Another from my Dessen collection! This one is a recent addition to the collection (thank you Julia!) which I read in about 3 days. It was just over 400 pages, but it’s a quick paced novel and if life hadn’t gotten in the way, I would have been done with it much sooner.

The story starts off introducing seventeen year old Ruby, and her mother, a restless woman perplexed by her misfortune. Ruby’s father wasn’t in the picture, and her sister, who was ten years older than Ruby, had left the duo for college and never looked back. Reflecting on her childhood memories was painful for Ruby, but despite her anger at her sister, Cora, Ruby always remembered her as her protector…at least, until she left. And from then on, her mother always reminded her that it was just the two of them against the world. Ruby reflected her mother’s attitude, never getting too attached to her school friends or her home, and on nights when her mother didn’t return home, she aimed to prove her mother that she didn’t need her either.

But then, after her mother had been gone for a few weeks without a word of where she went, and despite Ruby’s best efforts to carry on like it wasn’t a big deal that her mother was MIA, the landlords of their current residence, the little yellow house, called in social services. Ruby was taken away by the officials, leaving everything behind but the house key dangling on a dainty chain around her neck. She was put under the custody of her sister, whom Ruby hadn’t seen in a decade, and found that her sister had done well for herself; rich husband, big house, fancy neighborhood, nice cars. But Ruby wasn’t used to the luxury, and couldn’t bear the thought of being her sister’s charity case. Instead of unpacking, she plans to sneak off into the night… only to be thwarted by their little dog sounding alarm.

Forced by her circumstances to adjust to this new way of life, Ruby finds that even those that seem more fortunate than her have their own problems, and that sometimes, it’s okay to accept- and give- a helping hand. It may sound a little cliche and fluffy, but Dessen writes these characters so beautifully, you won’t even think about the cheese-factor, especially in Lock and Key, with all it’s heavy-hitting topics. I was completely absorbed in Ruby’s life as she handled all the changes in her senior year of high school and delved into the truth from her past. I loved watching the relationship develop between her and Cora, as well as the other supporting characters that come into the story line.

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(Photo Credit: Google Images)

As I’ve said before, Dessen books are a perfect go-to Young Adult read, so I urge you to check one out.