Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

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Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Buy Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Hannah Crookes
Reviewed by Hannah Crookes
Summary: A great book for teens featuring a strong main character struggling with life after being abandoned by her mother. Lock & Key has unforgettable characters, an interesting plot, and is beautifully written.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: April 2009
Publisher: Puffin
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0141324937

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Ruby Cooper is used to looking after herself. People, she has learned, just let you down. But when her mum abandons her completely, the authorities find out and, to her surprise, she is deposited in the lap of luxury – living with her estranged sister and brother-in-law. Ruby hasn't seen her sister for ten years, she didn't even know she was married. So while Cora and Jamie don't seem to mind having her there, Ruby isn't so sure. After all, this is the same sister who abandoned her with her unreliable mother all those years ago.

After a foiled escape attempt, Ruby slowly realises that she might just have to let people in. Her sister has a different side of the story and brother-in-law Jamie is wildly enthusiastic about whatever he does, including bringing Ruby into the family. Then there's Nate, the boy next door. A cute, rich-boy type who seems determined to be nice to her, helping her out whether she wants him to or not. But as she slowly learns that it might be ok to let people in, she also realises that no-one's life is perfect.

I love Sarah Dessen, especially The Truth about Forever, so I was excited to get a copy of Lock & Key. This book had all the elements of a great teenage fiction story; great characters, an interesting plot, and it's believably written. Ruby herself has come to the conclusion that she must expect the worst from people, at the start of the book she's basically counting down the days until she is eighteen and can live, with no strings or attachments, alone. Her past makes this decision understandable. Nate, the gorgeous guy next door, who cares for the world, seems to be the opposite of Ruby at first, but as the story progresses, it's clear they have far more in common. The romantic element seems a bit forced, but is enjoyable nevertheless. However, it's the secondary characters that really stood out for me, from down-to-earth Jamie, Cora struggling with her past, Gervais, the twelve-year-old genius, Harriet the obsessive businesswoman, and especially Olivia, who takes no nonsense, but really supports her friends.

Lock & Key was an interesting concept. Ruby is the ultimate latch-key kid, having lived on her own for two months before the authorities realise that she's alone. Her story is believable and entertaining, but also fairly surprising. As she slowly learns to trust other people, she finds herself reversing roles and offering help to others. This help isn't always accepted, which frustrates her despite the fact that this is exactly what she was like at the start of the book. This was a good book, not my favourite by Sarah Dessen, but really enjoyable nonetheless. I highly recommend it.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this book appeals then you really should read The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen.

Buy Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen at Amazon.co.uk

Buy Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen at Amazon.com.


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