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Dessen, Sarah.
New York : Viking, 2008
ISBN 067001088X

(4 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

Ruby has been abandoned by her  mother. Then, she was off to live with her older sister Cora, who Ruby hasn't seen in 10 years, and her husband Jamie, who is founder of a big networking website. A nice home, a caring family, and a cute boy, who happens to be  her next door  neighbor, what more could a girl want? The only thing Ruby really wants though  is to be back at home in her yellow house, living on her own before the social workers took her away. The yellow house was her real home. Well, what she can call home at least.  Everything in her new town is just so…perfect. Once she becomes friends with Nate, the next door neighbor, she learns that he isn't so perfect after all. He has a secret of his own. Why does Ruby keep running away from her great life? And what does Nate keep trying to hide? To find out what Nate's big secret is and why Ruby keeps running away from her new life, read Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen.  (Tanya V., student)

Booktalk #2

Ruby’s life has suddenly gotten much easier. So, why is she having such a hard time dealing with it? After it was discovered that her mother had run off and left Ruby to get by on her own, Ruby has finally been reunited with her sister Cora who she has not seen in years. Ruby had hoped that no one would ever find out—at least not until she had already turned eighteen. But, that was not to be. Now she has to move to a nice house, attend a private school, and plan for college. Even Nate, the nice, good-looking boy next door is not enough to lighten Ruby’s spirits. As she finds friends in her new world and learns that a nicer environment does not mean that life is easier, Ruby comes to find that secrets need to be told and that she has to trust others if she is going to find true happiness.
Reviewed by Kari Hagman for Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award
Booktalk #3

[Have set of keys handy & also decorative key on chain if possible to introduce the book]

If youve read Sarah Dressen's Just Listen you already know her characters from their dialogue, and of course the title comes from within the pages.

So, Lock and Key is symbolic to this story: a key can both shut and open; close up and start up.  (show your house key and car key)

Ruby, abandoned by her alcoholic Mom and caught faking a family life, is awkwardly dropped into older sister Coras successful suburban routine. Ruby's tough exterior independence slowly dissolves as she copes with  family, new school and cute but shy next door classmate Nate.

And what about the symbol of the word lock? It refers to the Rubys abandoned old house, her true feelings ... and much more that youll figure out as you read Lock and Key.

(booktalk by Lyla Anderson, Haller Middle School & Post Middle School Librarian for The Washington Evergreen Young Adult Book Award, 2011)

Booktalk #4

Do you think you could live alone, if your parents abandoned you? There you are in  your house: the bills need to be paid, you need to have food, you need to go to school. How long could you get away with it before anyone noticed?

In her little yellow house, Ruby does just that, after her mom takes off. It's almost impossibly hard, but it's hers.

It doesn't last. The authorities find out and soon she's halfway across the country staying with her Aunt Cora Ruby wonders what's wrong with her, why she can't stop aching for her old, difficult life, when everything is so perfect now. Her new family is kind and caring and nice. She lives in a beautiful new home, she's given nice clothes, good food. Her next door neighbor Nate is this great new guy. What's wrong with Ruby?

And what's wrong with Nate? He has secrets, too, and together Ruby and Nate might just be able to unlock each other's hearts.
(booktalk by Kirsten Edwards, King County Library System for The Washington Evergreen Young Adult Book Award, 2011) 

SUBJECTS:     Abandoned children -- Fiction.
                        Self-actualization (Psychology) -- Fiction.
                        Family life -- Fiction.
                        Child abuse -- Fiction.
                        Emotional problems -- Fiction.
                        Interpersonal relations -- Fiction.

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