Lock and Key book


I have been reading Sarah Dessen books for years.  I have always recommended her books to my high school students.  I get why teenage girls are drawn to her.  Her characters and storylines about life, love, friendship and loss ring true to young adults and connections are made. They are usually as excited as me when a new book hits the bookshelves.  I know some my students saw the ARC of her newest book, Lock and Key on my desk. I know some of them would have loved to snatch it off my desk too. I am so glad that they didn’t because then I would’ve missed another enjoyable Dessen book that was beautifully written. 

Ruby thought she could make it on her own.  After all she pretty much took care of her mom instead of the other way around of her mom taking care of her. Ruby’s mom would never win any Mother of the Year awards.  Ever since her parents divorced her mother has been on a downward slide. A lot of responsibility is put on Ruby – she does the cooking, cleaning, paying the bills plus juggling her school workload.  Her life is just not easy.  The one person that she could count on her older sister Cora moved out to go to college and never looked back. Who could really blame her?

Ruby came home one day to discover that good ol’ mom was gone.  She didn’t think the situation would be permanent, the money her mom took with her would run out sometime or another but until then she was on her own.  For awhile she was doing okay, well maybe okay is stretching the truth a bit, but then her busybody landlords figured out what was going on and called family services. There is no way a minor can stay at the home alone so soon Ruby is placed in Cora’s care, the sister she hasn’t seen in over 10 years.  Life has been very good to Cora since she left.  She is a successful attorney, married to a great guy and lives in a gorgeous house in an exclusive neighborhood.  Any girl would be thrilled to be set up in a posh pad like that after living in poverty but not Ruby who harbors anger toward her sister for leaving her all those years ago.

The key word to Ruby’s new life is “adjustment”.  Tentative steps to repair the rift between the two sisters are taken.  They are forced to face their painful past so they can move forward. Truths come to light.  It is not easy for either of them.  Ruby is fiercely independent and doesn’t want to depend on anyone for anything nor does she want to care about anyone either but throw in a cute boy next door, some kids from her new school, and a neurotic control freak but lovable lady, Ruby learns a whole new definition of family, love and friendship.