Sarah and Emily

I’ve been reading Emily’s blog and marvelling at her stamina. It takes a lot of time to read, digest, and review books, and it’s good that she takes so much time over it, and discusses even the bad ones intelligently and in detail.

Last night I read Sarah Dessen’s ‘Lock And Key’ which I loved. It’s very different, in some ways, to ‘Just Listen’ (which I also loved) in that the initial premise of ‘Just Listen’ is a girl who appears to have everything, but who in fact doesn’t. The heroine, Ruby, in ‘Lock And Key’ starts off with nothing, and is thrown into a life of privilage that she really doesn’t want, so she goes from extreme poverty to extreme wealth via very traumatic circumstances. But there are similarities in terms of questions of identity, disrupted lives, and how things that often look perfect aren’t really when you scratch the surface.

I don’t want to say too much more, because I don’t want to ruin the plot of either book, but I very much respect Sarah Dessen as a writer. There’s always lots of interesting, multi faceted, quirky characters beyond the main cast, and nice little details, like the view into other peoples lives Ruby and Nate gain through working on his dad’s business – which is one of those businesess where they run around doing all the mundane tasks (shopping, picking up prescriptions, taking animals to and from vets…) that the very rich don’t have time to do: The quantity of xanex and other anti-depressant drugs being collected and delivered each time is remarked on….

I think what I really like about Sarah Dessen’s books is that she is capable of writing about very serious, often very dark, unpleasant aspects of life and human behaviour, without doing so gratuitiously or trivialising the issues, or using them in a gimmicky way. And her characters are always complex, compelling, and believable, with layers of backstory and plots, and twists.

I think Emily would like these two books…

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