Book Review: Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen


Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
Genres: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Short reaction: Great lesson about family, acceptance and opening doors to others
Rating: 4 out of 5
Buy book on Amazon: Paperback / Kindle

Synopsis

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 founded the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future; it’s a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give?

Best-selling author Sarah Dessen explores the heart of a gutsy, complex girl dealing with unforeseen circumstances and learning to trust again.

My Review

Also seen on Goodreads.

I never felt so bored at majority of the chapters; good thing it got better at 80%. This is the second book that I read from Ms. Dessen’s work and despite the boredom, I liked how she created realistic stories and life lessons:

Lock and Key‘s pacing was slow especially on the parts where it revolved around Ruby Cooper (the daughter Ruby) and coping with her new life. Chapters felt so long and wordy. I might have given it 2 stars at worst if I didn’t pursue it. My conscience however told me I should continue because there’s something Ms. Dessen is going to show me. And it did show me something. A beautiful lesson.

What made me give it 4 stars?

It’s realistic. Ruby, our protagonist faces the biggest struggle of surviving alone since her mom left her in her junior year along with her sister’s disappearance years prior to that. No sane seventeen year old and yet attractive girl can stay like that forever while dealing with school, work, making up with bills, maintaining the household, keeping the relationship with boyfriend, etc. Ruby thought she can make it but even drugs and alcohol won’t fix a thing especially her emotions. Having a boyfriend didn’t make it better otherwise. But as she was sent under the custody of her sister Cora whom she didn’t see in years and now married, she’s gone through a lot of changes – living a wealthy lifestyle, changing herself for the better and trying to understand people around her especially her sister. Her learning to forgive herself, her mother and her sister made her somehow whole again to open her doors and trust again.

It’s about family. I have a weakness when it comes to reading about family e.g. keeping it whole and strong, treasuring every moment of it. Ruby’s family is already broken yet as the story develops, Ms. Dessen showed us how to appreciate life and family with others – new friends, a pet, a brother-in-law or a neighbor. I liked Jamie’s character (Cora’s husband) – how he makes people appreciate life by teaching them how to be happy and special to someone else, how to go through life with learning and acceptance, how to hope and make someone hopeful. He portrayed the best character! He touched my heart by how he cared for Ruby despite her attitude. He understood where Ruby and Cora came from and he’s willing to give them the life they wanted to have not only with his wealth but with his love and value for family. Another characters I loved were Nate’s and his little prodigy brother Gervais’. They’ve been a big help to make Ruby whole again by accompanying her to school, helping her and letting her feel appreciated even if they also have their own struggles. In fact, the unexpected romance was a nice breather!

I’m so glad I finished it. 🙂 I know I got bored a couple of times but the ending was worth it.

Really, we should let our locks be opened by giving those people who care our keys to our happiness then in the end, it’s all win-win because we might also make them whole and happy.

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Book Review: The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Genres: Young Adult, Chick-Lit, Realistic Fiction
Short reaction: Taught me a different side of forever that’s sweet and memorable
Rating: 5 out of 5

This is the first Sarah Dessen book that I read and the reason I became immediately turned a fan. Thanks Vanessa for introducing this author to me! 🙂

Synopsis

That’s what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy’s father.

But sometimes unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister’s project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl’s world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to wonder, Is it really better to be safe than sorry?

My Review

Also seen on Goodreads.

LOL, I hated myself for not reviewing books seriously this year but honestly I was speechless after reading it and I just wanted everything to dig in. So here’s my say:

Forever – this book tells us that forever is not only the perfect word for long time..it is how you make things perfect in its own imperfect ways that will help make it last even in a second, hour, days, weeks, years. Like being in love – you just have to love and forget the world sometimes and just do whatever it takes to be happy as we only have a life to live that will end whenever. If we truely love a person, we do not need to please because we will see ‘treasure’ even in the junkiest junk and thats what Wes taught Macy. 🙂

Love of Characters

Macy – This character is so realistic. Not too strong yet not too lame. When her father died, she made a decision not to run again even if that’s what he trained her but since it just tortures her because she wasn’t able to save him, she just let go of her passion in running. I also couldn’t blame her for hating people who always feel sorry for her for what happened because if I were her, I would also get tired of those sad faces and instead, I would find someone who can just joke around and forget the reality once in a while. Her being clingy with Jason when he left for brain camp – while it sounds wrong, I admit it’s normal to feel that way even that pissed the relationship off.

Jason – I hate him for being so selfish. He’s so focused on his career and reputation and didn’t see Macy’s value at all!

Wes – who wouldn’t love him? His unique sculptures, his “angels”, his care for Macy. Compared with Cricket, sadly I don’t think Cricket is better than Wes. Wes got me because he acted way more mature (because of his parents’ loss too) and for being the eldest child. I’m a sucker for guys who love exquisite to strangest art plus putting love to it. I can’t forget how he’s such a sweetheart for giving one of his creations to Macy which is a sign of his forever love to her. 🙂

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