Rating: 4 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Teens, clean romance readers
High point: Ruby's brother-in-law
Low point: Ruby's old friends
Reader maturity: 13+
Lock and Key wasn't the mind-blowing experience that The Truth About Forever was, but it was emotional and poignant just the same, perhaps even more so. I didn't connect with Ruby the same way I did with the main character from The Truth About Forever, but Ruby is still a strong, 3-dimensional powerhouse.
Lock and Key was painful. It was hard to read about so much heartbreak, but that's the beautiful thing about Sarah Dessen's novels--there's a happy, or at least happier, ending in sight. On the back of the book, the ending of the synopsis says this:
Sometimes, in order to save yourself, you've got to reach out to someone else.That sums up Lock and Key perfectly. Ruby is withdrawn and unattached, and she likes it that way...or so she thinks. Gradually though, she lets her defenses down and finds out that even though that means getting hurt, getting hurt is better than not feeling anything at all.
Ruby's relationship with her older sister, Cora, was picture perfect (I assume, as someone who has no sisters). Cora is angry and withdrawn herself but tries so hard to give Ruby the life she was never able to have. Cora's husband is the heart of this novel--the patient, kind, understanding Jamie. He provides the stability and protection that Ruby never received from anyone else. Without him, there would be no novel and no happy ending. Ruby and her distant-but-patient love interest hit a lot of bumps on the road, but in the end, it's a typical Sarah Dessen ending--predictable but appreciated all the same.
As usual, Lock and Key is well-written and appeals to teens and adults of many different ages and backgrounds. It's not groundbreaking, but it isn't supposed to be.
Title: Lock and Key
Author: Sarah Dessen
Genre: Teen Fiction - Girls & Young Women
Book Source: Purchased