Lock and Key is my first Sarah Dessen book.
I received a copy from Puffin UK (an imprint of Penguin UK) to review and had not had a chance to do so until Adele mentioned that she was doing a SD event on her blog, and how would I like to take part?
That was enough encouragement for me to fall into Lock and Key. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect and after the first few opening lines I knew this was going to be something really good. Here’s the synopsis from Sarah’s site for Lock and Key.
What happens when your past is not just past, but wiped clean entirely? How do you figure out where you’re going when you can’t even claim where you’ve been?
These were the questions that inspired Lock and Key. It’s the story of a girl named Ruby who is abandoned by her mother and determined to make it on her own, even—and especially—when she is sent to live with her long-lost sister in a whole new world of privilege, family, and relationships. As Ruby learns, there’s a big difference between being given help and being able to accept it. And sometimes, it takes reaching out to someone else to save yourself.
Sometimes a synopsis can capture a story’s essence and sometimes it doesn’t. This synopsis works in that it teases you with hinting at what Ruby experiences, when in reality the story contained within Lock and Key is multifaceted and has some valuable life lessons to teach. You can peel back the layers of the story, of the characters and their development and journey or if you want to you can read it platonically for its pure honest story telling and its subtle love story at its heart.
Ruby’s sister Cora whose actions (by taking the abandoned Ruby in) form the catalyst at the heart of Lock and Key. Cora has to be my favourite character in L&K. She initially comes across as cold, distant and unlikeable, until you realise that there is something more to her actions than meets the eye. Slowly but surely, just as Ruby finds out more about her long lost sister, we come to see Cora as a singularly brave, deeply caring and an accomplished young woman who had worked herself up from a dire background to become a person of means who has a loving husband and a lovely home. What I especially like about Cora’s character is that she never appears to be overbearing towards Ruby or anyone else, to sort of brag about how much she now has, compared to what little she had when growing up. Cora and Jamie give Ruby enough freedom to explore her new surroundings and although they aren’t huggy-types, Ruby comes to realise that she has a home with them. Cora’s support remains unstinting and together the sisters reforge the bond they had when they were much younger.
As you can tell, I peeled back the layers and examined the book thoroughly and have come away in awe of Ms. Dessen’s work. She is an accomplished writer that literally sucks you into the world she’s created. Her work spans both the young adult and adult market in my opinion and because of the style of writing and the wonderful use of language and insights her characters are blessed with, it makes for very contemplative reading.
Thanks Adele for letting me witter on about the one and only book I had read – thus far! – by this excellent author.
Good luck with the rest of the blog and can I just say: happy birthday to Sarah – you have given all your readers a tremendous present by writing with such skill and love. Here’s hoping we can return that to you and don’t appear too greedy and tiresome when we keep asking you when we can look for the next Sarah Dessen book on the shelves
A big thank you to Liz for her lovely words. I feel all warm inside that I was a catalyst in getting her to crack open a Sarah Dessen book! Liz is a fantastic blogger from the UK, her blog (My Favourite Books) is constantly being updated and is a great source of UK titles, authors and events.
Tomorrow – Elizabeth Scott, author of newly released Something Maybe.