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Sammy Keyes and the Sisters of Mercy by…

Sammy Keyes and the Sisters of Mercy

by Wendelin Van Draanen

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5-9 grade
The main character is a girl around the ages 12-15 so the intended audience may be young girls of this age group. Also, children who are interested in mysteries may enjoy this book. ( )
  tsmith18 | Feb 23, 2016 |
Sammy continues to make life with her grandmother interesting as she tries to discover who is stealing from St. Mary's church, befriends a homeless girl, and plays in a softball tournament against a bitter rival.
  lkmuir | Dec 7, 2015 |
Sammy Keyes is a respected mystery series aimed at an elementary age audience, with a spunky heroine who is tough and confident. Sammy lives with her grandmother in her retirement community, after her mom left her there to pursue her showbiz dreams. This is not the first book in the series, so the reader doesn't get introductory materials about how Sammy ended up with grandmother, why she has to sneak up and down the fire escape, or how she developed her relationships at her school, both good and bad. However, the story offers a bit of synopsis here and there, enough to clear up any confusion and keep the reader grounded in the story. Since this is the first book in the series I've read, I can attest that I never felt lost because I didn't read the first two books. And because I enjoyed it and liked the characters, I am interested in going back and reading the books that started it all.

The adventure this time around begins with Sammy working off her detention in St. Mary's church. She isn't too happy about spending even more time there than her Grams insists on, but at least she does like Father Mayhew. During her mandatory work time, she meets the Sisters of Mercy, a trio of charismatic nuns who are going to put on a theatrical concert as a fundraiser for the church. Things are looking up for church detention time, until Father Mayhew's special ivory cross is stolen, and Father Mayhew accuses Sammy of taking it. She is devastated, and determines to find the real culprit, clear her name, and restore her relationship with Father Mayhew.

In the meantime, she is directed to work in the soup kitchen with Sisters Josephine and Mary Margaret. Sammy soon discovers that the sisters are none too happy with the Father and his decisions. She also finds the girl her age that she saw at church the day cross disappeared, but this time, she is standing in the food line. Sammy wants to befriend the girl, but is held back by her suspicions that she could be the culprit.

Sammy continues to observe the people around her, finding suspects everywhere she looks. She can't devote her full attention to the mystery, though; her school's softball tournament is just beginning, and since she and her friends were lucky enough to land a spot on the advanced team (very few seventh graders make the cut), she knows she needs to give the games her all. Sammy is confident, even if the team they are going up against is the best in the school, and her arch nemesis Heather Acosta is one of their players. With softball tournaments, school bullies, singing nuns, and a church mystery, Sammy has her hands full.

While the mystery genre is well represented in children's literature, Sammy Keyes is one of the better examples I have read. The story is suspenseful and well-written, with a lot of humor and heart-warming relationships to balance out the mystery. Tough life issues are not ignored, but they are handled in a manner appropriate for younger readers. The mystery was interesting, with lots of suspects and plenty of clues, so it never felt like the author was holding back information or tricking the reader with the solution. The characters are developed, varied, and compelling, and while they feel fleshed-out, there is also plenty of room to grow. This book works well as a stand-alone story and a piece of a larger series. I will keep myself open to reading more books about the irrepressible Sammy Keyes. ( )
  nmhale | Nov 19, 2014 |
This series just keeps getting better! Sammy is working off detention by helping out at a local church, and is on hand to investigate (and be a suspect in) a series of thefts.
I'd hand these books to kids looking for realistic fiction about school, mysteries, families, friendships. Sammy has a great depth of character, and her growth from book to book is nicely writte. Sure there is the huge coincidence that there is always a mystery for her to investigate, but without that hook, Sammy's stories would be almost just as interesting. ( )
  francescadefreitas | Apr 13, 2011 |
I love Sammy Keyes. She is SO funny! This particular volume is my favorite so far. A series of church robberies, a runaway, two locked safes, a group of singing nuns, and Sammy's first disastrous attempt at driving make this a fun read. ( )
  desislc | Jul 4, 2007 |
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To the woman who knocked on my door looking for a jacket, and walked away with one...and a piece of my heart.
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I was supposed to be in church to get myself out of trouble.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0439531039, Paperback)

Youth mystery (junior high)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:58 -0400)

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Sammy continues to make life with her grandmother interesting as she tries to discover who is stealing from St. Mary's church, befriends a homeless girl, and plays in a softball tournament against a bitter rival.

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