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*Sammy Keyes and the Showdown in Sin City* by Wendelin Van Draanen - middle grades book review
Also by Wendelin Van Draanen:

Sammy Keyes and the Power of Justice Jack

The Running Dream


Confessions of a Serial Kisser


Shredderman 1: Secret Identity

Shredderman 2: Attack of the Tagger
Sammy Keyes and the Showdown in Sin City
by Wendelin Van Draanen
Ages 10+ 288 pages Knopf January 2013 Hardcover    

Samantha Keyes (Sammy, to her friends) is a master at solving problems and clearing up mysteries—as long as they are about someone else. She has a little more trouble solving the mysteries in her own life, such as knowing who her father is, understanding why Heather Acosta is such a bully, wondering how long she can continue to hide out at Grandma’s seniors-only complex, and when her mother will finally give up her search for fame and come home.

Sammy has found acceptance from her boyfriend, Casey, who just happens to be Heather’s brother. Although Casey’s mom clearly disapproves of the relationship, Casey and Sammy manage to see each other and keep in touch with regular payphone calls.

When Sammy discovers that all signs point to a marriage between her mother and Casey’s father, she just has to find a way to stop it. After all, she cannot even get her mother to reveal the name of her real father, and she is certainly not willing to take on a stepfather. When events align to provide Sammy a way to get to Las Vegas to stop the wedding, she is sure that once she arrives she will be able to locate her mother and talk some sense into her.

Sammy doesn’t count on how many people have come to Vegas for the fun, food and entertainment and how few of those people want to be found. With the help of her best friend, Marissa, some tips from an Elvis-impersonator and the assistance of some unwilling adults, Sammy will again be able solve the mystery, but will she be happy at the price she will have to pay?

As always in the Sammy adventures, author Van Draanen gives young readers a fun, intriguing plot that will keep them guessing until the last page. This author is always a favorite of the upper elementary and middle school crowd.
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