Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lock and Key, by Sarah Dessen- Review

When my grandma went into the hospital I dropped everything and hopped a flight across the country in under 24 hours.  I was pretty sure I wouldn't be there more than a week, so I packed four books, not wanting to wildly over pack my small bag.  Of course one week quickly turned into two, and eight hour days of bed side vigilance ate through my books faster than expected.  Thank god for Indigo!  Five days after I arrived they had a quick two day sale where you could buy 4 books for the price of 3, the timing couldn't have been better if it was planned!

So my mom and I stopped on our way home one night, and hit up the teen area looking for 4 lightish reads (IE-nothing super depressing or dark, since we had that in droves).  Although there were oodles of hardcover new books I wanted, I aimed for paperbacks, since I already had 4 other books to take home with me as well.  I walked out with Dust and Decay (which I absolutely had to have ASAP), Wither, The DUFF, and Lock and Key.  After Dust and Decay Sarah was my first pick, I loved Along for the Ride last summer and had been meaning to get to What about Goodbye, but I knew she had a great selection of older paperbacks that would all be awesome as well. And, lets face it, cheaper and lighter too.

Ruby never expected to see her estranged sister Cora again, and certainly not after being abandoned by her mother and caught trying to look after herself by family services.  Being thrown into Cora's ritzy lifestyle, with a beautiful house, money to spare and a charming husband who's the brains behind one of the biggest networking websites out there, is not the picnic you'd think it would be.  Suddenly everyone wants her to be part of a family, part of a school, part of a carpool, and all Ruby wants to do is go back to the yellow house and fend for herself. 

There is such a positive vibe to Sarah's books, which is funny when she often deals with negative things, but something about how she writes is so uplifting.  I always feel really good after reading her books, like there must be so many wonderful things waiting out there for me.  I'm not sure any other author has left me with that feeling, and so it seems really unique to her.  Sure Bill Waterson makes me laugh and puts me in a good mood no matter what, and sure J.K. Rowling makes me feel like I've been on a fantastic journey with friends but nobody makes me feel like today is the day all the good stuff happens, and maybe I should buy a lottery ticket.

Besides being so sunny, her stories are filled with compelling characters you're happy to cheer on.  I'm not sure if it's the contemporary YA genre (I read so little of it outside of Dessen) or if it's just her particular touch, but I always feel like I really know her characters.  They're familiar and down to earth and very very approachable, just like all the other elements of her stories.  Not to mention her dialogue is unquestionably dead-on, always an impressive feat.
All in all Lock and Key was just another fabulous Sarah Dessen read, engaging, uplifting and with a upbeat happy ending I can 100% recommend to you any time of year, no matter what your circumstance at the time.  But especially if you're having a bad day, or worse yet, a bad week.

Lock and Key, by Sarah Dessen
Published by Speak, May 2009 (paperback reprint)
Check out Sarah's website
Take a sneak peek at the story
Buy Lock and Key on Amazon


  1. I love Sarah's style, too. I don't need a Wichita locksmith service to tell me that Lock and Key is a great book. Thanks for the honest review!

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