March 13, 2012

Review: Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
Publication: April 22nd, 2008 by Viking Juvenile
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
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Rating: 4 out of 5
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?

Best-selling author Sarah Dessen explores the heart of a gutsy, complex girl dealing with unforeseen circumstances and learning to trust again.
I devoured this in one day.  Which is normal for all you speedy readers, but it takes me forever to read a book.  So that's really saying how much I loved this book.  I will admit that Lock and Key does have it's cheesy, predictable moments.  And that it's not the most action packed book in the world.  But I think the characters is what makes it a memorable and inspiring read.

The Characters
I enjoyed Ruby's complexity in this story.  I could really relate to her and her trust issues, and I really enjoyed the reading experience from her point of view and her thought process as she grew to trust others.  I also really liked Nate and Ruby's relationship, and wish that there was more of it... especially towards the end... but I'll get to that later.  I adored Jamie and Cora, and subconsciously I know they're the cheesy, quirky, happy-go-lucky characters that Dessen inserts into her books, but I loved them anyway.

The Ending (AKA What Killed Me)
It kills me inside that I couldn't give this a 5+ out of 5, because up until the last 75 pages or so, I was in love with the story and the characters.  Around the last 75 pages, there is a very noticeable lack of Nate (the romance), and you feel like Ruby's issues have been dealt with and resolved.  The book also shifts from focusing on Ruby's development to Ruby trying to help Nate... which, in my opinion, could have been done better.

Oh geez, I'm gonna write another paragraph on the ending.  The ending, although realistic, just wasn't enough for me.  I'm not gonna spoil it, but I really wanted the happily ever after, with everything tied in a neat little bow... and in my opinion, we got a messy, scrambled, and slow ending that lacked a lot of resolution.  I think if the book ended maybe 100 pages earlier, I would have gotten the happy ending I wanted, but *shrugs*, as usual, just my opinion.

Lock and Key is another fantastic and heart felt story by Sarah Dessen.  Even though the ending was a bit of a let down, these characters will stay with me forever.  Now that I have a greater appreciation for contemporary books, I'll definitely be on the lookout for the rest of her books.

P.S. This is the first time I categorized the paragraphs with headers... any thoughts on that?  Personally I think it's easier to read/skim through.  

There's not really a fixed set of paragraph headers I was planning on using, just whatever I talked about in the review.  So for this review, I didn't talk much about plot because it wasn't a huge part of the book for me.  For another book, I may not talk about characters and just talk about plot.  

What do you guys think? Feedback would be great! ;)


  1. I think you are SO right about the ending. It did seem a bit weird, didn't it? Also, I love your new review style--I think it works very well with your review style! I say keep it. :)

    Ashelynn @ Gypsy Book Reviews.
    Be sure to read my cover interview with THE LOST GIRL's author, Sangu Mandanna.

    1. Ahhh I will never get over the ending lol. Thanks for the feedback, I think I'm gonna stick with this format now :) It helps keep me from rambling about nonsense.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen is a combination between a dramatic life and a love story. Ruby, the main character is not the ordinary teenage girl with a nice family, nice school and a boy based life. She isn´t stressed by the typical problems like bad grades, embarrassing parents, or popularity. Instead, her life is full of disappearances, commitment failures and even the struggle for existence. Her mother is no more than an over aged, dating drunk, who has no time to care for her daughter. However Ruby's life takes a twist when her mother leaves and Ruby is sent to live with her older sister Cora and her husband.

  3. Yeah, the ending was a bit disappointing. I finished it just now, and it almost had me in tears when Nate left.

  4. The ending made me want to cry ! Would of wanted it to be the happy ending ! Loved the book beautifully written ,was nearly in tears when I finished it !

  5. Totally agree