Lock and Key.

10:41 PM

Lock and KeyLock and Key by Sarah Dessen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rating: 3 stars

I am a huge fan of Sarah Dessen. And I own quite a few of her books. Many have chosen this particularly one as their favourite and I have heard nothing but glowing reviews. I guess that raised my expectation. That, and the fact that I have enjoyed all of Sarah Dessen's work so far. I must say that this one fell a TAD bit short of my expectations, and I am sure it isn't anyone's fault. It's just one of those things that comes to personal preference. Nevertheless, it is still a really good book and I did enjoy it.

The story is about a girl named Ruby who lives with her dysfunctional mother in a ratty old place. One day, her mom just packed her stuff and left, which was fine for Ruby as she always felt that she never needed anyone's help and was determined to be independent. However, child-services came as she was still below the legal age and she ends up living with her older sister whom she had lost touch with for years. Her sister, Cora, lives a life that is the total polar opposite of Ruby's. And Ruby is overwhelmed by her new life. Being in a new family with Cora and her husband, Jamie and with the possibility of making new friends, even potential more-than-friends relationship with the boy next door, Nate. Ruby doesn't know if these changes were good or whether they were changing who she really was, what she did know was that it was overwhelming and she would have to face them alone.

Plot-wise, it's a really good teen drama. Lots of familial aspects and some romance. I did think that the pace was abit slow at parts, especially after Ruby got over her 'rebellion phase'. The plot got abit tame after that, in terms of stuff happening. But as all of her books, Sarah Dessen likes to leave those heart-wrenching wham-bam moments towards the end. And that did not disappoint.

The characters were all very lovable and relatable. Moreover, there is a huge variety. Every single one has a flaw. With Ruby, it is her overly enthusiastic independent mindset that made her keep everyone at an arm's length away from her. She had some major trust issues, and very understandably so, thanks to her screw-up of a mother. Nate is the most complex character, in my opinion. I can't seem to get him 'cos once I sort of made up my mind about him, I learn something new that TOTALLY changes my perspective of him. It is hard to understand the reasons behind his actions sometimes and how he can bear to be so cheerful on the outside, despite harbouring such a dark secret inside. Needless to say, my favourite character of all is Reggie (who is a dude who runs a Vitamin stand near the shop that Ruby got a part-time job at; He's in love with Ruby's boss Harriet). He is the NICEST, MOST AMAZING GUY EVER. It just amazes me how incredibly sincere and patient he is, waiting for Harriet, being there for her when she needed a friend yet not afraid to putting himself out there, letting her know of his true feelings. I seriously love this guy. He's so positive without turning me into a diabetic with his sweetness. I was rooting for him all the way.

I think what I wished the book had was more information on Ruby's mother. I know what she's like from the back story that we were briefly told, but I wanted to know the reasons. I couldn't understand why Ruby wouldn't go over to her mother immediately when they finally located her. I would've demanded to know what was the point of leaving your child on her own with NOTHING. I wanted to know what made her mother that way. She's the biggest mystery of this plot.

There were tons of nice images (dominantly locks and keys, as the title would suggest). The idea that an object could be a key to unlocking your past, as it brings back memories. The idea that your true self is locked until that special someone holds the key to open it, helping you realize things about yourself and your potential. There were also lots of swimming references. About water, sinking and fishes. I read it to be that each connection and relationship you make with another (be it friendship, romantic or familial), it is a leap of faith. You would never know what lies under the surface of the water, until you take that deep breath and plunge. With them.

Lots of good messages, but they were focused more on family and the true meaning of family. Sometimes you can choose them. Lots of nice images. So that part I did enjoy.

Overall, it's a good book and I can see why it is popular. I just don't find it my cup of tea, as I am not into family themed or family-driven plots. Also, I felt that there wasn't enough dramatic events or huge revelations that would make the plot more fun to read. Of course, I still love Sarah Dessen as the book is still beautifully written. I guess, I couldn't really relate to Ruby and her constant pessimism and I felt that her relationship with Nate wasn't very authentic. I would recommend it, nonetheless. Especially if you like family drama and identity crises.

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