Lock And Key by Sarah Dessen grabbed my heart. It’s a gut wrenching story of Ruby, a girl who grows up too fast because her mom still hasn’t. In her senior year, Ruby’s mom finally bails – the last in a long line of family members who’ve gone – and social services places Ruby in her older sister’s care.
It should be a better life; it’s more stable than the drifting she did with her alcoholic mom, but Ruby’s doesn’t know. She keeps the key to the old place she and her mom rented on a chain as an anchor to her old life. This time Ruby’s the one constantly dreaming of leaving – even when she’s unsure where she wants to go. Her neighbor Nate appears to have a better life, one she’s drawn to until she finds hints to what he’s hiding. Once she begins to see deeper into the lives of her friends and family, Ruby comes into her own.