Since I became a member of the blogging world, I have seen many bloggers talk about Sarah Dessen. Many have explained her as their favorite author, go-to books, and author of books you can’t put down. Clearly, I needed to see what all of the hype was about. It was a good time for me to figure it out since my summer vacation from college started a few weeks ago, which means reading time! I ordered Lock and Key on Amazon a few weeks ago for about $4.00. I love good deals on books (read about my huge haul here). I was in the middle of a few other books when I received it in the mail, so I figured I would save it for my vacation. I read the book in a couple of days, mostly while sitting on the beautiful Delaware beach, and I am excited to talk about it!
*Spoiler Alert: I will definitely talk about the ins and outs of this amazing novel. If you plan on reading the book and don’t want to ruin any of the details, stop reading now. Read it as soon as you get the chance!
The first couple of chapters were a little slow for me honestly. The book opens up with the main character Ruby, a 17 year-old girl, moving in with her sister Cora. You learn that Ruby and Cora have been out of contact for 10 years, since Cora turned 18 years-old and moved out for college. Up until this point, it was just Ruby and her mom. Her mom drank and smoked weed a lot, held low level jobs, and provided minimal care for Ruby. In Ruby’s eyes, they only had each other. One day, her mom disappeared and never came back. Eventually, Ruby and her mom’s landlords, the Honeycutts, found out that Ruby was living by herself. Luckily, they reported the situation. Sitting there, listening to the social workers explain the situation to Cora, Ruby reaches up and touches something around her neck. A key. A key that is important to Ruby, but also symbolizes something else. Her trust. After the forced move, Ruby’s whole life changes drastically, in more ways than she could ever imagine.
Cora and her husband Jamie were very wealthy, young people who lived in a beautiful house, in an upscale neighborhood. Completely different from the various apartments and little yellow house that Ruby was used to. This new life warranted a new, fancy private school, money for expensive cloths, options to attend college after graduation, and even an attractive neighbor. With all of these changes, one thing stayed constant. The key. It was always right around Ruby’s neck, close to her. Ruby’s attitude was less than welcoming to the idea of her new life. Heading into this transition, Ruby believed she was the only “messed up” person in the world. She carried a lot of baggage and knew it, but she didn’t know that other people carried baggage as well. That is, until she got to know Nate Cross.
Throughout the novel, Ruby’s attitude changes drastically. Ruby, like her mom, drank and smoked weed a lot, didn’t care too much about school, and did not let herself get too close to anybody. At some point, the truth about their mother finally came out. Cora informs Ruby that their mother kept her away from her in every way possible. This explained the various moves that the two had made as well as the wedding invitation that their mother said must have been sent automatically. Ruby’s mom was terrified of Ruby leaving her, just like everyone else had. In the end, she did exactly what she didn’t want Ruby to do to her. She left Ruby by herself. When Ruby’s mother left, she left behind one thing, a very broken daughter who believed so many lies. The one person who Ruby thought she could trust, betrayed her.
With the help of Cora and Jamie, Ruby picked up her grades, changes her attitude, met new friends, learned about herself, and even got accepted to college. She started taking the time to get to know people, and even opened up to her new family and new friends. She became compassionate and caring, and she wanted to help people lead better lives, including herself. Before graduation, Ruby does something unimaginable, she throws her key into the backyard pond. She completely opened herself up to her new life, and put her old life behind her. Some things that are broken can be fixed with a little hard work and determination.
Of course, if you really want to understand how amazing this book is, read it. I promise you will not be able to put it down. I am so excited to read more books from Sarah Dessen!