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Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief
The Sammy Keyes Series
Wendelin Van Draanen
Random House (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-679-89264-8 (0679892648)
ISBN-13: 978-0-679-89264-9 (9780679892649)
Publication Date: August 1998
List Price: $6.50
Review: Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief by Wendelin Van Draanen is the first book in the Sammy Keyes Mysteries series. The main character in these books is Sammy Keyes, a 7th grade girl who solves mysteries.
Sammy Keyes wasn’t looking for adventure, but that’s exactly what she found when she sees a man through her binoculars at the hotel across the street stealing money out of a purse. Sammy thinks quickly, but doesn’t come up with the best idea when she waves at the crook! Other than Officer Borsch not believing Sammy about what she’s seen she has to deal with her grandmother’s suspicious neighbor, Mrs. Greybill. She has been trying to catch Sammy living with her grandmother in the “senior’s only” apartment complex.
Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief was an average mystery story at best. This book might be more interesting for a 4th or 5th grader than for a middle school student. The whole mystery seemed to lack suspense. Additionally, the fact that a 7th grader could figure out who the hotel thief was in only a matter of days was a bit unrealistic. This author did not make me want to read more. The author did however do a good job of explaining the characters and what they are like. But Sammy Keyes may not be a likeable lead character for everyone. I found her hard to relate to.
The Hotel Thief wasn’t a very good start to the mystery series. If this author is trying to reach middle school aged kids she should write her stories on a more mature level. The rest of the series may accomplish this but I do not wish to read any more books in this series. I do not recommend reading more Sammy Keyes mystery books.
Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief won the 1999 Edger Allan Poe Award for best children’s mystery book.
Review written by Lauren, Grade 6. Date of review: October 2008.