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Lock and KeyReview - Lock and Key
by Sarah Dessen
Speak, 2009
Review by Christian Perring
Nov 24th 2009 (Volume 13, Issue 48)

Sarah Dessen has shown herself to be a reliable author of young adult literature mainly aimed at teenage girls that deals with serious subjects.  In Lock and Key she examines families and dysfunctional parents.  Ruby is 17 and has lived alone with her mother for 10 years as they go from house to house, escaping from landlords and leaving no forwarding address.  Her mother drinks and has various random boyfriends, and Ruby's life has been very difficult.  Her older sister Cora left home for college ten years ago and Ruby hadn't heard from her since then.  But now she has had to move in with Cora and her husband because Ruby's mother just left with no word of where she was going, and the authorities discovered her living on her own in a complete mess.  Ruby has had to leave her old high school and join a rich private one, because Nate is an Internet millionaire and so she has gone from poverty to wealth, which she finds very strange.  She doesn't know how to talk to her sister and she does not feel at home in her sister's house.  They have much to talk about.

Ruby makes friends with Nate the boy next door to Cora, also a senior. He is very helpful and he rescues her from herself when she goes off, gets high, and passes out in the woods.  While she is snooty and judgmental towards him, he is accepting and friendly, and she eventually comes to be good friends with him.  Then she notices that his relationship with his father is unhealthy, because Nate gets bullied and even hit by his father.   Ruby eventually turns from a victim of her mother to being able to help Nate escape from his father's violence. 

Through all of this Ruby comes to better understand the meaning of family, both its strengths and weaknesses.  It's a good story with some interesting characters, and it highlights the plight of teenagers with troubled parents.  Many teens will find it both entertaining and helpful.  The unabridged audiobook is performed by Rebecca Soler in a strong production. 

 

Links:

·         Sarah Dessen website

·         Someone Like You Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on May 13th 2003

·         That Summer Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on May 5th 2003

·         Keeping the Moon Review by Siobhan Mitchell on May 30th 2002

 

 

© 2009 Christian Perring         

           

Christian Perring, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Dowling College, New York.

 


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