Book Cover
Rate this book

Ratings & Reviews for

Lock and Key

5 stars
54,391 (36%)
4 stars
51,854 (34%)
3 stars
32,571 (21%)
2 stars
7,570 (5%)
1 star
2,423 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,776 reviews
Profile Image for Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~.
350 reviews941 followers
January 13, 2020
I am about to trash this book in the most spoilerific way possible so if you feel as though reading my review is not worth spoiling this book for you... TURN BACK NOW!




Alright, everyone gone?

*cracks knuckles*

I LOATHED this book. Holy fucking shit.

I really don't feel like I can properly explain my criticisms without going into detail... so here we go!

Our story begins with the arrival of Ruby (a.k.a. redhead, pale skin, kinda pretty MC) to her older sister and brother-in-law's fancy, million-dollar home. Ruby's mother has seemingly abandoned her, and after a valiant attempt at living on her own in a roach-infested flat, she is found out and promptly delivered to her only known family, Jamie and Cora.

The same night she arrives, after some internal monologue about how she doesn't need anyone else, especially not her hoity toity sister and her plush, white carpets, Ruby decides to make a break for it.

*trumpets* Enter: Nate Cross. *trumpets*

Sexy, blonde, star-athlete, most-popular-kid-in-school, runs-6.2-miles-every-Friday neighbor, who happens to be swimming laps in his pool at 1:30 am, sees Ruby hopping her fence, and covers for her when she is inevitably caught by her sister's husband.

I don't even remember what bullshit these two came up with to explain why Ruby was halfway over the fence in the middle of the night, but it's irrelevant.


On top of that, it seems Jamie and Cora have arranged for Nate to be her personal ride to school! Gee that's convenient.

This book is laden with small conveniences like this that do not happen in real life. Like really what're your chances of moving into a rich neighborhood next to a hottie your exact age, who's also nice enough to agree to drive you to school every day?

In the first part of the novel, we are led to believe that Cora is awkward, cold, and ultimately put out about Ruby's presence in her "perfect life."

Jamie plays peacemaker, interacting with Ruby and trying to amp up her enthusiasm about making new friends, attending his alma mater (a.k.a. rich kid school where a burnout like Ruby DEF won't fit in omg), and potentially attending college.

When presented with what could be considered a "clean slate" Ruby proceeds to be a complete asshole, often grumbling about every fucking thing.

You know what Ruby? How about you just let the hot boy drive you to school? How about you just pick out a koi fish at the pet store? How about you let your sister get you some new fucking clothes? HOW ABOUT YOU JUST EAT THE GODDAMN BREAKFAST FOOD JAMIE SET OUT FOR YOU!?

Like, this is easy shit! Stop being awful about general human kindnesses.

On top of that Cora isn't much better than Ruby. I saw no chemistry whatsoever between she and Jamie, and I'm still wondering how they've been married for five years. Even though a story about how they fell in love was hinted at, it was never disclosed.

Jamie is excited about everything.

He's adopted a dog, who is old and frequently pees inside the house, about which Cora is angry.

Jamie is building a pond in the backyard, which he's loudly working on early Saturday morning. Cora is angry. Cora would've preferred a pool.

Jamie wants to take cute holiday pictures with his family in matching shirts. Cora doesn't really wanna but eventually does. Because she loves her husband, I GUESS.

So up until this point, I'm thinking I've got a good handle on these characters.


After having a decently traumatizing conversation with Cora about Ruby's entire fucking life being a lie, she spirals out of control for a brief moment. She gets drunk with some old, not rich friends. She finds out her best friend is sleeping with her... casual boyfriend... and she collapses, wasted in the woods on her way back to her drunk friend's car.

DA DA DA DAAAA In swoops hot boy Nate, who finds her in the woods somehow, and brings her home.

When she arrives, she is met with a furious Jamie. No no, not just furious. He's R A G I N G!

After everything we've done for you!? After we take you in and give you everything!? You didn't even stop to think that someone might be worried about you!? HOW DARE YOU! YOUR SISTER DOESN'T NEED YOUR SHIT RUBY!!

Like whoa boy. Hold on a second.

Ruby has literally been leading the shittiest kind of life for years. That's clear by the fact that her mother left her without warning. On top of that, she's just found out that her mother has been lying to her about Cora's attempts to reach out.


After this blowup, Jamie never even apologizes.

In fact, Cora tells Ruby that if she wants Jamie to talk to her again, she'll have to be the one to make the first move.

I just want to point out how extremely problematic I find this set up.

A grown ass man. One who is apparently a CEO. A CEO who should have plenty of practice dealing with failure, mishaps, mistakes. Completely losing his shit at a 17-year-old he just met a couple weeks ago. Inappropriately making the situation about his own perceived offense instead of about Ruby's personal crisis. Is not reprimanded for his bullshit behavior and never apologizes.

Needless to say this was the end for me and Jamie.

So whatever, now Cora and Ruby aren't enemies anymore. Yay I guess.

Another aspect of this story I hated is this hyper focus on the key Ruby wears around her neck. It's her house key on a fucking chain. But the whole goddamn town is fascinated by this key. So much so that Ruby's employer, Harriet, starts making replicas of the necklace to sell in her jewelry store.

Guys, this amazing, wonderful, unique key is described as "a normal key with some gemstones on it."


This gets so out of hand that the fucking newspaper is doing a story about Harriet's key necklaces.

Like what the fuck is wrong with this town? IT'S A KEY ON A CHAIN???

Unless you're making key necklaces that look like this:


I just don't see how it'll be considered newsworthy.


Near the end the story shifts gears almost entirely and starts focusing on the issue of Nate's father being an controlling, abusive ass. It was jolting to me because it felt like Ruby just "got better" immediately. So much so that she was able to focus all of her attention on fixing someone else's issues.

