Book Review: Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

September 24, 2012

book cover of lock and key by sarah dessen

Publisher: Puffin 
Release Date: 1st March 2009
Series: N/A
Pages: 421
Source: Library

Buy: Amazon (UK)(USThe Book Depository

Goodreads Summary: “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?”

Lock and Key was the first book I’d read by Sarah Dessen. I know a lot of book bloggers consider her to be one of the best contemporary authors ever, yet I hadn’t read anything by her. As with Delirium, Divergent and so many other books, I decided to pay attention to the blogosphere and finally read a book by her. Let’s just say this: I am hooked. I can completely understand why she’s revered by so many readers. I’ve definitely been made into a Sarah Dessen fan!

Relationships are such an important part of Lock and Key. We explore Ruby’s relationship with her alcoholic and sometimes abusive mother. Ruby certainly hasn’t had an easy adolescence, and I understood her apprehension to accept what her sister Cora, along with her husband Jamie, were offering her. The life that they live is one that Ruby never dared to dream about, and she views Cora as the enemy, rather than as her sister. The relationship between Cora and Ruby was complex, but I was happy to see them take the steps to repair it, especially when Cora explains to Ruby that their mother wasn’t exactly who Ruby believed she was, and that Cora wasn’t as heartless as she seemed.

The romance between Nate and Ruby was definitely cute! There wasn’t any insta-love, and most of their relationship was extremely believable. Both Nate and Ruby had their secrets, and their flaws, yet they completed each other so well. This couple had me rooting for them from the very moment that they got together. I so desperately wanted to see them get their happily ever after, because after everything the pair had been through, I felt that they really deserved it.

I loved how Ruby’s English project played a large part of the story too. She spends a lot of time pondering what family means to her, and asks several people’s opinions on this statement too, including members of Jamie’s family. Jamie is possibly one of my most favourite secondary characters in the history of all the books I’ve ever read. The man loves Cora with all his heart. So much so, he plans his valentine celebrations in ‘waves’, and insists that they take part in large, family-filled celebrations during the holidays, because Cora never experienced that. He then happily welcomes Ruby into their home, even though he’s never met her before, and he loves her enough to pull her up when she comes home drunk.

Whilst I loved Nate and Ruby’s relationship, Cora and Jamie’s was the one that stole my heart, and I was happy that they got their happily ever after too. I love the conclusion that Ruby came to when she realised what family meant to her. That whilst your family are your blood relatives, family also extends to the people that you want it to.

It’s easy to see why people fall in love with Sarah Dessen’s work. Lock and Key was an addicting and absorbing, and it never strayed far from my thoughts when I wasn’t reading it. This book took the meaning of family and flipped it completely on its head. Plus it had plenty of cute, believable romance in it. I can’t wait to read my next book by Dessen – I’m completely sold on her!

5 thoughts on “Book Review: Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

  1. Magan @ Rather Be Reading

    This is super exciting to see you loved this one. I haven’t read Lock & Key by SD yet, so I’ll need to pick it up soon. I have read most of her other books, but never grabbed this one. Thanks for bringing it to my attention again!

    Reply
    1. Hollie

      I really, really enjoyed it! I can’t wait to see what SD has for me in store next. It seems that The Truth About Forever is most people’s favourites, so I’ll probably go for that one next! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Faye (Daydreaming_Star)

    This review reminded me of how much I loved Sarah Dessens – Truth about Forever so I went and got both Lock and Key and What Happened to Goodbye from the library! Looking forward to reading them both xD

    Great review! Looking forward to reading it myself!
    Yay for Sarah Dessen!

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Book Review: The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen - Music, Books and Tea

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