Monday, August 30, 2010

Review: Lock and Key - Sarah Dessen

So. Lock and Key. Where do I even begin?
I mean, it's Sarah Dessen, and in my opinion, you can NEVER go wrong with her novels. I've even gotten my older sister to read a few, and she tends to stick to Adult Contemporary.

Ruby is sure that she can live on her own. She looks out for no one but herself, needs to depend on nobody. And she has things - as well as school and a job - all figured out. But her world comes crashing down when she's turned in my child services, after they find her living alone in an ill-equipped house. She's sent to live with her older sister, whom she hasn't seen in years, having abandoned her and her mother years earlier. How does one go from having nothing to being treated well and given a great house to live in? Anyone else would be ecstatic, but Ruby has more pride than that. But adjusting to a real family might just be what she needs...

I've been trying to read Sarah's books in the order that they were written. I'm not sure why, but I think it's because it feels truer that I can almost go on the journey as she writes, understanding what she was going through by the stories she made up. Anyway, I'm very glad that I've been doing pretty much that (with the exception of That Summer and a few others) because there are a few little references to her other novels. Just quick little nonchalant coincidences that really just made me go, "Ahh! It's that person! From that book!"

The writing and description was fantastic, as always. I absolutely loved the theme. I think it's one that's not touched on much, but when it is, is a hard once-over about someone feeling like an outcast. Here though, we aren't ever left with much suffocated emotion, and we sure don't get a protagonist who is completely comfortable with being this loner. It's usually complaining and depressing and blah, blah, blah.

This book was just one girl's journey through so many changes in atmosphere, company, and way of thought. Dessen never fails to write thought provoking literature that's meaningful and poignant. She's never the mediocre YA lit, filled with frothy scenes of normal high school life. And sometimes those stories are okay. Other times, you just need something with a more powerful meaning.

Some of my favorite quotes:
"It's never something huge that changes everything, but instead the tiniest of details, irrevocably tweaking the balance of the universe while you're busy focusing on the big picture."
"My only thought was to go back to the dream I'd been having, which I couldn't remember, other than it had been good, in that distant, hopeful way unreal things can be."
"You couldn't make any one person your world. The trick was to take what each could give you and build a world from it."

Also, I just adored the characters. At first you think you have Nate all figured out, and then BAM! And Ruby is so relatable. Jamie is just the type of person you see as your brother.
Little weird thing about me: I tend to picture people I know or people I've seen around at school as the characters in books. Does anyone else ever do that? Well, in the beginning of the book, I pictured Nate as someone I knew, but my perception of him changed so much that I just couldn't picture these people being one in the same.

I know I included a lot of covers for this one, but I love them all! I'm such a nerd, I actually have two copies of this book: the hardcover I bought when it first came out and a paperback copy I found in the bargain section of the Local bookstore.
The first picture is the hardcover with the dust jacket, and the second is without the dust jacket. Isn't it beautiful? The third photo is the paperback. It's pretty as well, but the key doesn't really look like the one on the opening pages. I guess I'm just picky like that. My favorite though, is the last picture. This one is the UK cover, and it's so great! Every little thing that builds the key is so significant to the story! I've seen some of the other Dessen UK covers, and it seems to me that they are all awesome! But ours are pretty wonderful too...