Lock and Key

Lock and Key

by Sarah Dessen
4.4 1166

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Overview

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

New York Times bestseller

Unlock your heart and the rest will follow.

 
Ruby is used to taking care of herself.
 
But now that she’s living with her sister, she’s got her own room, she’s going to a good school, and her future looks bright.
 
Plus there’s the adorable boy next door.
 
Can Ruby learn to open her heart and let him in?
 
“All the Dessen trademarks here” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
 
Also by Sarah Dessen:
Along for the Ride
Dreamland
Just Listen
Keeping the Moon
The Moon and More
Someone Like You
That Summer
This Lullaby
The Truth About Forever
What Happened to Goodbye

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780141324937
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 03/28/2009
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Sarah Dessen is the author of thirteen novels, which include the New York Times bestsellers The Moon and MoreWhat Happened to GoodbyeAlong for the RideLock and KeyJust ListenThe Truth About Forever, and This Lullaby. Her first two books, That Summer and Someone Like You, were made into the movie How to Deal
 
Dessen’s books are frequently chosen for the Teens’ Top Ten list and the list of Best Fiction for Young Adults. They have been translated into twenty-five languages. Sarah Dessen is the recipient of the 2017 Margaret A. Edwards Award from the Young Adult division of the American Library Association.
 
Sarah Dessen graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with highest honors in creative writing. She lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Jay, and their daughter, Sasha Clementine.
 
Visit Sarah at sarahdessen.com.

Hometown:

Chapel Hill, NC

Date of Birth:

June 6, 1970

Place of Birth:

Evanston, Illinois

Education:

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, degree in English.

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Lock and Key 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1166 reviews.
dedicated_reader More than 1 year ago
This book was very good. I have read all of Sarah Dessen's books and the way she ties everything together in the end is sensational. You cannot read this book during a busy time- aka finals... That would be a big mistake. This is definitely a must read!!
dholland08 More than 1 year ago
I loved Lock and Key. Not only is it tied with The Truth About Forever as my favorite Sarah Dessen book, it is now one of my favorite books ever. The story is narrated by Ruby. She's been living in a run-down farmhouse after her mother abandoned her. Although her living conditions are far from easy, Ruby thinks she's doing just fine. Then her living alone as a minor is discovered, and Ruby is shipped off to live with Cora, the older sister she hasn't seen in ten years. Cora's world is perfect, she has a huge house in an exclusive neighborhood, a good career as lawyer, and a nice, wealthy husband. Suddenly Ruby is surrounded by everything she never had and thought she could never have; a private school, new clothes, and a second chance. But for some reason she doesn't want any of it. Sarah Dessen's characters make this book great. There's Jamie, Ruby's optimistic brother-in-law; Nate the popular boy next door and Harriet, a jewelry making workaholic. Then there's Ruby herself. She is so layered, hiding truths about her life even from herself. Is she just a misfit in her new, priveleged life or is she something more? You'll have to read Sarah Dessen's exquisitely crafted novel to find out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ruby is having a hard time adjusting to her new life. She's not used to not having to worry about the bare necessities such as food and clothing. She's not accustomed to all the money. She's not used to living with her family.
It wasn't too long ago that Ruby's mother left her for good. No one besides Ruby knew, and she was planning to keep it that way until she turned eighteen and was legally an adult. But someone found out, and now Ruby has to live with her sister and brother-in-law. But Ruby doesn't know how to deal with this new lifestyle, or with her overly friendly neighbor Nate. Ruby doesn't like depending on anyone or letting anyone really get to know her. But Nate might be more like her than she thinks.
Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite authors of all time, and she does not disappoint with Lock and Key. I really love how Sarah Dessen can really capture the emotions people like Ruby feel, the stubborn independence and loneliness. She weaves a beautiful story of the healing of a girl and the healing she returns. Like all of Sarah Dessen's novels, Lock and Key is truly amazing. I found myself glued to the pages, not able to turn them fast enough.
There is a lot of symbolism in this novel, mostly stemming from the title, and this is what makes the story so brilliant. On one hand, there is Ruby who is reluctant to unlock her past to anyone but ends up letting Nate into her heart. On the other, Nate refuses to let Ruby unlock him. The struggles of both Ruby and Nate are so similar to some of the struggles many teens face today, although in different perspectives, and I really appreciated how realistic it was.
I highly recommend Lock and Key along with all of Sarah Dessen's other novels, including The Truth about Forever, This Lullaby, and Just Listen. Fans of Deb Caletti will also enjoy this novel, as well as teens everywhere. Great read...
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
It's been a quite a long time that I found myself sitting up until three in the morning, wanting desperately to finish a story. But that is exactly where I found myself the other night with LOCK AND KEY in my hands. I was so engrossed in Ruby and her story that I had to find out how it ended.

