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Lock and Key

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  145,951 ratings  ·  5,523 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
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Tatiana Aguilar Sarah Dessen's books all end like this, unanswered so that the readers can make up an ending.…moreSarah Dessen's books all end like this, unanswered so that the readers can make up an ending.(less)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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 ·  145,951 ratings  ·  5,523 reviews

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Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Feb 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 1-star, year-2017
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,
Jan 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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
Shannon (kitchandpages)
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 09, 2015 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 be
Aug 19, 2011 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 author
May 07, 2008 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 10, 2008 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
Jul 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z2015, 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
Aug 02, 2008 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
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
Julie Zantopoulos
This was such a sweet book and a great look at family dynamics, siblings, friendships, and personal growth. I really enjoyed the well rounded MC and how Ruby is so far from perfect. This is a story about a flawed family and how you heal and learn to let love and other people into your life.

I genuinely enjoyed the story and the character arc.
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
[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
Aug 26, 2018 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 03, 2008 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
Elizabeth Aguilar
Apr 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020, 3-wands
Wholesome <3

Lots of friendship, family, and some romance.
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
Laurence R.
Jun 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book ended up being so heartwarming that I'm still not over it! ...more
Mar 30, 2016 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
Norah Una Sumner
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
Sep 23, 2010 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
Reaffirms why Dessen is a favorite of mine... she can tell a good story and make you care about the characters. Well worth it.
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
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
The Girl Murdered by Her TBR
March 2020

DNF at 23%

This book is soooo emotionally heavy for my liking. And it’s a no no for me. I also don’t like the characters especially Ruby and Cora and their asshole mother. Jeez... 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️
I know I haven't read that many, but this is my new favorite Sarah Dessen novel. ...more
Feb 21, 2013 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.
Jay G
Apr 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my Youtube channel:

This book follows Ruby Cooper who was abandoned by her mother a few months ago and has been living on her own in the old yellow house they rent. When the adults in her life discover this, they ship her off to live with her older sister, Cora who she hasn't seen in over 10 years and her husband Jamie. At first, Ruby is reluctant to accept any of the help her sister and Jamie try to provi
lacy white
Jun 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, own, d, 3-stars
More of a 3.5. I really can't decide what to rate it, to be honest.

When I started this book, I was worried that I had finally outgrown Sarah Dessen. I used to read her books constantly when I was younger. They spoke to me because they were about problems that teenagers dealt with. I felt like I could relate to them. And in a way, I did. Even if the teenagers were whiny and cried a lot. I was a whiny teenager that cried a lot so I felt like I had a lot in common.

But I wondered, would I be able
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