TeenLit Book Reviews

October 2000

Sammy Keyes and the Search for Snake Eyes

Wendelin von Draanen

Mystery, Ages: 11-15 I readily enjoyed this teen mystery. It's in the tradition of Nancy Drew and the Dana Girls. However Sammy Keyes is a rather original character though she has some all-too familiar traits. Think Harriet the Spy. The story revolves around Sammy, her best friend, Marissa, her grandmother, and some pretty rough gang members. This is the first novel in the series that I've read. However it seems that Sammy should know better. She always gets herself into these weird situations. But this girl has got guts! When Sammy is left a "surprise" from a scared-to-death girl in the mall, she knows there is a mystery to solve. Danger lurks in her path at every moment. Snake Eyes with his "Hatred for eyes, steel for a mouth" is a pretty intense character. However it keeps your adrenaline going. A lot of surprises came from this novel. I was happily and not-so-happily surprised sometimes. The last fews sentences of each chapter left me wanting more. At times, I felt I couldn't put down the book. Ms. Von Draanen was very good at keeping someone's attention. For the most part, the story was believeable. Just don't try this at home! However I was disappointed a few times when it seemed unrealistic. It seemed as if Ms. Von Draanen just needed to give the reader this information whilst forgetting realism. I mean come on, why would a tough guy start spilling family history to some little girl he doesn't know? But again, for the most part, Ms. Von Draanen was pretty consistant. The whole side story about softball was pretty much the same as every other teen novel. I think it would have been better if Ms. Von Draanen had stuck with the mystery which is ultimately the main and best part of the novel. The side story really doesn't entangle with the