Like, after a couple months with Jamie and Cora she's just alright now? She cares about her grades and not getting in trouble and says "fuck you" easily to all her old burnout friends all because now she lives in a rich suburb?

I'm sorry that's stupid as fuck.

Shit doesn't just fix itself after a whole lifetime of abuse and neglect.

But hey, this had to be a happy story I guess. So everything wrapped up nicely with a little bow. Nate gets away from his dad. Ruby graduates and gets into college. Tada.

On top of all this shit, there's just a ton of components in this story that rubbed me the wrong way. Casual slut shaming, anger over not establishing proper boundaries in a relationship, reinforcing the "he picks on you because he likes you" saying, the MC being squeamish about female reproductive organs, unrealistic characters, and a storyline I ultimately didn't give a fuck about.

I tried. I truly tried. But nah.

***FYI: If you would like to peruse a lovely collection of key necklaces like the one featured in my review you can shop here!***
331 reviews212 followers
January 25, 2010
This was my second book by Sarah Dessen and it didn't disappoint. In this story we meet:~
Ruby who is trying to find, and come to terms with a new life away from her 'loving' but negligent mother. Only having ever been told one side of the story by a woman embittered by her feelings for Rubys father, Rubys view on life and living has been tainted.

Nate, (Rubys next door neighbour) who's a great guy who seems to have it all but does he? Ruby soon finds out things she doesn't want to know and whilst she's still coming to terms with her own adjustments to those around her she finds it difficult to offer the right kind of help for him.

Cora (Rubys sister) who is trying to make sense of problems within her own life whilst having to build the bridges that were severed when she moved away from Ruby and her mom.
Jamie (Coras husband) who pulls everyone together with his enigmatic personality and warm nature, and whilst Ruby sorely tests his patience he remains a positive force for her.

I loved this story, I especially liked the way Dessen incorporates Rubys two 'lives' and how Ruby interprets and evaluates her own actions. Ruby is a lovely intelligent character but I don't know how this story would've worked had she been arrogant and angry, maybe it wouldn't have hence the story of a girl who faced with choices makes mistakes but ultimately knows the right path to follow.

Profile Image for emma.
1,867 reviews54.4k followers
June 21, 2018
so the Sarah Dessen Reread Extravaganza continued and this particular installment may not have gone super well but you know what? you simply cannot win them all.

this was just veryyyyy dramatic to me and the characters were boring and floated in and out of existence and there were just So Many Quasi Profound themes and ahhh!! also it was very long.

the progression of time also could NOT HAVE BEEN MESSIER IT WAS DRIVING ME UP A WALL. hard to create a neat linear timeline, I guess, when you have to interrupt yourself every other paragraph in order to soliloquize on the Meaning Of Family and the Importance Of Optimism and blah blah blah.

too saccharine for me.

bottom line: not my favorite but the SDRE (Sarah Dessen Reread Extravaganza, obviously) will continue!!
Profile Image for Shannon A.
674 reviews532 followers
July 13, 2016
4.5 stars

Another hit for Dessen! This one was darker like Dreamland and I really love that about it. It felt like I was there, a fly on the wall. I appreciated the MCs and the supporting characters in this one.
Profile Image for Pinky.
514 reviews430 followers
October 12, 2015

This book was so beautiful, it taught me so much and I felt so good after reading this book. The thing about Sarah Dessen's books are that it isn't always about the romance. There is a more important story taking place and on of the side stories is the romance. If the book only focused on romance, it wouldn't have been as impressive as this actually was.

“We can't expect everybody to be there for us, all at once. So it's a lucky thing that really, all you need is someone. ”

A few months before Ruby was going to turn 18 years old, her mother abandoned her. Ruby managed to live on her own for a couple of months but then she got busted. She was sent to live with her older sister Cora, who she hasn't seen in 10 years and her sister's husband, Jamie. When Ruby lived with her rich sister, she didn't know what she was missing out on, she had a new family, who were willing to provide her with whatever she needs and money for new clothes. But for some reason, Ruby feels confused and feels like she doesn't know the true meaning of family. How will Ruby get over this uneasy feeling and accept everything that has happened to her?

“But sometimes, we just have to be happy with what people can offer us. Even if it’s not what we want, at least it’s something. You know?”

One of the things that I really liked about this story was the characters. Jamie was the most welcoming person that I have ever read about. I wish I met him on the first day of high school, because of the fact that no one was welcoming. The first day of high school was the worst, but if Jamie were there, he would make everyone feel welcomed. Cora was another character I loved and I love how she goes with everything Jamie says, even if it can be really embarrassing. Nate was nice but I wish he were more open about his problems instead of hiding everything with a huge smile. Ruby was a mess near the beginning but I really like her. Olivia is a nice friend, even if she has her flaws. Gervais, I wish you could tutor me, he would save my grades and future!

“Not everything's perfect, especially in the beginning. And its all right to have a little bit of regret every once in a while. It's when you feel it all the time and can't do anything about it... that's when you get into trouble”

The relationships were nice and made a great addition to the story. When you see small snippets of Jamie and Cora's relationship, the book is so much more realistic. The bonding between Gervais and Ruby were hilarious, they were like brother and sister. Nate and Gervais's relationship was also really nice to read. Reggie and Harriet was so nice and I wish we got to read more about them. And Nate and Ruby's relationship was another factor that was sweet. Olivia and Ruby are amazing and I am so glad they met each other. Cora and Ruby's relationship is something I wish I could have with my sister, we don't get along at all..

“If you expect the worst, you'll never be disappointed.”

