Sammy Keyes and the Night of Skulls by Wendelin Van Draanen

January 13, 2012
By Carter Chapman GOLD, Cannon Falls, Minnesota
Carter Chapman GOLD, Cannon Falls, Minnesota
13 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Book Review
Sammy Keyes and the Night of Skulls
By Wendelin Van Draanen

Sammy Keyes balances living with her grandmother illegally in a Senior High rise, relationships, and solving crimes, all with only being in the 8th grade. Yet, she still lives a semi - typical teenage life, with friends, enemies, drama, and fun.

I started reading the Sammy Keyes series a couple of years ago, due to the fact I thought the cover looked “cool”. After reading the first novel in the series, I was immediately drawn in. I suppose the fact that she lives with her grandmother illegally due to the fact her mother ran off to Hollywood to become a soap opera star, is what really amused me.
The author, Wendelin Va Draanen, achieved the effects of the book very well. In a lot of her books, she uses cliff hanger techniques which draws you in even more than you already are. She is also the author of many other great books such as Runaway, Shredderman, and many others. She has won several awards such as the Edgar Allen Poe award in 1999 for Best Children's Book, Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief. Sammy Keyes in my opinion, is one of the best series of books she has written so far. She is the modern day version of Nancy Drew, or Sherlock Holmes.

I would personally recommend this book, due to the fact it has many different genres all in one. It can be read from any age, elementary on up. And the one thing you will not get while reading this book is bored. Sammy doesn’t always intentionally catch criminals, things just seem to fall into her hands. Like seeing a man rob a hotel through her grandmothers apartment window, you can’t just do nothing about it, right? She may only be in Junior High, but she can catch criminals that even the police can’t! This novel has to be one of the most graphic - dangerous types, in the whole series. One of my favorites so far.

It’s Halloween, and Sammy and her friends are going Trick - Or - Treating, because after all, you’re never too old for free candy! They are going to a haunted house that a local neighborhood is putting on, and they decide to take a short cut through the cemetery. Everything is going good, they’re having fun, telling ghost stories, normal teenage stuff. Until suddenly someone dressed in a Mexican cape starts running toward them, being chased by another man holding a garden hoe. Sammy and her friends do the instinctive thing to do in that situation, they hide behind the nearest tombstone possible.

Luckily, they are not seen, and the men run out of sight. As Sammy and her friends are getting up to leave, they notice the man in the cape dropped his bag of candy
so they do the typical thing and take it. I mean hey, it’s free candy you don’t want it to go to waste, right?

Until later that night when they go back to her grandmothers friend, Hudson's house, to see what they got for candy. Only to find that the sack that the man in the cape dropped, contained 2 skulls inside. Could they be fake skulls? It is Halloween after all. Until they later discover, they are most definitely real. Sammy and her friends realize they have a lot more in store than just having fun on Halloween.

The author's comments:
Great book, I would recommend everyone to read this series!

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