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Sammy Keyes and the Wedding Crasher Library Binding – October 12, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8-In the 13th installment (Knopf, 2010) of Van Draanen's middle-school mystery series, the beginning of eighth grade brings a slew of surprises for Samantha Keyes. For one thing, her minor role in Officer Borsch's wedding has been upgraded to bridesmaid. But trading in her high tops and jeans for sparkly heels and a frilly princess dress is the least of her worries. Her mother is dating the father of the boy Sammy has a crush on, a boy who happens to be the brother of Sammy's arch-enemy, Heather. Her best friend's family is falling apart. And someone is leaving death threats for her despised history teacher, Mr. Vince, with Sammy herself the number-one suspect. Fortunately, Sammy is just the sort of girl who will be able to put together all the clues and clear things up, even if she has to look like a fairy godmother while she does it. Tara Sands brings Sammy's energetic, wisecracking voice to life, and skillfully portrays the many other characters. Highly recommended for school and public libraries.-Beth Gallego, Los Angeles Public Library, CAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Booklist

This is the thirteenth in Edgar winner Van Draanen’s long-legged series starring the gutsy heroine in high-top sneakers. This time out, Sammy gets a rough start to eighth grade when she finds that her archenemy, Heather, is in three of her classes and that she has to suffer the history and homeroom teacher from hell, Mr. Vince. The first day of class, someone has written “Die Dude!” on Mr. Vince’s blackboard, and the threats—including a dead rat—escalate from there. The chief suspect? Sammy herself. Sammy’s investigation, friendships, family life, and wiseacre narration make this another rollicking addition to the series. Grades 5-8. --Connie Fletcher --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: 750L (What's this?)
  • Series: Sammy Keyes
  • Library Binding: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (October 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375961070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375961076
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,930,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"Through writing, I open up my heart and soul in ways I never could in everyday life. The joy, the pain, the wonder and loneliness I felt in growing up, meld into stories which I hope will help kids believe in themselves and have compassion for those around them."--Wendelin Van Draanen

Wendelin Van Draanen is the winner of the 1999 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Children's Mystery Book for Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief. Sammy Keyes and the Search for Snake Eyes is a 2003 Edgar Award nominee.

Visit Wendelin Van Draanen's Web site at for the lastest on The Gecko and Sticky, Sammy Keyes, Shredderman, and more!

How in the world did I wind up writing a book about a kleptomaniacal, talking gecko lizard? I'm the first to admit-talking animals are not my thing. First person, realistic fiction-that's what I like. And yet, after Sticky appeared as a sidekick television character in my Shredderman series and uttered his first "Holy guaco-tacarole!" I was hooked. He's so funny. And so full of mischief.
I always develop a backstory for my characters to get to know them. Even if they're secondary characters, I have to understand their background and motivations before I let them into the story. The premise of the third Shredderman book (Meet the Gecko) is that a television crew comes to town to shoot an episode, and Shredderman helps out the star of the show. Not wanting to deal with the legal complications of using a real television show, I made up my own: The Gecko and Sticky. In the process, I came up with the hero (Dave Sanchez-a boy who has the "superpower" of being able to walk up walls, and is known as the Gecko), the sidekick (Sticky who is, as you already know, a talking gecko with . . . h'hem, sticky fingers), the villain (the deadly, diabolical, and definitely demented Damien Black), and Damien's sidekicks (the Bandito Brothers, who are, in fact, not brothers, but a thieving mariachi band).
It was definitely wilder than anything I'd come up with before, but hey-it was just a made-up TV show, right?
Ah, how diabolically infectious made-up TV shows can be!
Sticky, you see, got under my skin. His "Ay-ay-ay"s and his "What the jalapeno was that?" and his "You cut me to the quick, senor" enchanted me, and I was sorry when his role in the Shredderman books was over.
After the Shredderman quartet was complete, I began getting lots of fan mail from kids (and teachers) asking me to please write more Shredderman books. It was tempting, because I love Nolan and the gang. But I'd completed my mission with the quartet; so instead, I started writing The Gecko and Sticky.
My first attempt resulted in an over 200-page manuscript. That was closer to a Sammy Keyes novel than a Shredderman book. So I hacked it up, threw it out, and started all over.
My next try had me at 150 pages-still too long, and something about it wasn't quite right. So I chucked it and asked myself what in the world I was thinking, writing in the voice of a lizard.
But then on a flight from New York to California, I started hearing a voice. It wasn't my voice. Or the guy snoring in the seat beside me. It was, you know, a voice. One in my head.
Yeah, we writers hear them, and although we will almost certainly deny it if you press us about it, we also listen. It's how I wrote Swear to Howdy; how Bryce appeared in Flipped; where Holly's poems came from in Runaway . . . and it's how the narrator took over the storytelling for The Gecko and Sticky.
It's a man's voice in my head. (Okay, I concede that I might need some help.) But he's funny as all get-out, and I like to listen to him. He's the voice of someone who loves the art of storytelling; of someone who will hold a child's wide-eyed attention as he shares the wild antics of a boy and his mischievous gecko; of someone I'd plead, "Just one more chapter, please?"
So I hope that explains it, because I really must go. He's talking to me again and I've got to get back to Dave and Sticky. They are, after all, in the midst of some deep, diabolical doo-doo . . .

