Saturday, September 6, 2008

LOCK AND KEY by Sarah Dessen

Seventeen year old Ruby has been living on her own for several months since her alcoholic mother suddenly packed up and left. Things haven't been all that great, but she figures she'll be eighteen soon and maybe life will turn around. Then there's a knock on her door. Thanks to the nosy landlords, Ruby finds herself first in the care of social services and then moving in with her sister Cora who she hasn't seen in years.

As far as Ruby knows, Cora left her years ago with their drunken mother and was never heard from again. Suddenly Cora and her husband Jamie are stepping in to rescue Ruby. They are providing a beautiful house in a wealthy gated community, a preppy private school, and the offer of credit card shopping sprees. It's completely overwhelming. Not used to the extravagant lifestyle, it takes a while for Ruby to trust her sister's motives.

Even though her past life was difficult at best, Ruby returns to her old house, her old school, and a few old friends as she tries to adjust to her new and sometimes confusing situation. As she begins to open up to Cora, Jamie, and Nate the boy next door, she learns that real family and friendship can provide support she never even imagined was possible.

Author Sarah Dessen continues her string of excellent YA novels with LOCK AND KEY. It's a story filled with real people dealing with real problems. Her well-developed characters are easy to relate to, pulling readers into the smoothly written plot. As with most of Dessen's books, I felt a part of their lives as I turned each page. LOCK AND KEY is a worthwhile addition to any collection.

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