The thing that I like about Sarah Dessen's books is how you could connect with the characters. It's interesting to see how much you can relate to her characters and I love that so much about her books. Whenever I come across something the character says that I agree on, I scream "I KNOW RIGHT," and forget that I am in class... Anyway, I love the setting of her books and how most of them connect and you could see the characters from another book she wrote interact with each other. I'm almost done my marathon on Sarah Dessen books and I am kinda upset because I love her books so much.

“The further you go, the more you have to be proud of. At the same time, in order to come a long way, you have to be behind to begin with. IN the end, though maybe it's not how you reach a place that matters. Just that you get there at all.”

I highly recommend this book, if you haven't read any Sarah Dessen books and I recommend you pick this up if you read a Sarah Dessen book too. I enjoyed this so much, it was fast-paced and really easy to relate to. From all the books I have read by Sarah Dessen so far, I feel like this one is the saddest one by far. If you haven't read a contemporary novel by Sarah Dessen, I suggest that you give it a shot.

“The worst thing you can do if you miss or need someone is let them know it.”

Profile Image for Runa.
617 reviews33 followers
May 7, 2008
That was a shock. Definitely nowhere near as good as I expected it to be. I mean, maybe Just Listen heightened my expectations, but hey, this was not even comparable to her earlier books. *sigh* Where to begin... -Ruby gets absolutely no resolution, IMO. It's great that she and Cora get along, but what about the potential Dad search? And her mother's not any better. What happens to the yellow house? -The key. You don't do that. That's not how you tie loose ends up. She needed to have kept that key forever, that's Dumping the key is in no way symbolic nor is it realistic. -Nate is too perfect to be flawed. This isn't to say that you know, popular kids aren't abused or something. It's just...there would be hints all the way, and there weren't, not any decipherable ones. He doesn't act right, it's just not realistic! -Ruby knows better than to sit back and wait instead of getting up and helping. -Parts of the book were highly predictable in a bad way. I mean, Just Listen, you knew it was going to be Annabel and Owen, but when it happened, you were still super over the stars excited. Here...stuff happened. Reggie and Harriet, Cora being pregnant, Nate and Ruby, and it's all just...oh yeah. knew that was going to happen. oh well. -LOVED the tie-ins. Yay, Annabel and Owen cameos <3 (is Rogerson the same Rogerson?) It just...didn't function well. Plotlines didn't mesh, things didn't get resolved well or was just...blah. (And you KNOW how much I hate to say that, because I absolutely LOVE Sarah. *sigh*)
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,906 reviews853 followers
January 30, 2012
"What is family? They were the people who claimed you. In good, in bad, in parts or in whole, they were the ones who showed up, who stayed there, regardless."

Seventeen-year old Ruby has been living on her own for the past two months since her mother left. She has no idea where her mother went, and hasn't heard from her since. Ruby has been getting by, just barely but this is about to change when the landlords of the tiny house they've been renting, discover she's alone. They alert the authorities, and suddenly Ruby is taken in by her sister Cora. Things were different when Ruby's sister Cora still lived at home, she sort of made it her job to care for Ruby and protect her from their mother. However, Cora's been gone for ten years, left when she went off to college, and Ruby's heard little from her since. This does not make for a happy reunion because Ruby doesn't want to let anyone in, let anyone close. She certainly doesn't welcome her sister's assistance. Ruby would rather just rely on herself, that way she has no one else to let her down. So she makes a plan to just stick it out at her sister's until she turns eighteen, then she's out of there.

This story progresses nicely and I was seriously hooked watching the slow transformation of Ruby, seeing her thaw gradually. Helping with this is Jamie, Cora's sweet, generous, and very welcoming husband. You can't help but love him, he takes Ruby in with no questions or judgments made, always looking for the good, first, in people. Then there is Nate *sigh*. He is just the all-around popular, nice, HOT, next-door neighbor that takes to Ruby immediately, even with her reluctance. I didn't warm up to Cora at first, but then we learn some things about her, and I couldn't help but love her too.

A Sarah Dessen novel would not be complete without her collection of quirky secondary characters. She always amasses these unique individuals that just grow on you. Gervais, the twelve-year old genius who rides along with Nate and Ruby everyday to school. Quote on Gervais: "Gervais also lacked maturity, which meant he found things like burps and farts hysterical, and even funnier when they were his own. Put him in a small, enclosed space with two people every morning and there was no end to the potential for hilarity." (Yes, I was cracking up!) Olivia, a fellow student at Perkins Day, always talking on her phone in her free-time, but somehow becomes friends with Ruby. Then there's Harriet the caffeine-addict, and Reggie the vitamin seller. Even Roscoe, Cora and Jamie's dog, manages to get into Ruby's heart.

While, The Truth About Forever and Just Listen, are my favorite Sarah Dessen novels, this one is very good, too. A definite recommend for any contemporary romance/YA lover.

Just Listen
Profile Image for Sarah.
402 reviews138 followers
February 8, 2017
4.5 stars. My favourite Sarah Dessen book so far! Before I read this book I was unsure about whether I would like it or not. The plot didn't sound very good or appealing but honestly this book was so so good. I loved it.

The best things about this book were the characters and the way the characters interacted with each other. There are so many different relationship dynamics in this book and I loved every single relationship. I liked all of the characters but I absolutely adored Jamie. He was such a sweetheart and I just thought he was so so lovely. The things he did for Cora made me love him even more. I loved Ruby's character development. She completely changed because she gradually opened herself up to new experiences and new people. It was a slow process where Ruby assessed situations and then after some time, her negative thinking changed to positive thinking. It was a very inspirational change.

This book actually made me quite emotional in some parts which surprised me. It was just so heartwarming and it was such a lovely story. I absolutely loved how the relationship between Ruby and her sister, Cora took the front seat while the romance was a smaller subplot.

