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Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen Paperback – April 11, 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
Book 9 of 18 in the Sammy Keyes Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-6-Sammy is back and ready to solve yet another mystery, this time involving disappearing cats, in Wendelin Van Draanen's ninth mystery (Knopf, 2004) in this popular series. With the help of her friend Holly, a few moves learned at the new wrestling school, a lucky charm, and her curious and determined nature, Sammy uncovers the warped reason behind the missing cats. Interspersed throughout the story are some personal issues that Sammy must face including Heather, her nemesis, a budding romance with Heather's brother, a visit from her mother, and being told that the date of her birthday is not quite what she thought it was. Tara Sands's voice is as spunky as Sammy herself. With pacing, tone, and volume consistent with the mood of each part of the story and the personalities of the characters, Sands creates a well-balanced listening experience with characters that are both fun and intriguing. While some of the details in the missing cat mystery are a bit disturbing, fans of the series will not be disappointed.–Stephanie A. Squicciarini, Fairport Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 5-8. Cats are disappearing in Sammy Keyes' neighborhood, and, worse still, some are turning up dead in garbage cans. The 13-year-old detective won't rest until she and her friend, Holly, track down the perpetrators. A new wrestling school, where Sammy learns a few flashy moves, might just lead them to the villains. Meanwhile, series fans can catch up with the familiar cast of characters as Sammy's unreliable mother visits; her archenemy, Heather, starts a fight; and a hint of romance develops between Sammy and Heather's brother. Sammy continues to be likeable, smart, determined, and sometimes hotheaded as she copes with bad news from her mother and the usual tense routine of living secretly in her grandmother's adults-only apartment building. While readers may need to suspend disbelief as Sammy outwits another crook, they'll recognize the rest of her life as believably complicated and imperfect--like their own. Kathleen Odean
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 0760 (What's this?)
  • Series: Sammy Keyes
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling; Reprint edition (April 11, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440419107
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440419105
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #519,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

A Kid's Review on December 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is written very well and the end is, as always pretty surprising. Now to the story...Sammy's life is a disaster: She lives in her Grams' apartment which is only for seniors, so she always has to sneak up the fire escape. Her mom left her for a career in Hollywood and then suddenly she shows up on Sammy's birthday. She came to tell Sammy that she isn't turning fourteen, she's turning 13 because her mom had made a fake birth certificate. Sammy is really upset but then she and her friend Holly find dead cats all over town in garbage cans and they start solving the mystery. At a new wrestling school, Slammin' Dave's,(where Sammy also learns some nice wrestling moves) there's a wrestler, El Gato who looks very scary since he always has a cat mask and costume on and never takes it off, so Sammy and Holly become very suspicious. In the end El Gato turns out to be someone totally different than they would have thougt. How they solve the mystery and find out who the cat killer was, will grab you and make you want to keep reading and reading. I really enjoyed the book and read it in only two days and I recommend it to anyone who likes mysteries. The characters are described good and likable except for Heather and her friends,Sammy enemies. The book is also a real page-turner and i would recommend the other Sammy Keyes books as well. I hope this review helped and that you enjoy the book as much as I did.
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Format: Hardcover
Wow, I am amazed every time a new Sammy Keyes book comes out. Each one is better than the one before it. In this book, not only is it bad enough to be the "lucky" number 13, but Sammy has to tolerate a visit from Lady Lana (her mom) on top of evil Heather's jealous rages.

In this book, Sammy finds a dead cat on her birthday and, because she IS Sammy, she can't just let it go. She HAS to find out where that dead cat came from. Why was it in the dumpster? Who had killed it? The answers to those questions almost cost Sammy her life. This book, like the others in the series, was hard to put down once I started it. I tend to read Sammy Keyes books in a day, starting in the morning and ending in the evening when I am finished. :) This book was no exception and is DEFINTELY worth the price.

ALL mystery fans will love Sammy. It's funny though, as a fan of mystery books, I am always surprised at how the Sammy Keyes books end.....when I read mysteries from other authors (Mary Higgins Clark, Sue Grafton, etc.) I can usually figure out the exact ending after about a hundred pages and am never surprised. Not so with Sammy Keyes. This book has been the highlight of my summer reading so far. It definitely should not be missed!
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Format: Paperback
The first Sammy Keyes books, ("Hotel Thief", "Sisters of Mercy"), are interesting enough, but are juvenile mysteries. But, as the series has progressed Sammy has actually grown up in a realistic way, and the books have become more complex, life has become more complicated, and Sammy has become more interesting to the tween reader. This actually seems like a series that will just grow up along with the reader. (Sort of the Harry Potter effect.)
Indeed, the mysteries themselves are less and less engaging and have become almost secondary to the more engaging issues surrounding Sammy and her mother, her friends, her school, and her growing interest in boys. And, Sammy has more insight into herself and her surroundings and is just getting more interesting. She is not a static charcter, (like, say, Nancy Drew). This also suggests, contrary to what the editorial reviews note, that this is probably a series best read in order. It could be disconcerting to bounce around, out of order, from younger Sammy to older Sammy.
It's also nice to have a more urban, more gritty, feel to Sammy's environment, as opposed to the sort-of sleepy Pleasantvilles that so many other characters live in.
So, seems well worth a look for a more adventurous tween reader.
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A Kid's Review on January 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I've been reading Sammy Keyes since the 4th grade, and every time I pick up a new one I think to myself that it won't be as good as the last. Yet every time I am oh-so-wrong as they just keep getting better. In the 9th installment to this awesome mystery series Sammy is turning 14. But when her mother unexpectedly shows up with a lot of explaining to do it looks like Sammy might be 13 for another year. As if things couldn't go worse, a women who calls herself "Mrs. Kitty" shows up with a complaint that Sammy's friend's old dog has killed her cat. Sensing something funny, the sleuth begins to search around the gritty side of town. And what does she find? Cats that have died a creepy death in dumpsters around Santa Martina. At least something is good - Sammy has discovered a new talent for wrestling, and with the new Slammin' Dave's Pro Wrestling School around the corner, she is taking out her anger on the matt. But school issues with the queen bee, Heather Acosta and a romance with her twin brother might just cause Sammy to go over the top.

Wendelin Van Draanen has done a brilliant job of bringing out the realistic voice of a young teen in this entertaining book. Anyone who want s a good mystery and is looking for something other than the beloved Nancy Drew should definitely pick this up. Or if you're just looking for a quick read that will send shivers up your spine and belly-laughs through your stomach, this will be perfect for you. Go Sammy!
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