Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

I was totally immersed in this book. It is contemporary realistic fiction -- the story of a girl named Ruby discovering how to survive without neglect. Her mother, always neglectful and sometimes abusive, has flown the coop. Now Ruby struggles to adjust to life with her older sister who is both well-mannered and wealthy.

Details enrich the story and elevate it beyond just "cautionary tale." I was able to relate to the characters and could imagine them with unusual clarity. Dessen's descriptions are vivid and don't flower on forever and ever. The book has a very balanced feel.

I read it in basically two sittings (thank you, weather, for being so rainy!) and there's plenty of suspense. It is a stand alone novel (hooray!) does a good job both tying up at the end and realistically leaving the future open.

Profanity, drug use, and off-screen sex are part of the narrative. Like Ashley said in her 2009 review* of this same book, it's inspiring to see the way Ruby changes over the course of the story.

*Man, what is up with the fact that I'm just now getting around to reading these books that Ashley recommended years ago? Well. Anyway, I'm having fun. (See also Winter's Tale.)


  1. She is a bit of an inspiring character. I would just like to know what happens to adult Ruby when she gets to college. What kind of woman does she grow up to be? Does she end up like Cora or her mother? Because there's always a chance that old personality habits can pop back up.

    I guess I just like to wonder about these things.

  2. I have always loved Sarah Dessen's writing. I started reading her books at age 15 or so. I am now 19 and have read over 2,000 books since age 15. Yet Sarah Dessen is the one author that has stuck in my head (and my heart). Her writing is relatable to girls (and boys) of all ages. In fact I just bought this book for my 22 year old sister and she LOVED it. Sarah is an author to keep your eye on.

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