Ruby Cooper has always looked out for Number One. When Ruby was eight, her sister Cora left for university and never looked back. It was always Ruby and her mother, moving from one place to another. Her mother's excuse was to avoid creditors and landlords. Ruby slowly comes to find out that this is the version her mother wanted her to hear.

Early on in her senior year of high school, Ruby's mom does a runner. Leaving Ruby all alone in the rented yellow house, Ruby does what she can to survive. She will be eighteen in less than a year, and if she can hide the fact that she's alone until then, the authorities won't be able to touch her. But when the dryer fails at her rented house and the landlords notice a clothes line strung throughout the kitchen, Ruby's life is forever changed.

Custody of Ruby is given over to her older sister, Cora. Cora and her husband, Jamie, live in a wealthy community and live a life totally foreign to everything Ruby has ever known. Not trusting Cora and Jamie's intentions, Ruby plots an escape her first night in her new home. Making a break over the fence in the back yard, her escape is foiled by one rambunctious dog, Roscoe. Roscoe's barking brings a curious "Hello?" from the other side of the fence. Here she meets her next door neighbor, Nate. Nate's outlook on life is upbeat and infectious. But Ruby does everything she can to keep him at bay, as well.

Slowly, Ruby learns to adjust the new life she has been given, and develop friendships in the most unlikely places. Ruby has always kept on the fringes and avoided being indebted to anyone. But as she grows and evolves, she realizes that maybe others need her just as much as she needs them. With a class assignment to define "Family," Ruby understands that the word has many meanings, and most of them don't necessarily mean blood relations.

Sarah Dessen writes another amazing novel for young adults. LOCK AND KEY is wonderful, heartfelt story. All of the characters draw you in and make you feel like you are part of their lives. Jamie's naiveté is endearing. Cora's infertility struggles hit you in the heart. Olivia's tough girl exterior has cracks you get to see through. Harriett is just as harried as her name implies. And the perfect-seeming Nate has secrets all his own.

