Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lock and Key gets 4 Stars

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen is a great teen/Young Adult (YA) literature book.  This realistic fiction deals with abuse and abandonment, but it's done in a light manner.  Alohamora Open a Book

I sprained my ankle playing soccer.  It's been difficult to bake and cook much b/c standing for long periods at a time is a bit painful.   However, I have been able to read A LOT since getting hurt.  I guess there are benefits to everything.  

I just finished Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen.  I really enjoy Sarah Dessen books, and I've read a lot of them.  Here are a few of my reviews of her books.  

Overall, I really enjoy Dessen's writing.  She has great stories that are light but yet they confront deeper issues.  Her books are great for teen girls as well as adults to read, and I love recommending them as a librarian.  

I like to compare Sarah Dessen to Jodi Piccoult for teens, but yet with a lighter spin on it.   

I have given Lock and Key 4 out of 5 stars

Overall, I like the story and the symbolism of keys and family found throughout.  I enjoyed seeing  Ruby's life and "family" become far more than she ever imagined.  It is true, and evident in this book, that with the right people and the right support our lives usually are better than we can imagine. I enjoyed the symbolism of the key and that keys can hold us to our past and remind us of people in our past, but the right key (people in our lives that support and love us) can open up doors we never imagined. 

My only qualm with the book and the reason for the loss of a star is the first third to half of the book drags a bit much with little development from the characters or the story as a whole.  I understand that the issue of abuse and abandonment is tough and a hard one to write about, and I appreciate the realistic growth Ruby had as she dealt with her issues.  I know that people and characters can't change and deal with tough things overnight, but the writing dragged as Ruby tried to learn and grow.  

Ruby, a teenager, made plenty of mistakes throughout the story, as we all do in our teens.   As a result of those mistakes there is a tiny bit of language in the story, but it is all used in context.  Drugs, underage drinking, and sex is mentioned as well but there is no detail given to any of them.  At one point in the story you do see the negative impact drinking alcohol and drugs had on Ruby.

Overall, Lock and Key is a good book.  It isn't my favorite Sarah Dessen book, but it's a good one that can help people who have been abandoned or abused.  I'd suggest this book would work best for girls 8th grade and up, but a mature 7th grade girl will enjoy it as well.

Amazon has the following book review

"Ruby, 17, is taken in by her older sister and brother-in-law when her mother abandons her. Ruby and her sister haven't spoken since Cora left for college a decade earlier. She moves from a semi-heated, semi-lighted farmhouse to a McMansion in a gated community. The theme of abandonment permeates the narrative-Ruby's mother's disappearance, Cora's perceived abandonment, and all of the small abandonments around every corner throughout Ruby's life. The plot hinges luxuriously on character arc. Ruby's drama of pathological self-reliance to eventual trust plays out through thoughtful, though occasionally heavy-handed, inner monologue and metaphor. As always, Dessen's characters live and breathe. Ruby's sweet hipster brother-in-law and Nate, the freakishly affable hottie next door, are especially vivid, and Cora's change from bitter control freak to sympathetic co-protagonist is subtle and seamless. Though Ruby and Nate don't have quite the cinematic chemistry of many of Dessen's couples, their cautious friendship into romance seems that much more realistic. The author's feel for setting is as uncanny as ever, and Ruby's descriptions of the homogenous nouveau riche Anytown are sharp, clever, and honest. The dialogue, especially between Ruby and Cora, is crisp, layered, and natural. The slow unfolding adds to an anticipatory mood. What's more, secrets and situations revealed in the second half of the novel are resolved more believably by already deeply developed characters. Recommend this one to patient, sophisticated readers."

If you are a Sarah Dessen fan, or you are looking for a realistic light but with depth book, then give Lock and Key a read.  

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