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Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
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Lock and Key (edition 2008)

by Sarah Dessen (Author)

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3,6191482,575 (3.96)79
When she is abandoned by her alcoholic mother, high school senior Ruby winds up living with Cora, the sister she has not seen for ten years, and learns about Cora's new life, what makes a family, how to allow people to help her when she needs it, and that she too has something to offer others.
Member:ManDUH_13
Title:Lock and Key
Authors:Sarah Dessen (Author)
Info:Viking Books for Young Readers (2008), Edition: First Edition, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

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“Lock and Key” follows the life of seventeen-year-old Ruby Cooper after her mother one day leaves their home and doesn’t return. For a while Ruby works around the lack of heat, broken pipes, leftover bottles, and struggles to pay the rent and other bills. But eventually the landlord discovers that Ruby has been abandoned by her mother, and before she realizes it, Ruby is being sent off to live with her older sister, Cora, who left them as soon as she turned eighteen.

Cora and her husband Jamie turn out to be ridiculously nice people, despite the fact that Jamie is the founder of one of the most popular social networking sites ever and yet is still digging his own koi pond. Ruby has her own room, bathroom, her choice of breakfast foods, and an entire wardrobe supplied for her. But she struggles to understand why exactly her mother has left, where she went, and what Ruby is supposed to do in the meantime.

Sarah Dessen is well-known for her portrayals of strong female characters as they encounter a variety of challenges and changes; this novel is another example of her engaging writing. ( )
  resoundingjoy | Jan 1, 2021 |
What can I really say. I loved this book to pieces. It's been a while since I can say that a book was picture perfect from beginning to end, but I really did find this book worked great. I had no issues with the writing, dialogue, plot, setting or pacing. I went and borrowed a ton of other Sarah Dessen books from the library as soon as I finished "Lock and Key." I read this for the "Key to My Heart" square for Romance Book Bingo 2017.

The main character in "Lock and Key" is Ruby Conner. Ruby is a senior at Jackson High School living in North Carolina. Through bits and pieces we find out that Ruby was in foster care temporarily after it becomes known that she is living alone and her mother is nowhere to be found. Placed with her older sister Cora that she hasn't seen in years, "Lock and Key" is really Ruby's journey learning to figure out what it truly means to be family, and how sometimes the hardest thing to do is stay and just support someone.

I freaking loved Ruby. I mean loved her. I wanted to hug her, give her some chocolate cake, and tell her that she is awesome. I have never fallen so quickly into another teen character's head since Harry Potter. Ruby's vulnerability and her general belief that she could take care of herself with help from no one we see get reworked from the beginning of the book to the end. Ruby and Cora's shaky relationship due to Ruby's belief that her sister had abandoned her we also see slowly changes through the course of the book. I loved that Dessen didn't just throw out hey Ruby you are wrong from other characters either. Ruby had to see and feel that her way or really her mother's way of acting was just not what she needed anymore. Ruby's reluctant friendship with Nate also got me too. I loved how she got to see that someone who she thought had a perfect life, really did not, and that her just saying this is too hard, was actually not what he or she needed.

All of the secondary characters got to shine in this too. I loved Nate. Man oh man, his backstory regarding his mother and his father was just heartbreaking. A kid who doesn't want to be in the situation he is, but doing the best he can until he is 18 and can be free.

Ruby's sister Cora was also such a great character. There is a scene when Cora's husband Jamie is rightfully angry and yelling at Ruby, and Cora steps in front of her like she did when they were kids and their mom was on a tear. I wanted to hug them both. We get to see that Cora is just as unsettled having what she considers a "good" life and not being used to things like huge family dinners, Christmas cards, etc.

I loved Harriet and Reggie, and heck pretty much everyone. Well except for Ruby's old friends at Jackson who she got to see for herself were not true blue friends at all.

The writing takes a look at a lot of things. Drug and alcohol abuse, child abuse, and even abandonment. Dessen does a good job of not prettying things up which I appreciated. I also applaud her since she writes Ruby really well. I have a hard time with some YA authors having teens talking like characters from Dawson's Creek.

That was always my big thing about that show, no one my age sounded that pretentious. Did we sound like asses though? Yes, all teens do at one time or the other.

The flow was great too. We pretty much get to see Ruby over a course of a school year til her graduation which I really appreciated. Spare me from books that have a character do a day/night change in a month or two. It's not realistic. It would have been great to see Ruby in her therapy sessions, but I was happy with what we got.

The setting of Lakeview, North Carolina sounded pretty polarizing. When Ruby is transferred from Jackson to what she considers the rich kid school, I was so happy we didn't see some Mean Girls shtick in this book. We got to see a lot of secondary characters there with tons of nuance as well.

The ending was really great. I can picture Ruby and now her family and her family of choice. I am going to see if Dessen ever follows up on Ruby and others from this book. It looks like she revisits the town of Lakeview in a lot of books, so it be nice to see a shout out to Ruby and other characters we have met. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
this is a great book. It is sad with Nate and all though. I love all of Sarah Dessen's books. I love how all the books sor of link together, all these simalarities. ( )
  angelgay | Jul 1, 2020 |
I considered giving this book five stars, but...
WARNING WARNING
This book has swear words. There is (minor) underage drinking . There is mentions of kissing .
WARNING OVER
The family. I loved it. The friends were great. ( )
  Wanda-Gambling | May 9, 2020 |
I don't think it's possible for Sarah Dessen to not write an incredible book. ( )
  Michelle_Boyea | Jun 7, 2019 |
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For Leigh Feldman, for seeing me through this time, every time. And to Jay, always waiting on the other side.
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"And finally," Jamie said as he pushed the door open, "we come to the main event. Your room."
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When she is abandoned by her alcoholic mother, high school senior Ruby winds up living with Cora, the sister she has not seen for ten years, and learns about Cora's new life, what makes a family, how to allow people to help her when she needs it, and that she too has something to offer others.

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Book description
Lock and Key is about girl named Ruby who has lived with her mom all her life. Then suddenly her mom leaves her and Ruby is forced to live with her sister Cora. Ruby is overwhelmed by all the fancy things that now surround her. Ruby, a complicated and independent girl, is reluctant to learn about the new world she lives in now. A close friend of hers is facing a similar situation like Ruby’s; will Ruby be able to give her friend the help that she never got?
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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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