My only regret with this book is that I failed to move it to the top of my To Be Read pile as soon as it arrived for review. So if you have this one sitting around at home, make it the next one you read. And if you've picked it up at the book store, considering purchasing it, definitely do so the next time you are there. You won't regret it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sarah Dessen writes another amazing novel for young adults. LOCK AND KEY is wonderful, heartfelt story. All of the characters draw you in and make you feel like you are part of their lives. Jamie's naiveté is endearing. Cora's infertility struggles hit you in the heart. Olivia's tough girl exterior has cracks you get to see through. Harriett is just as harried as her name implies. And the perfect-seeming Nate has secrets all his own. Custody of Ruby is given over to her older sister, Cora. Cora and her husband, Jamie, live in a wealthy community and live a life totally foreign to everything Ruby has ever known. Not trusting Cora and Jamie's intentions, Ruby plots an escape her first night in her new home. Making a break over the fence in the back yard, her escape is foiled by one rambunctious dog, Roscoe. Roscoe's barking brings a curious "Hello?" from the other side of the fence. Here she meets her next door neighbor, Nate. Nate's outlook on life is upbeat and infectious. But Ruby does everything she can to keep him at bay, as well.  For years, Ruby and her mother moved from apartment to apartment. They lived in random places and cramped spaces above other people's garages. Finally, they find a little yellow house to rent. Ruby's mother, preferring to drown her sorrows in alcohol than deal with them head-on, made her daughter give her excuses to visitors, landlords, and bosses.  I would recommend this book to any young person, it keeps you going and that's what I love about Sarah Dessen and her books. Absolutely wonderful!!!!  
1DANA3 More than 1 year ago
This is funny, thought-provoking, and a great read. Lock and Key is a realistic view on life in this novel and brings together heart break, drama, and romance. The characters draw you in and make you feel like you are part of their lives. Ruby, Nate, Cora, Jaimie, Olivia, with all their true to life problems, are believable and endearing, be it, infertility struggles, tough girl verses push over, perfect exterior with hidden secrets and so on. I enjoyed!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was a little weary about reading this, after reading the back. This by far has to be one of Dessen's best books. In this book Dessen tells the story from the point of view of a 17 teen year old abandoned by her mother. When she is found by her landlords she is shipped off the live with her sister Cora, who she hasn't seen in ten years and is now married to a wealthy family guy. This book reveals relationships, and bonds of sisters struggling to make up for the time they have missed. This book also has a shocking suprise about a secret her mother has kept from her for years.
paulinatheweena More than 1 year ago
This book is a little bit of everything. Sarah Dessen doesn't just zone in onto one thing, she equally focuses on different issues going on. I love how she brings characters in from other books such as Rogerson-from Dreamland. He's also a drug dealer in here too. Kiki Sparks-she was the mom in Keeping the Moon. She's mentioned by one of the characters in here for her infomercials. Also Barbara Starr-Remi's mom in This Lullaby who's also a best selling novelist in this book. Even their personalities in here are identical to the ones displayed in their original books. This is a definite read. Try to drag it out because I never wanted it to end.
Cstaltre More than 1 year ago
This book was great! It was great how at the beginning Ruby was struggling and wouldn't let anyone into her life or didn't want help from anyone. Throughout the book the tables seem to turn. Not only does she try helping others who don't want their help, she realizes that this is the way she had been to those who were reaching out to her. It's a really great book with so much meaning.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A story about the matters of the heart, friendship and most importantly, family. About living in the moment and reaching out to others. Loved every single page of the book, I just might read it again. Or maybe twice.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first Sara Dessen book I have read thus far and am very impressed with her writing ability. I had heard many intriguing things about these books and decided to find out for myself. Dessen does an amazing job of characterizing all parts of the book. Each character has an amzingly unique personality. You really understand each of their personal struggles as it feels like you are going through them as well. I really enjoyed the diversity of the characters also. This story is really part of aa bigger picture in Ruby's struggle to adapt to everyday life as most know it. She is unlike most girls of her age which really captures the readers attention as she struggle to learn to trust. Ruby has a fear of owing anyone anything this Nate helps her through. Because her mother was an abusive alchoholic Ruby is able to sympathize with Nate whose father is also rather abusive. Their friendship pulls the reader in to hope that something more will happen so that they both might be able to help each other through overcoming their difficult stuggles. Dessen really creates so much suspension in their relationship making the reader want more and more just to find out what might happen. You cant put the book down once you have started reading it. Ruby's introvertedness is so individual it really lives up the book in the respect that her personal stuggle is something everyone else must also learn from. Also apparrent is the newness of a family unit in not only Ruby's life but, Cora's as well while they overcome personal struggles. Dessen portrays how unaccustomed each are to this situation or the new things they are experiencing throughout the book. For most this is not something they have been associated with before making this book so mush more interesting then others for the reason that it is not commonplace. I really appreciate situtions like these a lot more now that i have read the book, everyone has something to learn from it. Whether it is apparent to the reader in the beginning or not there is so much love that each character begins to show for one another because, they have begun to overcome their personal struggles. The diction in this book is individaul to each character which makes it significantly more interesting. This book also poses a sense of humor that intrigues the reader, Ruby's sarcasm is truly humorus. Dessen gives this story such a sweet touch even through all of the bad times it seems so endearing. The attention to detail is amazing in this book. Many things are described that provide really great sensory details to enlighten the reader. The attention to deatail is also well shown in the characters. They are shown down to the simple expressions on the characters face which is truly a valuable detail in a story like this, so as to make the reader feeel part of the story. Ruby's struggle with hanging on to the past but, also learnong to accept her new found love in her newfound family. She has many abstacles to overcome but, you go through them with her making this book all the more interesting. I definitely reccomend this story to all it holds so musch that many can appreciate. I really liked everything about this book. What made it most intriguing was that it was not in fact relateable like most other books strive to be. It is admirable that Dessen does not try to write like the other main steam authors of this time. I enjoyed it immensely and really hope to continue reading more and more of these books.
h_e_c24 More than 1 year ago
