The Compulsive Reader: Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Ruby doesn't think too much of it when her mom takes off, leaving her to live alone in their small yellow house. She knows that she's just better off that way anyhow, and if she can keep up on rent and her job for the next few months, she can live alone, unbothered, until she hits her eighteenth birthday. But then the dryer breaks down, and her landlords poke their noses into her business, and before she really realizes it, she's sent to live with her sister Cora and her husband. Cora, who is almost as strange to her as an attentive mother, who left her 10 years earlier to go start her own life, and acts as if Ruby is a flaw in her perfectly laid out life. Ruby wants nothing more than to run away from her sister and become self sufficient, but then again, we can't always get what we want...

Lock and Key is a very vivid, honest, and poignant book. Each scene and situation is realistically portrayed, and moves at a good, steady clip. Dessen's trademark style of gathering scattered bits and pieces from the character's life and deftly weaving them together to create a seamless, beautiful novel shines radiantly through in Lock and Key. But it is the characters that define this book: quirky, puzzling, humorous, endearing, and completely and totally enjoyable. Dessen has succeeded in creating a protagonist that, though she is very different and unique, becomes intimately familiar to the writer throughout the course of the story, while at the same time never letting the plot become predictable. Lock and Key is sure to captivate readers again and again.

I've never really been a Sarah Dessen fan, simply because I haven't ever read any of her books before. But after a friend lent me Lock and Key, I am proud to say that I am a fan. Now I'm on a mission to read the rest of her books. Any suggestions as to what to read next of hers?
Also, congrats to Liv, whose comment won a copy of Twelve Long Months by Brian Malloy! Send me your address, Liv!


Anna said...

I can't wait to read this one! I didn't really like Sarah Dessen until I finally read one of her books a few months ago, lol. Now I'm on a quest to read them all. I just have one left, yay!

I just read Just Listen recently, and it was WONDERFUL. I recommend you read that or The Truth About Forever next. I read Last Summer already, and of what I've read, I think that's my least favorite book. It was her first novel, so that may be why, but it just didn't seem like her writing much to me.


Alea said...

Lock and Key was my first Dessen book too! I think when I get a chance Just Listen will be next, I've heard from a few people that it's pretty good!

Anonymous said...

Just Listen and The Truth About Forever are my favorites... :) I highly recommend those.

Anonymous said...

Just Listen is, in my opinion, her best book. The Truth About Forever has some strong messages to society in it, which I love. Then my next favorite is This Lullaby, simply because of the the protagonist's character.

Dominique said...

I loved this book as well! It's one of my favorite books by here now :) I really liked Just Listen and The Truth About Forever as well!

And I have to agree w/ you--Ella Enchanted was a FABULOUS book, but I can't say I'm a fan of the movie!

Anonymous said...

I love Just Listen, but I know some people like The Truth About Forever more. I think these two, plus This Lullaby are the most similar to Lock and Key.

That said, I also love Dreamland, and I think of all of Dessen's previous characters who make cameo appearances in Lock and Key, Rogerson is the only one mentioned by name.


Anonymous said...

Lock and Key was my second Dessen book. I had never really been into her books at all when I started reading YA because of their content. I'm not one to read about depressing or heavy issues; I prefer light, fluffy reads, haha. But finally, people on the Meg Cabot boards pressured me into it and I read Just Listen.

I LOVED IT. And then I was able to get an ARC of Lock and Key, and now I recently bought a used copy of That Summer, which I'm looking forward to reading.

Glad you enjoyed Lock and Key, and that now you're a Dessen fan. :)