Second Chance Sunday – Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

I originally read and reviewed those over at Galleysmith but I thought it deserved a second look. One of my fave Dessen books for sure.

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Title: Lock and Key [Amazon]
Author: Sarah Dessen [website]
Publisher: Speak
Genre:  Contemporary
Source/Type: Purchased/Paperback
Stars: 4 of 5

Publisher Description:
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?

Best-selling author Sarah Dessen explores the heart of a gutsy, complex girl dealing with unforeseen circumstances and learning to trust again.

My Thoughts:
Dessen, Dessen, Dessen! She has managed to do it again! This is like my fourth book by her and all I can say is that she gets it. She knows what a reader wants whether a teenager or a 30 something year old like myself and she delivers exactly that. She gives you family drama and relationship angst and quirky friends and outs them all into an exquisitely written story of finding out who you are.

Lock and Key is the story of a girl that is plain lost. Her father abandoned her as a baby, her sister left her when she was a child and her mother disappeared when she was a young adult. Having been living on her own for a few months Ruby thinks she is fine and can manage until graduation. Sadly that isn’t the case. Forced to move in with her estranged sister and her husband Ruby is out of sorts living in a world that is everything she isn’t. She is sent to a fancy school, given money to buy fancy clothes and is living in a fancy house. Every instinct Ruby has is to run and never look back. But as time progresses and things change Ruby starts to grow and form relationships. She makes friends, involves herself in a romance and patches things up with her sister Cora. She realizes that it is okay to need people, okay to want people in your life.

Watching this transformation was truly uplifting for me. In the beginning I wasn’t crazy about Ruby. I got that she got the short end of the stick, but I didn’t understand why she was shying away from all the opportunities that were laid out in front of her. Jaime, her sister’s husband, welcomed her with opened arms. Nate, the adorable boy next door, let her in and was a friend to her even when he was going through things on his own. And Cora took her sister with no questions asked and gave her a home even though she had mixed feelings herself. To me the fact that Ruby shunned all this made her seem like a spoiled brat and nothing would be good enough for her. But she surprised me. Instead of closing herself off, locking herself away, she slowly let people in, let people love her. And because of that she became truly likable. I found myself actually caring about what happened to her.

Typical Dessen this book was filled with little hints and interwoven things from her other novels that makes you feel at home. Whether it is the mention on UMe, or the fancy college in DC or a sleepy beach town, she makes you feel like you never left her world and I am truly grateful for that. I look forward to reading more from this amazing author.

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