Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

I recommend this book for: high school

Ruby is 17 and has been living alone for months. Her mother is an alcoholic who frequently disappears, but this time she doesn't come back. Ruby is working and going to school, managing just fine - or so she thinks until her landlords realize the situation. Suddenly Ruby is taken from her home and put under the care of her older sister, who she hasn't seen since the day Cora left for college almost 10 years earlier. Cora is now married, practices law, and has a huge house in an exclusive neighborhood. Ruby is also enrolled in private school, and the adjustment she has to make is huge. And then there's Nate, the attractive and extremely popular neighbor who insists on driving Ruby to school and being Mr. Nice Guy, but there's a lot more going on his life than he's letting on.

I'll admit, I didn't like this one as much as The Truth About Forever or Just Listen, but it was everything a Sarah Dessen book should be, and that's saying a lot. The characters are complex people in difficult situations, and Ruby comes out as a strong young lady. Not all of the issues are resolved by the end, but they're manageable, and you get the feeling that this group of people can handle whatever else might come their way. Definitely a good read!


Some spoilers here! You knew there was going to be small print on a Dessen book! This one obviously deals with the alcoholism of Ruby's mother, and Ruby and her friends drink and smoke pot in the beginning of the book. Ruby is semi-dating a drug dealer as the book opens. However, Ruby leaves all of that behind her after a discussion with Cora in which she realizes that she's becoming too much like their mother. There's one scene where sex is implied, but it happens "off-camera", and Ruby mentions that her mother sometimes brought home strange men. One of the characters has a physically abusive parent.

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