Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
Reason for reading: I love Sarah Dessen!
First line: "And finally," Jamie said as he pushed the door open, "we come to the main event. Your room."
Book description: “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?
My thoughts: This book has a lot to say about what makes someone part of your family or one of your friends - sometimes people you expect to be there for you aren't and sometimes people you've just met or never given much thought to will really come to your rescue. This theme is woven skillfully throughout the book (especially with the recurring lock and key metaphor), constantly coming back to the ideas of home, family and belonging.
Nate is a great character - uber-nice guy, but with a terrible burden to bear. I liked (well, thought it was interesting and good for the story) the aspect of a male victim of child abuse, on top of Ruby's horror story of neglect. And I really enjoyed seeing Ruby come out of her shell and learn to trust and care about people.
Overall, yet another winner from Sarah Dessen!
Quote that stayed with me:
"Needing was so easy: it came naturally, like breathing. Being needed by someone else, though, that was the hard part. But as with giving help and accepting it, we had to do both to be made complete - like links overlapping to form a chain, or a lock finding the right key."