying to save the world, but instead save Ruby, but Ruby hasn’t seen Cora since Cora went to college and it’s been years. Why did Cora stop caring about Ruby? They were so close. What Dessen does in Lock and Key is dissects familiar relationships and even personal relationships.

Ruby doesn’t want to get close to anyone. People in her new school, Jamie and Cora, Nate, the boy next door. Anyone. Because she’s just going to be here until she’s 18 and then it will just be her again and that is what Ruby wants. What Dessen does is create a realistic story about what family is and what it means to be yourself. Ruby is of the belief that her sister, who is ten years older than her, wanted nothing to do with her once she went to college. Ruby even understood and didn’t blame Cora, Ruby blamed herself. Through time, and talking, what the two find out to understand is that what they have known for quite sometime, is that parts of their lives have been a lie.

The first day Ruby is there, she wants to flee. Fight or flight often has her wanting to flight. It’s easier for her. What she learns though is that if she would flight, there is a lot she would have missed out on. Including learning more about Cora and Jamie and the fact that people change and they aren’t always what you thought, but that it can be better than you ever knew. And family isn’t always what you’re born into but what you make it.

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