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Lock and Key
Lock and Key
Author: Sarah Dessen
Ruby hasn't had much success with family. Her father left; her protective older sister, Cora, left; and her boozing mother finally leaves, too. Ruby is alone until Cora learns of her situation and swoops in. Suddenly, Ruby finds herself living with Cora and her wealthy brother-in-law, attending private school, and wondering just where she fi...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780142414729
ISBN-10: 0142414727
Publication Date: 5/14/2009
Pages: 432
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.

4.2 stars, based on 118 ratings
Publisher: Puffin
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

Bookfanatic avatar reviewed Lock and Key on
Helpful Score: 2
I normally don't read Young Adult fiction because I find the books are too shallow. This book wasn't as shallow as I thought it would be, but the pacing is very slow. If this book and a glacier had a race, the glacier would win. There's not much of a plot. The story drags in sections. I skimmed some pages just so that I could get past them. There are sections that are repetitive. Too many undeveloped characters are introduced and the main characters such as the sister and the brother-in-law aren't developed enough to get a real sense of who they are. Actually most of the main characters are pretty flat and one dimensional.

This book isn't terrible, but it's not great either. It's just average.
GeniusJen avatar reviewed Lock and Key on + 5322 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Reviewed by Jaglvr for

It's been a quite a long time that I found myself sitting up until three in the morning, wanting desperately to finish a story. But that is exactly where I found myself the other night with LOCK AND KEY in my hands. I was so engrossed in Ruby and her story that I had to find out how it ended.

Ruby Cooper has always looked out for Number One. When Ruby was eight, her sister Cora left for university and never looked back. It was always Ruby and her mother, moving from one place to another. Her mother's excuse was to avoid creditors and landlords. Ruby slowly comes to find out that this is the version her mother wanted her to hear.

Early on in her senior year of high school, Ruby's mom does a runner. Leaving Ruby all alone in the rented yellow house, Ruby does what she can to survive. She will be eighteen in less than a year, and if she can hide the fact that she's alone until then, the authorities won't be able to touch her. But when the dryer fails at her rented house and the landlords notice a clothes line strung throughout the kitchen, Ruby's life is forever changed.

Custody of Ruby is given over to her older sister, Cora. Cora and her husband, Jamie, live in a wealthy community and live a life totally foreign to everything Ruby has ever known. Not trusting Cora and Jamie's intentions, Ruby plots an escape her first night in her new home. Making a break over the fence in the back yard, her escape is foiled by one rambunctious dog, Roscoe. Roscoe's barking brings a curious "Hello?" from the other side of the fence. Here she meets her next door neighbor, Nate. Nate's outlook on life is upbeat and infectious. But Ruby does everything she can to keep him at bay, as well.

Slowly, Ruby learns to adjust the new life she has been given, and develop friendships in the most unlikely places. Ruby has always kept on the fringes and avoided being indebted to anyone. But as she grows and evolves, she realizes that maybe others need her just as much as she needs them. With a class assignment to define "Family," Ruby understands that the word has many meanings, and most of them don't necessarily mean blood relations.

Sarah Dessen writes another amazing novel for young adults. LOCK AND KEY is wonderful, heartfelt story. All of the characters draw you in and make you feel like you are part of their lives. Jamie's naiveté is endearing. Cora's infertility struggles hit you in the heart. Olivia's tough girl exterior has cracks you get to see through. Harriett is just as harried as her name implies. And the perfect-seeming Nate has secrets all his own.

My only regret with this book is that I failed to move it to the top of my To Be Read pile as soon as it arrived for review. So if you have this one sitting around at home, make it the next one you read. And if you've picked it up at the book store, considering purchasing it, definitely do so the next time you are there. You won't regret it!
notdonebaking avatar reviewed Lock and Key on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I've really of Sarah Dessen's book. And I've loved most of them, actually, I've loved all but two of them (That Summer and Someone Like You). While Lock and Key isn't going to fall into the favorite category (Just Listen and This Lullaby and The Truth About Forever) it will fall into the love category (Dreamland and Keeping the Moon).

Ever since I heard about SD coming out with a new book I was eagerly awaiting the release date. I devoured all of SD's book within a month and it had been awhile since then. While I can't say I was disappointed by Lock and key, I will say that the book was a bit of a let down.

The main reason I disliked the book was that I felt like SD was losing her touch. We've heard all of this before. The abused boyfriend (Rogerson is hit by his Dad in Dreamland), the distant mother (uh, take your pic), the new town/new friends motif (Keeping the Moon comes to mind). And while, yeah, these are typical things to write about, I felt that it was just too familiar because with SD's writing it's all intertwined. Rogerson has a fair sized part in the book, Kristy and Wes's brother show up, Annabel and Owen are both mentioned, Barbara Starr shows up.(Dreamland, The Truth About Forever, Just Listen, This Lullaby, respectively.) SD's books would make for a very short game of 6 degrees and while I'm not saying all their plot lines are original, I think that it's important to keep every different in order to, well differentiate the books.

While I thought with the story lines SD was losing her touch, she still shines through with being able to weave multiple story lines together. Not a lot of authors manage the many subplots of life and hit it on target. I wish the story line with Ruby's dad had been closed up, rather than the story line with her mother. To me, it should have ended with her running away. For me, that was enough. But, I felt like her Dad might have actually wanted a relationship with her or some sort.

Ultimately, I liked the book, I just wish it hadn't felt so familiar.
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jennifera228 avatar reviewed Lock and Key on + 2 more book reviews
amazing story
reviewed Lock and Key on + 24 more book reviews
this book was amazing. i loved the whole idea of the story
reviewed Lock and Key on + 31 more book reviews
I have been trying to read this book. Forced myself to keep reading got to page 200 and just gave up couldnt get into it.
skywriter319 avatar reviewed Lock and Key on + 784 more book reviews
Living on her own for a few weeks after her mother abandons her, seventeen-year-old Ruby is turned in to social services by her nosy landlords. They place her in the care of her sister Cora, ten years her senior, and her husband Jamie, both intrepid young entrepreneurs living the American dream in a wonderhouse.

To Ruby, of course, who's always strived to be self-sufficient, this is no dream come true. She just wants to get through her last year in high school, and then get a job. Now she's being put into Perkins Day, an elite private school in town, and her sister and brother-in-law are encouraging her to think about college the next year.

Ruby means to get through senior year the way she has always done--by staying invisible and not making any connections--but it's hard to ignore the friendliness of her next-door neighbor and carpool driver, Nate, one of the most popular guys in school, who has family secrets of his own. Before she knows it, Nate and her are friends, and then maybe more, and more and more she begins to settle into this life as if she had been born into it. But her greatest challenge doesn't come from her own adjustment: it's applying what she has learned about the "okay-ness" of being helped by others to the most important people in her life.

Sarah Dessen's novels never lack character development, and LOCK AND KEY is no exception. Once again Lakeview is a world where readers will want to live.