Thursday, April 29, 2010

Review: Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Lock and Key
by Sarah Dessen
422 pages
published: 2008
3 of 5 stars


Ruby is used to taking care of herself. But now she's living in a fancy new house with her sister, Cora, a sister she hasn't seen in ten years and her husband, Jamie, creator of one of the most popular online networking sites. She's attending private school, wearing new clothes, and for the first time, feels the promise of a future that include college and her family. So why is she so wary? And what is Nate the adorable and good-hearted boy next door hiding behind his genial nature? As Ruby starts to see, there's a big difference between being given help, and being able to accept it. And sometimes, in order to save yourself, you've got to reach out to someone else. - from Goodreads


This is my first Sarah Dessen novel and I enjoyed it. I was very drawn into the characters' story. I especially liked Cora and Jamie - one a candidate for nicest guy on earth and the other almost first. I liked how first impressions were not correct. The sisters' forced relationship felt real to me. I know what the awkwardness is like when you are with someone you should, and did, know, but do not know any longer. And my situation doesn't come with as much hurt or misunderstandings! I liked that Jamie wasn't all perfect, but was obsessive almost to a fault, gullible, and possessing of a temper. The secondary characters were the best part for me.

I liked the themes of the book: independence versus accepting help, family, self-reliance, giving of yourself, accepting people for who they are and what they can give. I liked the progress Ruby made towards letting others in and building her own family.

While reading it, I felt pulled along because of the characters. It was definitely a character driven novel as not much actually happened.

I did NOT appreciate the casual sex and drug use, though the sex at least was off screen. The drug use was flagrant. Is that normal for a Dessen novel?? That is what lost the book a star . But all in all, this was a good read for me - no war, no slavery, no hugeness. Happy day.


  1. This was the first (and so far only) Sarah Dessen novel I read too. I also was bothered by the sex and drugs. I know that YA novels deal with that kind of stuff...but in this case it did bother me. But I really enjoyed the characters too. I read this book a while ago and can still remember the characters and details of the story, which says something. :) Because a lot of the time I can't remember. Anyway, I think I'll probably read more of her books.