Monday, July 14, 2008

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

“Ruby, where is your mother?”

Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she’s been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return.

That’s how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn’t seen in ten years, and Cora’s husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future—it’s a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give?

Grade: A -

(Thanks once again to JL for the book!)

Memorable Quotes/Lines:
"And the rest is history," I said.
"Nah." He shook his head. "The rest is now."


Major hesitation struck me when it was time to pick up this book. I’ve been reading online reviews. Some of them are not pretty. Most say the book was okay, but not Sarah Dessen’s best effort. A lot say the characters are underdeveloped. A handful more comment on the book’s sluggish pace.

Let me just say, as much as I am a fan of Sarah Dessen’s works, I’ve always thought she was a bit overrated. Sure, her stories were enjoyable and quite authentic, but, This Lullaby aside, none of her books struck me as just omglikewhoa. I’d never understood the hype surrounding her work.


That was then.

After reading Lock and Key, this is now:

You know those stories that you just get lost in, immersing yourself through them because you care so much about the protagonist? You know those stories that make you care about the protagonist because you can identify yourself in them? You know those stories that make you identify with the characters because they’re so well written and developed, they jump off the page and speak to you?

Did you know that this was my experience when reading Lock and Key?

Sarah Dessen is notorious for creating tough main characters, but the depth I found in Ruby Cooper is unmatched. Perhaps it’s because of the mother-daughter complex explored in the story. Perhaps it’s because Ruby had to move around a lot and I can relate to that. Perhaps it’s just because Ruby is one of those characters who inexplicably resonates with the reader, even if the two share nothing in common.

After much searching, I’m finally seeing what the fuss is about with Sarah Dessen. I didn’t think she’d create a character more perfect than Dexter from This Lullaby. Well, what she did here was even better. I still love Dexter to bits; he’s still—and always will be—my favorite Dessen character. But the supporting cast here was my favorite of any book of hers, if only because I felt she developed them all to their fullest potential, each and every one of them, through and through. Jamie, in particular, reminded me a bit of Dexter, and that’s never a bad thing. More than anything, though, was the chemistry between the characters. Flawless.

With this novel, Sarah Dessen has cemented her absolute stellar image in my mind.

Lock and Key? Sheer amazing. Highly recommended. One of my favorite books this year, and definitely one of my favorite Sarah Dessen books.


Amee said...

Yay! Finally you have seen the magic that is Sarah Dessen. :P

I haven't read Lock and Key yet but it's near the top on my TBR pile.

Anonymous said...

Great review!! I loved this book too. :) I really enjoy Sarah Dessen, even though I've only read two books by her so far, this one and Just Listen.

So glad you enjoyed Lock and Key too- those people who didn't like it are just too stupid to realize the amazingness of this book. :P hehe

Zulmara said...

Great review...have not read much of Sarah's work, but this sounds like it is worth giving a try...



Liviania said...

Haha, I haven't drunk the Dessen-ade yet either. But I like Lock and Key and Just Listen quite a bit.

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