Lock and Key is a stand alone contemporary YA novel. That sentence alone should tell you this is not your typical YA book. The protagonist, Ruby, is a 17 year old girl who is a senior in high school. She has been living alone for ten years with her mother who is divorced, has a substance abuse problem, and is clearly not a good role model. She attends school all day and helps her mother work in the evening just to meet their basic needs. Living under these circumstances has left her very guarded and suspicious of others.
One day, her mother abandons her without warning. The authorities ultimately figure this out and contact her sister Cora. Cora is 10 years older than Ruby and has not been a part of her life since she went away to college. She is now an attorney and is married to Jamie, who hit it big with an online social networking site. When Ruby goes to live with them, her life is turned COMPLETELY upside down. She is now living in a wealthy neighborhood, attending a private school, and has everything she could possibly need or want.
Family is a theme that is continuously explored throughout the novel. As Ruby begins to unravel the truth behind her own family, will she be able to overcome her upbringing and begin to thrive in her new setting? Will she be able to trust others and develop the social contacts she so desperately needs?
Cora, Jamie, Nate, and Olivia were all amazing characters in their own right. Ruby learns that everyone has their own struggles. The seemingly perfect lives that some people may appear to have are not always a reality. Through friendship and a willingness to offer and accept help from others, these characters are able to make tremendous strides in their own lives.
I have to give Adam from Hitting on Girls in Bookstores credit for selecting this book. He reviewed a couple of Sarah Dessen's books a while back and was raving about her. I decided to give one a try and I am VERY happy that I did. I will absolutely read another one of her books, most likely sooner rather than later.