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on February 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Sammy's history teacher, Mr. Vince, is disgusting. He chews tobacco and spits in a cup he keeps in his desk drawer. He scratches where no one wants to see anyone scratching. Plus, he hates kids, despises teaching, uses offensive language, and is always in a rotten mood. He and Sammy have had unpleasant dealings in the past, too. So it's not surprising that she is displeased with getting him for her eighth grade homeroom as well as history class. Try as she might, though, she can't get out of it.

To pile insult onto insult, Heather Acosta, Sammy's nemesis (and, unfortunately, her boyfriend Casey's sister), is in her history class. Heather proceeds to inform Sammy that Casey is hanging around with a new girl. Since Casey is in high school, Sammy doesn't see him at her school. And he has not contacted her for more than a week. Of course, there's the whole other complication, too: "Lady Lana," aka Sammy's soap opera star mother, is romantically involved with Casey's father.

One day, under the watchful eye of the new vice principal, Mr. Vince is reluctantly apologizing to the class for some of his repulsive comments. He yanks up the projection screen. Under it, written in big red letters on the whiteboard, is the message "DIE DUDE!" Caught by surprise, Sammy bursts out laughing. Infuriated, Mr. Vince informs her that death threats are felonies and that people can get arrested for making them.

Unfortunately, other students tend to believe that Sammy's prank-loving friend Billy penned the message, but Billy staunchly denies having anything to do with it. Then Sammy discovers that at least one student believes she is the one who wrote the threat.

School problems are not enough of a complication in Sammy's world.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lea Kelley on October 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sammy Keyes is one of my favorite teen detectives working today. In this, the thirteenth book in the series, Sammy is finally starting eighth grade. She's still secretly living with her grandmother in a seniors-only highrise, but Officer Borsch, her nemesis in the first several books, is now in on her secret. In fact, they get along so well that Sammy is even part of his upcoming wedding!

Things are not going as well at school. Sammy is in the hated Mr. Vince's home room and History class, and she doesn't have nearly enough classes with her best friends Marissa, Dot, and Holly. She also sees far too much of Heather Acosta, and Sammy's almost-boyfriend Casey Acosta has left for high school and is ducking her calls. When someone starts threatening to kill Mr. Vince, Sammy finds herself and her friend Billy Pratt at the top of the suspect list. Can Sammy clear her name and make it to the church for Officer Borsch's wedding? And what is up with Casey?

The Sammy Keyes books are extremely likable, and while they're appropriate for middle grade readers, Sammy's hilarious escapades will appeal to older readers as well. If you haven't picked up this series, you are missing out.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My granddaughter was reading this book and since she lives a great distance from me, I wanted to share in something she was doing so I started reading the book. I thought I was doing it for her and then I realized how good the book was. It was fun to try to figure out who the prankster was. Very well written.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Very Merry Shakespeare on October 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
For anyone who has yet to pick up one of the wonderful books in this series, I recommend that you go to your bookstore immediately and get to know this fantastic "super sleuth," Sammy Keyes. Her escapades are beyond funny and extremely charming. In fact, they take me back to The Hardy Boys and The Nancy Drew books that I was absolutely engrossed in when I was a young adult. Yes...these are THAT good!

In this new mystery, Sammy is beyond excited that she's starting the eighth grade. No longer a measly seventh grader, she has reached the first pinnacle of education and will soon be headed off to the great world of high school. That is the good news. The bad news, however, seems to come at her every minute on day one. First, she finds out that she and her friends - Marissa, Dot, and Holly - only share one class. What's worse, however, is that only Sammy got stuck with Mr. Vince for history AND homeroom.

Mr. Vince is the most despised teacher in the history of the school, not to mention the world. His nickname is Bad Mood Bob and he, literally, hates kids. He is rude, racist, and anything else he can be in order to make his class be quiet. Not only is this horrid man Sammy's teacher, but she is also joined in her classes by Heather Acosta - her archenemy.

Sammy has more than one issue with Heather. Not only is the girl extremely hideous, but Sammy is in love with Heather's brother, Casey. Not only that, but Heather's father is dating Sammy's "soap-opera diva" mom, and it looks like they may be taking it to the next level. Which can Sammy still love Casey if he is soon to end up as her stepbrother? Gross! Sammy does still have her friend, seventy-three year old Mr.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a grown up who played all the Sammy Keys novels in the car to my 3 children. They now say that they are "too old" for them. I couldn't wait to hear what happened between Sammy and her friends and family. This book was so satisfying. I laughed, and cried and didn't want it to end.
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