High school senior Ruby Cooper has always done just fine by herself, relying on her mostly absent mother once in a blue moon. She is independent, introverted, and responsible, which is why a sudden relocation to her sister’s house hits her deeply. Her sister, Cora, and her husband, Jamie, are rich, loving, and care for her in a way her own mother never has, but Cora can’t seem to bring herself to rely on them. Moving into a rich family, going to a private school, having loving guardians may be a dream come true for others, not so much for Ruby. Watchful and prepared, Ruby is ready to leave at any moment.
Although her mother is irresponsible, ignorant, and an alcoholic who has abandoned a high school student to care for herself, Ruby is constantly on the lookout for her. Her mother may not have been the best guardian, but Ruby knows she will return, and bring Ruby’s life back to normal. Cora on the other hand, warns and reminds Ruby about their mother’s carelessness, steering her away from the abusive life she had been living before.
Multiple embarrassing meetings, hundreds of awkward conversations and a humiliating car pick-up pushes Ruby into a friendship with Nate, the boy next door. He listens and is always there for her, but Ruby can’t help but notice how he seems stand-offish, refusing to talk about his personal life while learning more and more about her every day.
Ruby’s always thought her family was the most dysfunctional one possible, but soon realizes she isn’t the only one suffering and in need of help.
Lock and Key is my second favorite Sarah Dessen novel, with Just Listen reigning at the top. It takes on a slow and well-thought out pace, telling a formidable story from the perspective of a young girl who undergoes a mountain and more of character development.
I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a slow, gradual read.