Thursday, February 17, 2011

Review: Lock and Key

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
(Amazon / Goodreads)

 Goodreads description:

 "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?

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I don’t know what it is, but there’s just something about Sarah Dessen’s writing. Even if the story were lacking, I would probably love it anyways, just because her writing is so incredibly beautiful. And Lock and Key showed me again why Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite authors. Actually, now that I think about it, if I had to choose only one favorite author, it would probably be her.

What I love most about Sarah Dessen’s books, along with the absolutely beautiful writing, are her characters. The main characters are always so relatable and normal, without ever being boring. That was the case with Ruby, too. While I don’t agree with her negative way of thinking at all, it was effortless for me to relate to her, and I understood each of her thoughts and decisions. I liked some of the other main characters from Sarah Dessen's other books better, though, just because they were more similar to me and therefore even easier to relate to.

The other characters were great, too – Sarah Dessen always manages to make each of her characters, even the minor ones, so deep and complex. I liked Nate  and thought his storyline was very well-done. I also thought Cora and her relationship with Ruby were realistic, and I loved Jamie – he’s just so cute, possibly even more so than Nate, which is kind of strange.  The Harriet-subplot and the parallels between her character and Ruby I liked as well, along with the scenes at the jewelry store.

Another thing I love about Sarah Dessen’s books is how they’re all somehow connected and how characters from other stories reappear – I love finding out what happens to them after we leave their story. For example, Cora, Jamie and Nate live in Wildflower Ridge, the neighborhood Macy’s mom from The Truth About Forever designed, and Ruby’s sort-of-boyfriend’s roommate is Rogerson from Dreamland. There were more, of course, which I can’t remember right now, but I love finding those connections. The imagery was great, too, like always – I loved the story to the key, the fish, Laney’s run, etc.

I had a problem with the storyline of the family, though, which was a big part of the plot. While I liked hearing all those different definitions for Ruby’s project, I thought Ruby’s mom’s character was underdeveloped. The reader never got to know why a mother would lie to and abandon her daughter like that, which made that part of the novel hard for me to understand. The idea to look for their father was never elaborated, either.

I was a bit disappointed by the ending - I don't want to spoil it to anyone, but it lacked explanation, in my opinion. I would have liked to read more about Nate's new life and about Ruby's decision.
All in all, this book is definitely worth reading, just like all of Sarah Dessen’s novels. The writing and the characters are amazing, even if the mother is underdeveloped. My favorite Dessen-novel remains The Truth About Forever, but that might just be because I sort of possibly maybe have a literary crush on Wes, who is, well, the perfect guy. Anyways, I recommend this book for any fan of Sarah Dessen, but if you haven't read any of her other books yet, I'd recommend reading some of her other ones first.


  1. This book is actually on my wish list (which is getting rather long!) I really like her books.
    Thanks for the review! :)

  2. Sounds like it's really well written. I love books where I feel like I can really relate to a character - it makes the whole thing so much more real to me.

  3. I did enjoy this one- Sarah Dessen's books never really hit my favorites, but they're reliably entertaining and well written even though they're fairly light. :)

    I came here from the CEP

  4. I haven't read Sarah Dessen since I was probably 12 or so. The sad thing, is I don't even remember what happened in the ones I KNOW I read! Lol. I've got a few of her books on my shelf, so I'm going to try and give them a go this summer. Maybe I'll pick this one up too!

    Stopped by from the Comment Exchange Program!

  5. It has been so long since I had read one of her books, your review reminded me how much I miss her work :)

  6. The story sound great i love to read thos book. great review


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