Reviews for Sammy Keyes and the Art of Deception


Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 February 2003
Gr. 5-8. Sammy Keyes returns, as feisty as ever, this time lurking around the art world to learn the secret a painter is keeping. As with other books in the series, there's more going on than just sleuthing. Sammy and her nemesis, Heather, mix it up once more. And there's some romance here for Sammy, but mostly for her grandmother, with whom she lives, and for Hudson, Sammy's 72-year-old best friend, who appears to be more interested in artist Diane Rejiden than in Grams. Van Draanen only makes slight concessions to her audience. Her tone is sharp, her dialogue fast, and the mystery, on the face of it, is not particularly kid-friendly. Yet Van Draanen's fresh take on things, painted with a patina of realism, will attract a new audience and also keep fans turning pages. ((Reviewed February 1, 2003)) Copyright 2003 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2003 Fall
In the latest Sammy Keyes mystery, the seventh-grade sleuth investigates a break-in at an art gallery (and uncovers an even larger crime) as she continues to grow closer to school foe Heather Acosta's brother Casey and achieves a new appreciation for her grandmother (who helps catch the criminal here). Another light, fast-moving mystery featuring the spunky, down-to-earth Sammy. Copyright 2003 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 2003 March #1
Shenanigans take a back seat to affairs of the heart in this teenaged Sherlock's eighth outing. Assigned to find and analyze "art" at either a local gallery or an upcoming Renaissance Faire, Sammy tries both, and stumbles into a tangle of vicious intrigue, inflated egos, hidden motives, and general bad behavior-not unlike junior high school, where Sammy continues to be whipsawed by encounters with archenemy Heather Acosta and her friendly, disturbingly attractive brother Casey. Having foiled an attempted robbery at the gallery that looks more and more like a setup, Sammy smells something fishy-and finds an unlikely ally in her grandma, with whom she lives illegally in a seniors-only apartment, and whose budding romance with Sammy's septuagenarian confidante Hudson seems headed for the rocks after a charming artist turns his head. Despite robberies, shocking revelations, mysterious strangers, and pumped-up language ("Anyhow, I blasted over to art class, and the minute I blew through the door . . . "), Sammy's preoccupation with Gram's love life and getting her own feelings for Casey in order, along with ruminations about good art vs. bad, orient this episode more toward character and personal issues than its suspenseful, danger-laden precursors. Still, thoughtful readers will understand from Sammy's anguish, when she sees a work of art that had moved her profoundly destroyed by its larcenous owner, that there are moral felonies at least as wicked as the more conventional legal kind. (Fiction. 11-15) Copyright Kirkus 2003 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2003 February # 3
Wendelin Van Draanen's Sammy Keyes and the Art of Deception marks the eighth title about the spunky detective. To fulfill an assignment, the sleuth attends an art opening. When a bandit crashes the event and yanks paintings from the wall, Sammy attacks. But the real detective work begins when Sammy seeks the truth about a so-called painter. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2003 March
Gr 5-8-In this eighth novel featuring the feisty seventh grader, Sammy's art teacher encourages her students to visit local galleries and while attending an opening reception, the young sleuth foils an attempted robbery. Intrigued by the work, she interviews Diane Reijden to learn more about being an artist, and to try and figure out why her paintings were the object of the thief. Unfortunately, Sammy is not the only one intrigued by Diane. Her good friend, 72-year-old Hudson, is entranced, much to the distress of Sammy's grandmother. There are dead ends and red herrings before the protagonist figures it all out, this time with the help of her grandmother, who turns out to be just as bold, fearless, and gutsy as her granddaughter. Lively, with nonstop action, this novel will be enjoyed by longtime fans of the detective and by those who are meeting her for the first time. Subplots involve Sammy's budding romance with eighth-grader Casey (brother of her arch-rival Heather), and her gradual realization that her grandmother is a separate person with her own emotions and complications.-Terrie Dorio, Santa Monica Public Library, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2003 August
Irrepressible, spunky heroine Sammy is back solving the mystery of an art gallery theft in this eighth title of the Sammy Keyes series. Sammy's school assignment is to interview a professional artist and learn what art is about. She attends an art gallery premier with her grandmother and older friend, Hudson, but the event is interrupted when a bandit attempts to steal local artist Diane's paintings from the wall. Sammy foils the robbery and then pairs up with her grandmother to discover why the thief would want only this particular artist's work. They discover that the art world is full of petty, competitive people and that Diane might not be as blameless as first believed. Their investigation is further complicated by other characters who have hidden motives. Propelled by numerous plot twists, sneaky characters, and intrigue, this story does not have as much adventure and daring as other series titles. The danger does not seem convincing, and the potential villains do not appear wicked. More an insightful study in character, this installment features the gutsy Sammy relentlessly investigating, analyzing, and using the little information she has discovered to successfully solve the mystery. The middle school subplot of cat fighting between Sammy and her nemesis, Heather, and Sammy's crush on Casey provide a realistic backdrop and will involve readers. Sammy is still a funny, smart, and independent character who will keep readers cheering and waiting for her next adventure.-Eileen Kuhl. 3Q 3P M Copyright 2003 Voya Reviews

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