Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief
By Wendelin Van Draanen
(Yearling, Paperback, 9780679892649, 192pp.)
Publication Date: August 18, 1998
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"The most winning junior detective ever in teen lit. (Take that, Nancy Drew!)" —Midwest Children's Book Review
What Sammy should have done was put the binoculars down and call 911. What she does instead is tighten up the focus on her right eye to get a better look. There's something very familiar about this thief.
But when Sammy eventually spills her story to Officer Borsch, he doesn't believe her. He treats her like some snot-nosed little kid. Well, Sammy's not going to stand for that. She's a snot-nosed seventh grader now, and she knows what she saw. And somehow she's going to prove it.
The Sammy Keyes mysteries are fast-paced, funny, thoroughly modern, and true whodunits. Each mystery is exciting and dramatic, but it's the drama in Sammy's personal life that keeps readers coming back to see what happens next with her love interest Casey, her soap-star mother, and her mysterious father.
Books have always been a part of Wendelin Van Draanen’s life. Her mother taught her to read at an early age, and she has fond memories of story time with her father, when she and her brothers would cuddle up around him and listen to him read stories.
Growing up, Van Draanen was a tomboy who loved to be outside chasing down adventure. She did not decide that she wanted to be an author until she was an adult. When she tried her hand at writing a screenplay about a family tragedy, she found the process quite cathartic and from that experience, turned to writing novels for adults. She soon stumbled upon the joys of writing for children.
Feedback from her readers is Van Draanen’s greatest reward for writing. “One girl came up to me and told me I changed her life. It doesn’t get any better than that,” she said. Van Draanen hopes to leave her readers with a sense that they have the ability to steer their own destiny—that individuality is a strength, and that where there’s a will, there’s most certainly a way.
Wendelin Van Draanen is the winner of the 1999 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Children’s Mystery Book for Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief and lives with her husband and two sons in California.