Saturday, September 22, 2012

REVIEW: Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Title: Lock & Key
Author: Sarah Dessen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Speak (Penguin Imprint)
Release Date: April 22/2008
Acquired: Library Borrow
Goodreads: ADD

What happens when your past is not just past, but wiped clean entirely? How do you figure out where you’re going when you can’t even claim where you’ve been? These were the questions that inspired Lock and Key. It’s the story of a girl named Ruby who is abandoned by her mother and determined to make it on her own, even—and especially—when she is sent to live with her long-lost sister in a whole new world of privilege, family, and relationships. As Ruby learns, there’s a big difference between being given help and being able to accept it. And sometimes, it takes reaching out to someone else to save yourself.

This was my very first Sarah Dessen book, and as far as first impressions go, I enjoyed her style of writing and her ability to make her characters seem realistic.

I didn't take to Ruby's character at first, but I found that refreshing. I respected her more than I liked her, and I felt like that gave me a strong foundation to build on as she started to evolve. Towards the middle of the book, I moved beyond respect and was leaning more towards admiration. Sarah Dessen managed to create a character that had beyond a valid reason to be completely bitter and cynical, but didn't choose that road. Instead, she chose wariness and caution, and even when she began to trust the world she got thrown into, didn't conform to stereotypical "teenage" behaviour.

Sarah's writing style is so beautifully not in your face, and I found myself just wanting to stay immersed in the settings she placed her characters in. I mean the literal, concrete, wood and grass setting that was Ruby's sister's house. There aren't many books that could put me that close to a character's heel, physically. I was IN that house with Ruby, I felt that breeze blowing in from the balcony, smelled the grass and the pond just down below. Oh man, just writing this is putting me right back there-Sarah Dessen is a natural born descriptive artist, and I loved that this book was able to allow me such a feeling.

The storyline wasn't anything spectacular, but the quality and care in which Mrs. Dessen crafted her words made me appreciate the way it played out. There were just enough characters, and just the right mix of situations to bring me to the end feeling satisfied. I loved Nate and Olivia's characters-I think they lent a lot to Ruby's mind state, without being too aggressive or unrealistic.

I think Sarah's books and I are in the beginning stages of something really great, and I can't wait to pick up more of her work!

Read if you like:
Jenny Han
Susane Colasanti
Kasie West

Key Themes:
abandonment, loss, romance, finding yourself, coming-of-age


  1. Very nice follower and new e-mail subscriber.

    Great posts. I will be back to visit. :)

    Hope you can stop by my blog to read my post about the book conference I attended in New York City this past Saturday.

    A giveaway is also directly below my Mailbox Monday post.

    Silver’s Reviews

    1. Thank you so much Elizabeth! I just checked out your Mailbox Monday post and left a comment! Happy reading!

  2. Sarah is one of my favorite authors. Enjoyed Lock and Key when I read it too and looking forward to reading her latest this summer!


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