Sarah Dessen's writing is awesome as per usual. She puts in the perfect amount of descriptions and her language is simple yet it is profound at times. The dialogue between her characters is really good (like always) and she writes a very realistic teenage girl.

I really do love this book but there was something missing (I don't know what) and so I give it 4.5 stars, not 5. I would definitely recommend this and I will definitely be reading more of Sarah Dessen's books.
Profile Image for Danielle.
74 reviews
October 25, 2009
This was my first book that I've read by Sarah Dessen. I've heard quite a few good things about her so I was fairly willing to give her books a try even though I don't typically read teen fiction.

Lock and Key is about a seventeen year old girl named Ruby. Ruby's had a tough childhood: from her father and sister abandoning her at a young age (so she thinks) to her mother abandoning her at seventeen she's never really been settled in one place. For the first part of the novel Ruby's in a sort of self proclaimed denial. The reader begins the book and quickly learns that when Ruby's mom abandoned her she attempted to live by herself for a few months; but was eventually turned in to child services by her landlord.

Cora, Ruby's estranged sister, takes custody of Ruby along with her husband, Jamie. WIth her new life Ruby faces all sorts of challenges. New school, "friends", job, habits, etc. But still Ruby is clinging to her past life and memories.

I particularly loved the characters of Cora and Jamie. They were very believable and I thought that Dessen did an excellent job of endearing them to the reader. I had a few problems with Nate (the male star of the novel) and Ruby, but nothing that couldn't be overlooked. The plot could definitely be a bit confusing flopping between a fast and slow pace but in the end it all worked out.

So what then makes me want to give this book only three stars? I would have to say I honestly don't know, just that things were missing. Maybe it was character depth for Ruby or Nate, or just the whole plot confusion thing that got to me, or the swearing (which by the way is fairly predominant).... I don't know. I'd recommend reading Lock and Key but not unless you have nothing more exciting to read. It's lacking, but still good. It really deserves three and a half stars but Goodreads doesn't let me do that! Oh well. :)

Profile Image for Jeanne.
976 reviews19 followers
August 4, 2008
Confession: even though Dessen's novels are generally cheesy and melodramatic, I could not resist picking up Lock and Key. The blurb made it sound good; unfortunately, it is not.

This is the story of 17-year-old Ruby Cooper. Her mother recently abandoned her, and she's been living in squalor for the past few months. When social services is alerted to her situation, Ruby is removed from the house and taken to her older sister's home. Cora, who is ten years older than Ruby, hasn't seen Ruby since the day she left for college. Since then, Cora has accomplished many things, including becoming a lawyer and marrying a wonderful man named Jamie. And she has a pretty posh pad, too.

Leaving her friends and her independence is difficult for Ruby. With the help of her sister, her brother-in-law, and a few new friends, Ruby will accept help from others and blossom.

Here's my gripe: I think the author knows one topic--wealthy and wholesome suburban teens. When she tries to write about the disadvantaged or the outsiders, she displays her ignorance. I never really bought Dessen's "pothead" characterization of Ruby. Nor did I buy the maternal alcoholic scenario or any of the other not-so-pretty situations presented. Also, the melodrama was a bit much in this novel.

Really, this novel was not my kind of teen novel. At all.
Profile Image for jazmin ✿.
556 reviews760 followers
July 29, 2021
“It's a lot easier to be lost than found. It's the reason we're always searching and rarely discovered--so many locks not enough keys.”

Lock and Key was the fourth book in my Sarah Dessen binge read, and it wasn’t my favourite, but not my least favourite either. It was an enjoyable and heartwarming read, Sarah Dessen’s signature style shining through!

⇢The Plot
I actually really enjoyed the plot of the book, despite its open-ended nature and the presence of quite a few untied strings at the end, something that I’m usually not fond of. I think the reason I enjoyed the storyline was that I’m a sucker for those stories where the main character moves somewhere new and learns to adapt. (Particularly where they meet new people and open up, that’s the best.) That being said, this book’s conflict felt different than those in the other 3 Sarah Dessen books. The main reason was that one of the main problems wasn’t related to the MC, but rather the love-interest, Nate, and his struggles at home. I was surprised by this because it was different than the other books, but I think it was an interesting change because it allowed us to learn more about a side character for once.

“What is family? They were the people who claimed you. In good, in bad, in parts or in whole, they were the ones who showed up, who stayed in there, regardless. It wasn't just about blood relations or shared chromosomes, but something wider, bigger. We had many families over time. Our family of origin, the family we created, and the groups you moved through while all of this was happening: friends, lovers, sometimes even strangers. None of them perfect, and we couldn't expect them to be. You can't make any one person your world. The trick was to take what each could give you and build your world from it.”

This book was somewhat slow and I think that’s a common criticism of this book, but honestly, that didn’t impede my enjoyment of it because as long as I’m invested in a character or story, I don’t care how slow the book gets. However, I understand why some people aren’t fans of this book, because it can be hard to get into.

⇢Ruby and Nate
Unfortunately, on the other hand, the characters in this book were probably the least memorable of all the ones I’ve met through this binge read so far. While I appreciated Ruby’s perseverance and story I just never fell in love with her personality, and I didn’t like the way she dealt with a lot of her problems. And while I liked learning about Nate, I didn’t find him to be that interesting of a character. Just like with Ruby I empathized with his situation, but I feel like his character wasn’t as multi-faceted as some of the other love-interests and should have been developed further. I feel like all I know about him is his situation and swimming, and barely even the latter since he quit. 

⇢The Side Characters
This book had some amazing side characters, and some that I really didn’t care about at all. Surprisingly, the most interesting characters were the adults. I LOVED Cora and Jamie and was actually super invested in their family and house, and same with Harriet. On the other hand, Olivia and the other school friends that Ruby had were just okay.

