Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen Book Review

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
(Viking, Hardcover)


Ruby's mom ran off a couple of months ago but Ruby has managed to hide that from her friends and is still living in her little yellow house. When social services finds out that Ruby is living alone, they contact her older sister, Cora. Cora left home about 10 years ago and Ruby hasn't heard from her since. Cora and her husband live in a big house in a beautiful neighborhood. Ruby has her own bedroom, new designer clothes, and admission into a posh private school. But how will Ruby connect with a sister who abandoned her when Ruby needed her the most?

Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite authors. She always manages to write about serious topics with style and humor. Lock and Key is no exception. Ruby is immediately likable because she is so vulnerable. She carries her key to the little yellow house on a chain around her neck, afraid that she'll have to move back in and away from Cora. Cora has her own issues with the past and it's her laid-back, friendly husband who helps reforge the bond between the sisters. I've never been a latchkey kid and don't know what it's like to come home to an empty house but Dessen made it easy for me to understand Ruby's loneliness. This book is, at times, heartbreaking, but what makes it wonderful is watching Ruby as she learns what it's like to live with a loving family.

If you like Sarah Dessen's writing, you might also like Sweethearts by Sara Zarr.


  1. If I may ask, why did you give it 3 stars only?

  2. Hey Kelsey, great question! My rating scale is 1-4 stars, with 4 being outstanding. I gave Lock & Key only 3 stars because while I did love it and highly recommend it, there are several other books by Sarah Dessen that I think are stronger. Such as The Truth About Forever.

  3. The Truth About Forever is my favorite Dessen novel as well. I agree that fans of Zarr will like Dessen and vice-versa.

  4. Okay. Now I want to know about the Zarr, which I've read in pieces when at the bookstore, and does seem to be beautifully written....

  5. Aww, okay. Makes sense, yeah, this wasn't my favorite book of hers. She's my favorite author, I own and have read all of her books, and I think Just Listen is the best, this one wasn't as much as a wow as a few others of hers.

    Zarr's books are pretty awesome also. Deep books. Eecommended from me.


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