Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Book Review: Lock and Key

Title: Lock and Key

Author: Sarah, Dessen

SPOILER FREE description (as explained here): 

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.

A History of Lock and Key: After writing her first book in a small townhouse, Dessen moved into a larger new house three years later. By reflecting back on her house, and what it symbolized in her life, she started to see how change affects you as person and the life around you. These themes later came to life in this novel, and into the minds of millions of fans since April 22nd 2008. It has since received an Iowa High School Award (2011) nomination. 

On the author, Sarah Dessen: Sarah grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Her college years took her to UNC-Chapel Hill, with her graduation with highest marks in Creative Writing. She's the author of 11 beloved stories, each with large honors to them, including many New York Times Best Sellers.  


Sarah Dessen. The author I'd heard so much about that I became wiry about starting on one of her novels. Much like the John Green fanbase, Dessen has a swarm of very loyal followers. Her name is splattered on every list of young adult contemporary books. I've passed by countless numbers of her books at the local story and library. It wasn't, however, until today that I finally gave her a shot.

I can tell you, I'm glad I did. Lock and Key was a great read for my tastes. It's just light enough so that I didn't feel like I was drowning in my own tears, yet deep enough to ask some real questions on real issues. Ruby was a neglected child who's mother abandoned her only a few weeks previously. She doesn't want to accept anyone's help or pity. It's only until the later half of the novel that the tables turn and Ruby understands someone who needs aide, but is too prideful or full of denial to let you. Nate was a perfect counter-balance for Ruby, with his upbeat attitude. His image of the helper, in his dad's business, as a ride to school, was interesting to watch as his relationship with his father developed. 

Themes of change and help were handled very well. Dessen didn't push them to hard, but they were still very present. More than Ruby and Nate's opinions on these topics were discussed. I loved how she brought in the secondary cast as well, Cora, Jamie and Olivia all got their moments. 

Lock and Key was not what I was expecting, but it was what I needed. 

Who would I recommend it to?
Over 13 year-olds. Anyone who enjoys a bit of mystery and  a feisty yet lovable protagonist. 

Favorite quote:
"Needing was so easy: it came so naturally like breathing. Being needed by someone else, though, that was the hard part. But as with giving help and accepting it. we had to do both to be made complete-like links overlapping to form a chain, or a lock finding the right key."

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