. ⋅ ˚̣- : ✧ : – ⭒ ❦ ⭒ – : ✧ : -˚̣⋅ .

Profile Image for Chelsea.
678 reviews211 followers
October 30, 2007
This is the first Sarah Dessen I've read, after much prompting. Her plots always seemed cheesy and melodramatic to me (based entirely on wildly varying reviews I've read and, you know, the back of the books), the young adult version of Jodi Piccoult (another author I am judging without ever having read her, shame on me). And, well... I don't see myself seeking out any of her others. I finished it off in about three hours, and... The beginning was mostly me rolling my eyes and going "oh, please", because either Dessen or Ruby was trying too hard to make Ruby seem tragic (there are few things I desire less than to get into a discussion over whether or not Dessen's narrator was supposed to be unreliable), and I just wasn't really buying. It could have been built up into real character development, except that it wasn't. Instead, Ruby was cranky and uncooperative (imagine! a real life teenager!) until her sister told her what really happened when Ruby was a little girl, and then she was just... a teenager, but with less real angst.

And then it devolved into "I'm so worried about my boyfriend and what do you mean he's just like me, oh man, he's totally like me, I must have been a huge pain in the ass for everyone around me, yay kissing."

I need someone to tell me if this is her standard book, or if I should give her a second chance, because I wasn't very impressed.
Profile Image for Siv30.
2,384 reviews125 followers
June 6, 2020
רובי עוברת לגור עם אחותה קורה לאחר חודשיים בהם חייה לבד לאחר שאמן נטשה אותה.

קורה נשואה באושר לגיימי. הם חיים בשכונה של עשירים. ורובי לא התראתה עם קורה 10 שנים.

בלילה הראשון שלה בבית של קורה וגיימי, רובי מנסה להימלט ולחזור לבית הישן שלה ואז נייט מציל אותה בדיוק כשגיימי תופס אותה. נייט בחור חתיך, חביב, מרצה שכולם אוהבים. רק רובי לא מוכנה ליצור איתו כל קשר.

ספר ממש מרגש ולא קיטשי שגרם לי להזיל דמעות, סקפטית שכמותי.

הוא עוסק במורכבות של החיים, במשמעות של חברים ושל משפחה, בקבלה ונתינה ובצורך של כולנו להיות בצורה כזו או אחרת נאהבים.

באמת הייתי סקפטית אבל הספר הזה משעשע ונוגע בנימים דקים מאוד של אמונה באנשים בנכונות להסתכן, להיפגע אבל גם באפשרות לקבל ללא תנאים וללא תשלום ולזכות ברשת תומכת.

נכון יש בו משפטים ניו אייג'ים מחבקים ופילוסופיה בגרוש על החיים, אבל הכל במינון הנכון והכל בצורה שלא פוגעת באינטיליגנציה של הקורא.

ממש אהבתי.
Profile Image for Carol.
2,589 reviews81 followers
February 13, 2022
"What is family? They were the people who claimed you. In good, in bad, in parts or in whole, they were the ones who showed up, who stayed there, regardless."
Seventeen-year-old Ruby has a plan...perhaps not a good plan, but it's better than nothing, at least that's what she tells yourself. Ruby's mother has disappeared and suddenly the authorities send Ruby to her sister Cora. When Cora lived at home, she made it her job to care for Ruby and protect her from their mother...but Cora's been gone for ten years, and Ruby's heard little from her since. This is anything but a happy reunion. Ruby doesn't want to let anyone in or let anyone close. She would rather just rely on herself. No one else is ever going let her down. So, she makes a plan to just stick it out at her sister's until she turns eighteen, then she's out of there. Then she discovers Nate...the cute next-door neighbor and he becomes the reason she stays. The night she met Nate she not only discovers that the whole world is not against her but leads her to begin to understand the true meaning of family. I think the best description of this one is definitely a "feel-good" story.
Profile Image for Liz.
251 reviews1,967 followers
April 29, 2015
[Audiobook from OverDrive]

I always love the narrations of Dessen books! Especially when she does Jervais' voice. Ahaha!

Main Character: It's always refreshing to have a main character who isn't a middle class white girl. Yes, her sister and brother-in-law are definitely better off, but it's nice to hear a perspective that comes from being raised in poverty. That whole, "Do I have enough money?" and wanting to save it in case of an emergency. And even though she goes to the rich kids' school, she finds that people have more layers than just that rich kid facade. Good good good.

Ruby isn't a super complex/complicated character. Most of her life has been centered around her mom's wants and needs, so outside of that, she's hung out with potheads and-- surprise!-- pot dealers. So when she returns to those friends one afternoon, it's not a real surprise. Those friends did feel very stereotypically bad, though. It felt like one of those dramatization videos they'd show you in middle school health class about the dangers of drugs. They were all distant and cheating. It definitely made Ruby easier to split from that world, but you'd think someone would complain about her going to a better school and having a better living situation.

World: I always love how Dessen leaves easter eggs from other books. A couple of characters from The Truth About Forever show up at Harriet's kiosk! EEP! I think all of her books are set in North Carolina. They never have a super southern feel to them, but always a nice cast of characters.

Family: Gotta love the family focus of Dessen's novels. Ruby has to re-adjust to being accountable to family (Cora and Jamie... And Roscoe!) as well as welcoming other people into her world (Nate). I like that there's a juxtaposition happening as she sees how her "family" was, how her family is now, and how it compares to Jamie's gigantic family. There's also talk about abuse, siblings protecting one another, manipulation, Cora's infertility (for most of the book, she's struggling to get pregnant), and the feeling of neglect.

