Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Lock and Key” as Want to Read:
Lock and Key
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Lock and Key

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  123,550 Ratings  ·  4,762 Reviews
Ruby, where is your mother?

Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she's been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return.

That's how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn't seen in ten years, and Cora's husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he foun

Hardcover, 432 pages
Published April 22nd 2008 by Viking's Children's Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Lock and Key, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Bree No, She gave him the key to Cora's house not to the yellow house or Harriets keys.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 25, 2010 Adrienne rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-loan
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 whils
Shannon (leaninglights)
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.
Oct 12, 2015 Pinky rated it really liked it

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 befor
May 07, 2008 Runa rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 30, 2012 ♥Rachel♥ rated it really liked it
"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 authorit
Jul 02, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, faves, ya
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 su
Oct 25, 2009 Danielle rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Teen Fiction Lovers
Shelves: young-adult
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
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", ...more
Aug 04, 2008 Jeanne rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: fans of Sarah Dessen
Shelves: young-adult
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 t
[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
Jennifer Wardrip
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, mo
Jan 19, 2016 Laurence rated it really liked it
This book ended up being so heartwarming that I'm still not over it!
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 he ...more
Jan 11, 2014 Ying rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
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 ...more
Sep 01, 2015 Christiana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mais para o 4,5!
Apr 01, 2016 Lizzie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 28, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing
Reread 28/06/2015: new rating = five stars

I think it's been a while since I've finished an entire book in one day, but today Sarah Dessen made it happen again. I've read Miranda Kenneally saying on Twitter how Dessen's books are like coming home for her, and for me it's the exact same thing. I started reading them in 9th grade - back then I was still reading in German - and continued my obsession the following year during my exchange in the States, reading books in English for the first time. A
Sep 29, 2010 Thomas rated it really liked it
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 establish
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
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 s ...more
Feb 05, 2011 Camilla rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, own
This is the first novel I've read by Sarah Dessen, but boy let me tell you, it will defiantly not be my last!! This was an emotional, beautiful and heartbreaking story that had me captivated right until the end. The beginning was slow but as it progressed, I could not put it down! I don't usually read these kind of realistic, intense stories, but Dessen left me in "awe" as I read, and now, I cannot wait to read more of these kinds of books! At times I wanted to reach into the book and hug the ch ...more
Feb 23, 2016 bookaholic_kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Contemporary and YA readers
I was expecting this book to be more on young relationship but it is not like that at all. The synopsis at the back of the book totally mislead me.

So the story tells the story of Ruby, a teenage girl who ended up living with her sister whom she didn't have contact for 10 years, and she has to transfer to a private school in the middle of her senior year. Ruby had a rough life growing up. She grew up being the adult and has to endure a difficult life with her mother. One day, her mother just van
Jul 03, 2016 Siv30 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adults
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
Kendyl Spinks
Dec 10, 2013 Kendyl Spinks rated it it was amazing
The book Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen is what my project is about. This book is a touching story of moving on but hanging on, accepting love and giving love. It begins with a young woman named Ruby living in a house that her mother has abandoned. This character then is caught ,due to not being able to keep up with the house bills and is forced to live with her sister and her brother in law.
As the book progresses she hates living with somebody because she wants her freedom but learns to love it
Alissa Patrick
Nov 04, 2015 Alissa Patrick rated it really liked it
“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 ca ...more
Jan 03, 2009 Amber rated it really liked it
I chose to read this book after hearing great things about this author from my friend Jessica. I had high hopes going in to this and this book did not disappoint. As I've heard, Dessen's novels focus on teenage girls and coming of age moments/situations. This holds true for Lock and Key with the focus of this book on family, what it means to different people and what it means to be independent or to rely on others. There were parts of this book that had me in tears not only because of the theme, ...more
May 10, 2008 CLM rated it liked it
Startling to have a Sarah Dessen heroine having sex with a drug dealer! That is not the kind of girl I went to high school with.

This is not by any means Sarah's best - the characters did not seem fully developed and the problems experienced by the sisters seem much too easily resolved or ignored - but it was still enjoyable.

For someone who is such a college basketball fan, she did not depict a (would be) swimming scholarship athlete at all realistically. Also, Cora had much too much time to co
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
Loooooved it! So good. But I expect nothing less from Sarah Dessen, of course. Just a random note, but I love how her characters all live in the same little world, and make little cameos in each other's books. It's really cool. Like Rogerson from Dreamland was in this one ... and so were Annabel and Owen from Just Listen. lol
Aug 09, 2016 Eve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014
This is my first Sarah Dessen novel, and I was really surprised! Last summer I fell in love with the The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. That's probably an understatement. I scarfed that whole series down like I was in a pie eating contest at a state fair. I know I always say this, but I really am not a regular reader of YA books. I should know. I've been packing up all of my books for a long distance move, and while I have many children's books, the YA department is practically nonexi ...more
Jan 14, 2013 Stephen rated it really liked it
Ruby Cooper is a young woman determined to get by on her own. After all, others will only let you down. Her father let her down when he divorced her mother. Her big sister let her down when she got old enough to run away to college and escape their dysfunctional family. Now that Ruby's been deserted by her alcoholic mom, she's resolved to get along on her own, without relying on anyone else. If only the state would let her.

Sarah Dessen has crafted yet another compelling tale about a young woman'
Sep 09, 2015 Prami rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
This book took me through such an emotional roller coaster it should be illegal! Such in-depth subject with beautiful writing and amazing storyline.

4.5 Stars
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Future Teachers, ...: Lindsey Watt Review 6 1 1 Nov 16, 2016 08:24PM  
Future Teachers, ...: Review 7 1 1 Nov 15, 2016 04:05PM  
Future Teachers, ...: Crawford. review 4. Lock and Key 1 2 Nov 02, 2016 02:37PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Lock & Key By Sarah Dessen 2 16 Oct 22, 2015 11:06AM  
247 Beltsville Lo...: Emergency Locksmith in Beltsville 1 1 Oct 05, 2015 03:17AM  
  • Perfect You
  • The Nature of Jade
  • North of Beautiful
  • When It Happens
  • The Off Season (Dairy Queen, #2)
  • Girl at Sea
  • Perfect Fifths (Jessica Darling, #5)
  • Audrey, Wait!
  • Sweethearts
  • Pants on Fire
  • The Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them (Ruby Oliver, #2)

Share This Book

“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.” 3813 likes
“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.” 2738 likes
More quotes…