by Sarah Dessen
Originally published on April 22, 2008
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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?My take: I think of Lock and Key as one of the "darker" Sarah Dessens, as it deals with child neglect and abuse. Reading ALL the Dessens in order also made me *headsmack* clue into a huge Dessen trope: the older/younger sister relationship. Dessen books typically feature younger sisters who look up to their older sisters and watch them grow up, make mistakes, etc. In this book, Ruby's mom's erratic behavior has resulted in Ruby's estrangement from her older sister Cora. When Ruby's mom disappears, she's sent to live with Cora and her husband Jamie.
Lock and Key is all about families and family relationships (an idea that Ruby even has to explore in a school assignment.) I'd forgotten child genius Gervais, who's hilarious. In my past reading of the book, I found the romance fairly unresolved, and this re-reading confirmed that.
Lock and Key also features a lot of crossover character appearances. Annabel from Just Listen, Kiki Sparks from Keeping the Moon, Queen Houses from The Truth About Forever, Rogerson from Dreamland, and Barbara Starr from This Lullaby all either appear or are mentioned.
This post is not officially part of #ReadaDessen, but be sure to enter to win the Penguin contest for a full set of Dessen books here!