The Boy (or, The Romance): Nothing too special there. Poor girl falls for rich (well, supposedly rich) boy. It was sad that the more layers were peeled back, the more sad Nate's story got. I'm glad that it was brought up about being the friend of someone receiving abuse. Ruby struggles with it being that she's lived through similar, but it's still hard for her. That's understandable.

Overall, it's a decent book, good story. The characters were easy to get to know.
Profile Image for Jennifer Wardrip.
Author 5 books488 followers
November 9, 2012
Reviewed by Jaglvr for

It's been a quite a long time that I found myself sitting up until three in the morning, wanting desperately to finish a story. But that is exactly where I found myself the other night with LOCK AND KEY in my hands. I was so engrossed in Ruby and her story that I had to find out how it ended.

Ruby Cooper has always looked out for Number One. When Ruby was eight, her sister Cora left for university and never looked back. It was always Ruby and her mother, moving from one place to another. Her mother's excuse was to avoid creditors and landlords. Ruby slowly comes to find out that this is the version her mother wanted her to hear.

Early on in her senior year of high school, Ruby's mom does a runner. Leaving Ruby all alone in the rented yellow house, Ruby does what she can to survive. She will be eighteen in less than a year, and if she can hide the fact that she's alone until then, the authorities won't be able to touch her. But when the dryer fails at her rented house and the landlords notice a clothes line strung throughout the kitchen, Ruby's life is forever changed.

Custody of Ruby is given over to her older sister, Cora. Cora and her husband, Jamie, live in a wealthy community and live a life totally foreign to everything Ruby has ever known. Not trusting Cora and Jamie's intentions, Ruby plots an escape her first night in her new home. Making a break over the fence in the back yard, her escape is foiled by one rambunctious dog, Roscoe. Roscoe's barking brings a curious "Hello?" from the other side of the fence. Here she meets her next door neighbor, Nate. Nate's outlook on life is upbeat and infectious. But Ruby does everything she can to keep him at bay, as well.

Slowly, Ruby learns to adjust the new life she has been given, and develop friendships in the most unlikely places. Ruby has always kept on the fringes and avoided being indebted to anyone. But as she grows and evolves, she realizes that maybe others need her just as much as she needs them. With a class assignment to define "Family," Ruby understands that the word has many meanings, and most of them don't necessarily mean blood relations.

Sarah Dessen writes another amazing novel for young adults. LOCK AND KEY is wonderful, heartfelt story. All of the characters draw you in and make you feel like you are part of their lives. Jamie's naiveté is endearing. Cora's infertility struggles hit you in the heart. Olivia's tough girl exterior has cracks you get to see through. Harriett is just as harried as her name implies. And the perfect-seeming Nate has secrets all his own.

My only regret with this book is that I failed to move it to the top of my To Be Read pile as soon as it arrived for review. So if you have this one sitting around at home, make it the next one you read. And if you've picked it up at the book store, considering purchasing it, definitely do so the next time you are there. You won't regret it!
Profile Image for Warda.
1,207 reviews19.7k followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
August 27, 2018
DNF at pg. 208.
Too slow for my liking. I just can’t be patient with books that aren’t holding my attention when I’m this far into the story.
Still love Sarah Dessen though.
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,519 reviews8,987 followers
September 29, 2010
Typical Sarah Dessen fare - fervent, fluffy, and full of superbly developed characters. This one was not her best, but still extremely enjoyable and well worth the time reading it.

The book revolves around Ruby, a seventeen-year-old girl who had been living with her mother, until she is abandoned when her mom walks right out the door. She planned to live on her own and move out when she turned eighteen, but is found out and as a result must live with her long-lost sister, Cora. Cora has established herself in a new life with a furnished home and her wealthy husband, Jamie. Ruby also meets Nate, the amazingly friendly boy next door, whose nice nature may hide something underneath. Ruby gradually comes to accept her new life and deal with her struggles from the past.

Dessen's utilization of the lock and key metaphor throughout the book never ceased to amaze me. She managed to incorporate the theme everywhere, which was impressive, but became a bit overdone at some points. However, I would highly recommend this one if you are aching for another heartfelt story from a strong writer.
Profile Image for Laurence R..
617 reviews86 followers
January 20, 2016
This book ended up being so heartwarming that I'm still not over it!
Profile Image for Anna.
509 reviews136 followers
September 20, 2011
Lock and Key probably is one of my new favorites from Sarah Dessen, next to Just Listen. Well, I love every single book from her and that's 'nuff said! But Lock and Key is different from her other books for the face that this is not the typical summer setting she usually do. But it takes place during the middle of the school year where Ruby transfers from Jackson, a public highschool, to Perkins Day, a private school, after she was sent to live with her sister Cora with her husband Jamie when her mother left her at their yellow house where they lived. Thankfully, the landlords notice her mother's absence and Ruby was sent to social services where she then was sent to her sister. And that's where her story began. How she was able to cope with the changes in her life, to Cora and Jamie, to having new friends, and meeting and understanding Nate, their next door neighbor.

i love how Ruby was able to change for the better for the sake of the people she loved and growing some sense into her and had developed a sense of responsibility. I especially love Nate a lot! He is just so cool! He is also very different from other Sarah Dessen boys which were usually the emo-silent-weird type but Nate is what you call the "role model" where he is very popular in school. And I appreciate the slight change in her usual themes. AND, there where also cameos from the previous books, which if you haven't read Lock and Key yet is that you should check it out to find out who I was talking about. :)

I am totally giving this book a 5/5 because I really enjoyed this one so much! I cannot wait to read her next books in the future and basically this is the last Sarah Dessen book I have read form her since I've read all her books. I hope she has a book coming out in 2012! :)
Profile Image for Norah Una Sumner.
855 reviews453 followers
July 26, 2017
2.5 stars

I'm 99% sure no other Sarah Dessen book can top Someone Like You as my least favourite book, so even though Lock and Key also got 2.5 stars from me, I liked it way, way better. I've always loved Sarah Dessen's books and the fact that family always plays a huge part of them. Unfortunately, the family dynamics was the only thing I liked about Lock and Key. Ruby's sister and brother-in-law are really portrayed fantastically and I loved seeing the relationship between Ruby and them develop throughout the book. Jamie is probably the best character, though.