Lock and Key is written by Sarah Dessen and is fiction. One character is named Ruby who is stubborn, independent, tall and pale, and isn't a people person. That is until she meets Nate, who is caring, popular, hardworking, blonde, and is always thinking positive. Ruby also has an older sister named Cora who is caring, smart, willing, and motherly, is short, and has dark colored hair. I cannot identify with Ruby when her mom abandons her. This story takes place in a suburban neighborhood on the east coast. Behind the neighborhood in a greenway which leads to a new mall where Ruby works at a jewelry cart. The author is trying to tell readers that if you're going through a rough time you can or should tell someone. I think this story is about family coming together, love, and friendship. The theme of this book is that you don't have to be blood related to be a family. When Ruby's mom left her, Ruby went to live with her sister Cora and Cora's husband Jamie. Ruby and Cora have a 10 year difference in age so when Cora leaves for college, it's just Ruby and her mother. Ruby and her mom move around a lot, so Cora couldn't come back for Ruby because their mom drinks a lot and can never keep a job. A little over a year before Ruby graduates from high school, her mom left her to take care of herself in a dirty yellow house, until the landlords find out and take her to Poplar House. Jamie (Cora's husband) and Cora took in Ruby. When she first starts a new school she didn't want to make any friends. Nate, who lives beside Jamie and Cora is an all around good guy, and drives Ruby and Gervais to school every morning. After a few months, he and Ruby are a couple. A few later weeks Ruby finds out that Nate's father physically and verbally abuses Nate, but he won't let Ruby help him. I think a lot of people can relate to this book because it is so real. The thing I liked about this book is that it's not like most books; it's not all about romance, but about family and friends. I didn't really like how Nate moved back to Arizona with his mom. This story was kind of predicable, but I didn't think her mom would be in rehab. In the end Ruby gets into the U (local college), Nate moves back to Arizona with his mom, but will he return in the fall to go to the U. with Ruby? I guess you will have to read the book to find out! I would give this book four stars, and would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good read.
Mccsys More than 1 year ago
Lock and Key is a brilliant book about love, trust and emotion. It contains very real characters who really relate to the reader and their feelings. The book is about a 17 year old girl caller Ruby who has been abandoned by her mother and is sent to live with her long lost sister and her husband. She struggles in a new challenging school and has to deal with her " true friends ". Everything is going very wrong for Ruby until she meets the next door neighbor Nate, Nate helps Ruby find the truth about why her sister left her, her mother abandon her and how life is not as bad as it seems. Most importantly Ruby finds herself. A fantastic book that is witty, emotional, edgy and romantic . The writing bursts with life and will have you up all night. Lock and Key is defiantly a worthwhile read. (Freya 2010)
mariaelena_gg More than 1 year ago
This book is a page turner, it keeps you reading and reading!
Joey18 More than 1 year ago
I was truly surprised by how much of a page turner this book turned out to be. I really really loved it. I had only read one other Sarah Dessen book which was Dreamland, and I didn't really find it all that appealing. I'm a very big critic of books when it comes to the characters and how they make you feel. But this book pleasantly surprised me in the way that I could really connect to the characters. The story and the way that it unfolded was entirely real, and something that could really happen. Instead of jumping right into the relationships, Dessen let them develop in a way that was realistic. Which was one of the things that I loved. I also loved how everything came full circle in the end. The ending was beautiful, and yet heart wrenching (in a way, for me at least) at the same time. I would definitely reread this novel and give it about a 9 out of 10. I was captivated by her writing. Thank you Dessen.
QMS More than 1 year ago
I read Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen for a project in school. This was a very good book and it really got me thinking about how good my life is and how I should appreciate it more. This is about a girl named Ruby and how she has to deal with the difficulties of living with her sister, who she hasn't talked to in five years, and moving into and axtravagant new home and a new town. I would definitely recommend this to everyone I know for it is a must read if you love suspencful novels!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A perfect book with my kind of romance. This is so far my favrite Sarah Dessen book, and thats saying much (:
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
when i read this i could not put it down! my mom would always find me on my bed reading for hours every day and i sometimes forgot i had homework or school the next morning instead of going to bed!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my fave Sarah Dessen book, amd she is my fave author! I HIGHLY reccommend all of her books! DONT LISTEN TO THE HATERS!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book. I could not put it down. I recoomened this book for ages 12 and up becuase of some sections of the book. My favoorite thing that the author includes was that she included other characters from her other books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the book, hated the ending. Would still recommend it, though!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is truly a great book. I love it. This was the first book by sarah dessen i bought. I got it a my book fair at my school last year. I saw and it kindof interesting so that's why i got it. Let me tell you that was a great decision i made. D.N
SpartanReading More than 1 year ago
The book, Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen was a very captivating book. If I were to rate this book on a scale of 1 to 5 it would defiantly be a 5. I could not put it down because if you love Sarah Dessen's books like I do, you know that she has such a way with words. I would be up late at night reading because at the end of every chapter Sarah Dessen foreshadows and leaves you thinking, what happens next!? This book has not only romance, but some tragedy, and also bit of suspense, which to me, is a book worth reading. To summarize, Lock and Key is mainly about a girl named Ruby, who doesn’t exactly have the best family in the world. Her father walked out on the family when Ruby was five, she has a mother who is always drunk or smoking, and a sister, Cora, who is 10 years older than her who didn’t stay in touch with the family. But when her mother vanishes, for good, Ruby is on her own. Being only 17, it isn’t legal for her to be living on her own, and she gets busted. She now has to live with her sister Cora and brother in law, Jamie. At first life is awful. Ruby misses her old friends, her old school, and her old life, but things start to get better when she meets the cute neighbor Nate, and some other new friends that make Ruby realize that she doesn’t have it so bad after all. I would definitely recommend Lock and Key, but not to everyone. It is obviously a girly book, so guys would not enjoy reading it. But not all girls will either. You definitely need to like romance stories because there is a lot of romance throughout the whole book. For example, there are quite a few of couples throughout the book. Another thing is, you can’t be one to get very emotional because there is also some tragedy, such as Ruby’s relationships with people. A lot end in the book, and it gets a little sad. It was a very realistic book as well. Over all, I have to say this book was one of Sarah Dessen’s best. It is amazing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so good. Sarah Desson really painted a picture in my mind. Keep writing Sarah!!! ;)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the first book i read by sarah dessen and it wasnt the last. I absolutely adore her books. So far lock and key is my favorite. You should definately buy this book and all of the other books by her.