Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sammy Keyes and the Sisters of Mercy

Sammy Keyes and the Sisters of Mercy
written by Wendelin Van Draanen

The awesome thing about Sammy Keyes is that unlike her literary counterparts Cam Jansen and Encyclopedia Brown (nothing against the two of them, really, they both have their wonderful stories that I love and adore), her mysteries are not easy to figure out. The stories are filled with more plot twists and amidst the unpredictability is room for a lot of characterization, which is done wonderfully by Wendelin Van Draanen. The mysteries are, as I mentioned, a lot more complex. They're not just "hey, look, I've found a minor discrepancy in your story that solves this case" simple, there's actual sleuthing on Sammy's part, with false trails everywhere, never quite sure who the culprit is until the final big reveal. The Sammy Keyes books are descriptive in a witty, not annoying way, unlike most books. The description is all very true to the narrative tone. Another great thing about the books is that they really are a series, they work as stand-alones, but you miss out on some great subplots that run through the entire series that make it a really dynamic set of books. The greatest thing about this series is that it deals with real issues. There are children in foster care, really poor foster care at that, kids who take up smoking at a really young age, and things like neglectful parents do exist. They're not major issues in the story, but they're there in the background, dealt with in extremely tactful and age-appropriate ways. And yet, in spite of the hardships the characters have thrown at them, they do act their age. For instance, a majority of this book focuses on Sammy's tangential softball adventures, and her and her group of friends simply being kids. It's a fantastic series for kids that I highly recommend.

Rating: 4/5 for this installment of the series,
5/5 for the series overall

I got this book from...:Swaptree

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