Ruby and Nate are a different story. Both are too stubborn for their own good and it took me the ENTIRE book to warm up, at least a tiny bit, to them. It's not that they are bad characters, I just couldn't connect even the slightest to them and well, the result of that is obviously the rating of this book. The writing style, however, was as fantastic as always. I really am sad that I didn't like Lock and Key as much as I thought I would, but, on the other hand, I've read Along for the Ride the same week I've read this one and I really loved it. Sarah is apparently a complete miss or a complete hit for me.
Profile Image for Ying.
192 reviews54 followers
January 11, 2014
This was seriously an amazing stories. I've read a lot of good books, and this ranked somewhere near the top in the neverending list. Another of Sarah Dessen's best, this story is really about a girl who discovers herself and her past and what could have been when her mother abandons her, even though she has been an individual most of her life. I'd naturally expected the pairings in the end (I don't want to give spoilers :]) but was still surprised when it happened. Some parts surprised me about Ruby, but all in all, excellent book and would recommend it to anyone who liked The Truth About Forever, also by Dessen. Great book!
Profile Image for Lizzie.
125 reviews63 followers
April 2, 2016
This was my first Sarah Dessen book, and after years of hearing people rave about her writing, I have to it admit, my expectations were pretty high. Buut, they were also met!
I don't read contemporaries very often, but I was really feeling one at the time. (I'm also going to be meeting Sarah Dessen at NTTBF later on this month) I own five of her books and so I went to my shelves and looked at all the different synopsis's trying to decide which sounded best, and this one hit the nail on the head. And so I picked it up one night and finished it two days later.

These characters and the story felt so real; it dealt with some difficult topics, but the author didn't sugar coat or shy away from them. The characters have been through a lot of terrible things and this just shows that you can come back from that, and that it is possible to heal. I loved the development all of these characters went through, how they interacted with each other and built one other up.
The main theme of the book was family; what family means to each person individually. It was beautiful to see this theme woven throughout the storyline in such a flawless way.

I HIGHLY recommend checking this book out, I had such an enjoyable time reading it and connecting with all of these incredibly unique characters. I can't wait to pick up more of Sarah Dessen's novels in the future whenever I'm in need of a good contemporary kick!
What are some of your favorite SD novels?
Profile Image for ᒪᗴᗩᕼ .
1,559 reviews152 followers
April 27, 2023
Narration performed by Rebecca Soler

My initial feeling after reading this…I wanted more feels…at least from Ruby with regards to Nate. I wanted a bigger splash of romance.

Otherwise, what we actually got was a well-written book about a girl and her sister finding the connection that they once had when they were younger before the older of the two went off to college. Along with, the reconciliation of their Mother's part in their disconnection. For all of this, it was very worthwhile to listen about the meaning of family…and not just family, but the friends who become just like family to us.
Profile Image for Christiana.
137 reviews57 followers
April 27, 2017
Mais para o 4,5!

Opinião aqui:
Vídeo aqui:

Se há autora que eu estava curiosa para ler era a Sarah Dessen. A quantidade de livros que ela já tem lançados e as óptimas críticas que recebe só me faziam ter mais vontade de os ler. E por isso decidi que ia ser este ano que me iria estrear com a autora e não estou nada arrependida, porque a autora não me desiludiu,

A família da Ruby nunca foi uma família muito estruturada. O pai abandonou a família. A irmã mais velha, Cora, cansada da vida que a mãe delas leva acaba também por ir embora e, por fim a própria mãe, viciada em álcool e drogas acaba por partir, fugindo das dívidas e indo em busca dos seus vícios. No fim Ruby ficou sozinha e sozinha pretendia continuar porque estava cansada de que todos a abandonassem. Só que a Cora acaba por descobrir e por a ir buscar para viver com uma irmã que ela não conhece mais, numa casa que mais parece um palácio e numa escola de "riquinhos" e a pergunta que paira no ar é se ela encaixa mesmo ali.

Sem dúvida que existiram duas coisas que eu adorei neste livro. A primeira foi sem dúvida a escrita da autora que é leve e deliciosa que nos faz ler o livro de uma ponta a outra sem nos apercebermos disso, sem nunca a mesma se tornar cliché ou demasiado infantil. A escrita apesar de leve é sempre adequada à carga dramática e emocional do livro. E depois adorei toda a história do livro, a forma como a mesma nos foi contada e os temas que a autora nos foi apresentando. Apesar de não ser super dramático o livro apresenta-nos temas importantes e mostra-nos uma protagonista forte mas ao mesmo tempo frágil, o que me fez relacionar também muito com ela e daí que o livro também tenha tido outra carga para mim.

O livro conta também com um pequeno romance, mas nada que se sobreponha à história principal o que me agradou também muito.

Foi um livro que eu gostei muito e foi sem dúvida uma autora que me surpreendo muito. É com certeza uma autora que eu vou querer ler mais.
Profile Image for Rose.
1,879 reviews1,064 followers
May 4, 2017
Initial reaction: I really enjoyed this story by Sarah Dessen (and ended up buying it on a spontaneous trip to Barnes and Noble). The key metaphor throughout the book really resonated with me and I enjoyed reading the narrative through Ruby's voice. Though I'd probably give this book 3.5 stars overall because there were certain emotional moments that I think would've hit home more if they'd been given more room to be showcased.

