Wednesday, January 13, 2010

4. Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen (audio)

I have been listening to this book off and on since September.  So if my review is a little disjointed, that is why.  In fact, I'm using Amazon's synposis.  It's not that I didn't like the book, but I usualy listen to books while I'm traveling.  Lock and Key is on my Walkman so I couldn't really listen to it when I traveled with someone else which seemed to be the case the few times I did go out of town, except for that very first trip when I started it. 

"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."—Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library

Even though it took me so long to listen to the whole book, (I would go weeks in between sessions) it wasn't hard for me to pick up the thread because the story is that interesting.  Ruby is a great character.  I didn't really like her at first because she is understandably prickly and self-absorbed.  But as she learns to trust and believe in the people who affect her new life, she grew on me.  My favorite character is Jesse, Ruby's brother-in-law, who is so open and boyish.  It's all about who your family is and the point is driven home in a bit of a heavy-handed way but I liked the book and wished I could have listened to it without the long interruptions. 
Rating:  4


  1. This will sound odd, but I just went through my first posts on blogger from December 2006 and saw that you had posted there! So I figured I would come check out if you're still active. I'm glad you are :-) And glad to have the chance to browse your blog again!

  2. My girls keep telling me to read something by Sarah Dessen. Maybe I should start with this one.