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*Sammy Keyes and the Power of Justice Jack* by Wendelin Van Draanen - middle grades book review
Also by Wendelin Van Draanen:

Sammy Keyes and the Showdown in Sin City

The Running Dream


Confessions of a Serial Kisser


Shredderman 1: Secret Identity

Shredderman 2: Attack of the Tagger
Sammy Keyes and the Power of Justice Jack
by Wendelin Van Draanen
Ages 10+ 320 pages Yearling December 2012 Paperback    

Samantha (or Sammy, as she is known to all her friends) Keyes, our favorite female investigator, is back with adventures in her hometown of Santa Martino. Not much exciting ever happens in Santa Martino, but Sammy seems to always be able to find some trouble to get in the midst of, even when she isnít trying.

Sammy is living in the Senior Retirement home with her grandmother while her mother seeks fame and fortune in television. The manager of the complex has very strict rules about who can live there, and young Sammy does not fit the description. To provide security for her grandma, Sammy must watch every action to make sure she doesnít compromise her grandmaís ability to continue living there.

Sammyís ability to pay attention to even the smallest detail makes her an excellent detective, always noting when things are not as they seem or not as they should be. When the missing statue at City Hall draws the interest of Justice Jack, a self-proclaimed super hero, itís only a matter of time before Sammy is drawn into the mix.

Although Justice Jack is just an ordinary guy, he seems to have made a name for himself among the townspeople, especially the older people. Even the folks in Sammyís grandmaís building know him and call on him to solve the mystery of a missing resident. The other residents express concern that something awful has happened to Mrs. Wedgewood, but they really want to know what she did with the money that they all gave her.

This is a story of romance, mystery and humor. Boys and girls will both enjoy the antics of these characters on their way to the next Sammy Keyes mystery. Author Van Draanen is an accomplished writer for this age group and understands the romance element for this level. She is an award winner and is the author of Flipped, a novel that addresses that romantic edge between boys and girls of this age (and was adapted for film).

Collections that seek to reach the middle school reader will surely include this title, as well as other titles by Van Draanen, in their shelves.
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