Parents' Guide to

Lock and Key

By Stephanie Dunnewind, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Angsty novel tackles mature themes in thoughtful way.

Lock and Key Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 1 parent review

age 13+

This was one of the books that got me into reading

I read this book a long time ago but it is a good book. It deals with some sensitive issues, like drug and alcohol abuse(by teens and adults), physical abuse, and sexually active teens. It's definitely for the mature young lady.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (30 ):

Teens will respond to Ruby's first-person voice as she struggles with all the changes in her life, even positive ones. Handed $200 and sent to the mall, Ruby is just anxious with what would seem to be teen heaven. Extensive dialogue exchanges give a sense of immediacy and connection with the characters. The child abuse isn't sensationalized; she focuses on the psychological damage, not the physical violence.

Some of the author's imagery (especially the key metaphor) lacks subtlety; secondary characters seem created to make a point, rather than as real people (Ruby's brother-in-law, while endearing, is simply too perfect); and several plot developments feel contrived. Still, the writing is higher quality than you'll find in many popular young-adult books, with lovely phrases and surprising bits of humor.

Book Details

  • Author: Sarah Dessen
  • Genre: Coming of Age
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Viking
  • Publication date: April 22, 2008
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 12
  • Number of pages: 422
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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