Full review:

Sarah Dessen does such a great job getting into the lives of her characters, it's hard not to be drawn into their experiences regardless of the myriad of circumstances they might find themselves within. "Lock and Key" proves no exception to that, though I'll admit I kept feeling even as I finished the novel that I wanted to sink my teeth into the conflict and lives of the characters just a little bit more. But only a little, because it still held my attention and interest through the entire story.

Ruby is a young woman who's been on the run with her mother for a significant part of her life. There used to be a time when Ruby shared a close bond with her sister Cora despite her mother's flights of fancy and abrasiveness. When Cora moves off to college, Ruby thinks the bond is broken as she's forgotten them entirely. Ruby doesn't see this as a problem, she's used to taking care of herself and having to do things for herself and her mother, yet it takes the intervention of a landlord and some dire circumstances (including a stretch in which Ruby's mother doesn't return to their fractured home) to necessitate Ruby being taken into custody and sent away to live with Cora, long thought lost. Ruby isn't exactly welcoming to the change. She's close to being 18, ready to run away at a moment's notice. But she realizes that the environment around her might be the key to her opening up and finding roots in her life after all.

I really enjoyed reading from Ruby's perspective. She can be funny and spontaneous, but I think seeing her character grow throughout the novel brought the most rewarding experience for me throughout this work. She really makes you feel for her situation and I understood why she acted the way she did in the beginnings of the book. I also liked the fact that she came to see on her own terms why her own actions and missteps were wrong, not just from her interactions with the other characters in the book, but from observing the lives of the other characters situations (i.e. Nate's, whose circumstances hit home with me as well) and how they mirrored to her own. The other characters were great to watch unfold in the overarching story as well. I definitely liked the relationship between Ruby and Cora (heck, I would've loved more of those moments), and Nate and Ruby's relationship had some great moments as well. Dessen tackled a lot of difficult issues in this book, yet there were some moments that felt summarized and lacked as much emotional connectivity as some of her other books (i.e. "Dreamland" and "The Truth About Forever") that I was hoping for. I felt like I couldn't really sink my teeth into the experience despite the coming to terms for the characters. The key metaphor carried throughout the book was a good one, and I liked how it came full circle in the end.

It's a book of Dessen's I enjoyed - probably not my favorite in her bibliography, but still a memorable one and well worth reading.

Overall rating: 3.5/5 stars.
Profile Image for Shannon .
1,221 reviews2,213 followers
August 6, 2009
When Ruby's mother never comes home, leaving her to take care of the small rented house, keep their job bringing lost airport luggage to people, and making it to school all on her own for about three months, Ruby thinks she's handling things fine. When the landlords discover she's been living like this, she's quickly taken away and given over to the care of her sister Cora, who, ten years older, married to a man who co-founded a Facebook-type online community, and a lawyer herself, hasn't been seen or heard from by Ruby since Cora left for university.

Estranged from a sister she was once incredibly close to and even dependent on, Ruby's determined to make it on her own. After all, she'll be turning eighteen soon and then no one can hold her. Sent to the expensive, elite private school Cora's husband used to attend, she's also determined not to make any friends. It's all temporary, she doesn't fit in. But her good-looking neighbour Nate slowly draws her into a real friendship - until she realises he's just like her, refusing to let anyone help when it really matters, and Ruby has to decide whether she really wants to be like her mother, running from those who need her, or like Cora, protective and compassionate.

I have mixed feelings about this book. The writing is fine enough, the pacing steady, and so on, but there was a very formulaic feel to the novel. It was like watching a typical Hollywood drama, or a Danielle Steele telemovie. It was just so neat. So tidy. Even when Ruby was visiting her old drug-dealer friend and on/off lover, there was no real grit. It wasn't that Ruby's story wasn't believable, but that Dessen herself had packaged it so nicely. I don't know anything about the author, but it felt like she was writing about something she didn't really understand.

Other aspects of the story, like the story arc itself, were horribly conventional and predictable. Sadly, there's nothing original here - unless you count the 'orrible gaff of saying "Organic free-trade" instead of "Organic Fair Trade" (p.133) - there's a BIG difference! (and you don't say something's Free Trade; it's the default, the whole idea is that Free Trade exploits people and Fair doesn't, therefore it's a selling point). The characters were clichés, even Ruby, who struggled to exude any kind of charisma, and I'm wondering whether there are any teen books out there that aren't about beautiful rich people. Why did Cora and her husband Jamie need to be so incredibly wealthy? Simply to provide the opposite extreme to Ruby's previous life? It came across as garish and insensitive. Why doesn't anyone write stories about the middle class? Or maybe I should say, why doesn't anyone want to read them?

Lock and Key is a terribly safe story. It attempts to examine issues of the heart, growing up, dealing with extremes - but other than making an effort to "show" rather than constantly "tell", it's heavy-handed and often boring.

Having beaten the book down so much, I do have to add that it was a pleasant read, fairly intriguing, and I did feel sympathetic for Ruby, Cora and Jamie at times - but I'm not terribly interested in reading more of Dessen's books. But I have little doubt that as a young teenager I would have really enjoyed this book, so it's probably an age thing.
Profile Image for Maximiliano.
Author 1 book1,204 followers
February 2, 2021
''You couldn't make any person your world. The trick was to take what each could give you and build a world from it''.

Me encantan los libros de esta autora. Son reales y concretos, te meten en la historia directo y están bien estructurados. Aprecio mucho los finales que sabe dar. No son completamente exagerados ni totalmente cerrados, son justo lo que los personajes necesitan, no siempre el que le gustaría leer al lector. Sarah Dessen es una apuesta segura, la banco mucho.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,776 reviews