Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

4.7 59
by Wendelin Van Draanen

See All Formats & Editions

Thirteen-year-old Sammy Keyes has a penchant for getting involved in mysteries and for speaking her mind.


Thirteen-year-old Sammy Keyes has a penchant for getting involved in mysteries and for speaking her mind.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Sammy, an intrepid girl detective, discovers a number of secrets about the hotel across the street from her home. "The solution will likely come as a surprise, and the sleuth delights from start to finish," said PW. Ages 10-13. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Jackie Hechtkopf
Sammy lives with her grandmother in a seniors only building. That means she sleeps on the couch and all her things must stay tucked away in one bottom drawer. It also means she has to sneak in and out of the building to avoid a nosy neighbor. Sammy doesn't let these inconveniences stop her. Nothing stops Sammy Keyes. She lives an action-packed life of excitement she either finds or creates. In this mystery series debut, Sammy witnesses a robbery while spying with binoculars. Realizing that the thief looks oddly familiar, she waves, and the chase begins. The fast-paced mystery and its resolution are peppered with funny interactions with friends, suspects, and an ongoing conflict with a girl named Heather. Sammy's snappy voice is distinctive throughout. This quick-witted girl has an assertive personality kids will love but teachers may question. Sammy is so feisty, she thinks hitting another girl in the nose is a stupid reason to be suspended. At the end of the book, she engineers a public humiliation of her enemy and the vice-principal that is so complete, other students congratulate her for punching Heather out. A fun book for individual pleasure but not a classroom reader.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-In this recording of the first Sammy Keyes mystery by Wendelin Van Draanen (Knopf, 1998), actress Tara Sands brings the irrepressible Sammy to life. She gets the phrasing and timing just right, and manages to sound like a 13-year-old girl without overdoing it. She conveys the other characters' voices well, too, especially the flamboyant Gina, a.k.a. "Madame Nashira," victim of the hotel burglary Sammy witnesses in the first chapter. Sammy careens from one adventure to another--getting suspended from school on the first day of seventh grade, nearly getting her grandmother kicked out of a seniors-only apartment building, and sneaking onto the roof of the mall--all the while pursuing clues to the identity of the hotel thief. Fans of the series will enjoy this recording, and it is likely to create new fans as well.-Sarah Flowers, Santa Clara County Library, Morgan Hill, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Horn Book Magazine
Samantha Keyes is one tough, smart, resourceful seventh grader-capable of holding her own against Mrs. Graybill, her nosy, suspicious neighbor (Sammy lives, surreptitiously, with her grandmother in a seniors-only complex); her nasty nemesis-classmate, Heather Acosta; the condescending policeman who heads the investigation into the theft Sammy witnesses; and, of course, the thief himself. Sammy is also pretty impetuous (there's a lot of "what I should have done was...but..."), which Van Draanen makes clear from the opening scene: as Sammy trains her Gram's binoculars on the burglary-in-progress at the hotel across the street, the thief looks up and sees her through the window; rather than call the police, Sammy waves. Events snowball from there as Sammy bests horrible Heather by uncovering the scam she is trying to pull at Sammy's expense, and deduces (through Van Draanen's clever and uncondescending clues) the surprising identity of the thief -- all while trying to avoid getting caught by Mrs. Graybill, suspended from school, or yelled at by Gram. Sammy, with her self-reliant personality and breezy first-person narration, is clearly the literary by-product of the better sort of fast-food adult mysteries such as Sue Grafton's . . .series, and Van Draanen has captured the adult-mystery knack of making the investigator's character and private life at least as interesting and complex as the plot. This may be light fare, but it's the kind you want to gobble up quickly-and in quantities.
Kirkus Reviews
Van Draanen (How I Survived Being a Girl, 1997) debuts a live-wire young sleuth in this nonstop whodunit. The day before starting seventh grade, Samantha peers through her grandmother's binoculars and spots the latest in a rash of burglaries. The burglar spots her right back, setting in motion a headlong chain of events that, over the next few days, takes Sammy and her rich but loyal friend Marissa from back alleys to the roof of the local mall in an effort to finger the crook while escaping his clutches. Meanwhile, Sammy also has to cope with a hostile police officer, a new school, malicious classmate Heather, and in the seniors-only high-rise where she lives with Grams while her own mother pursues a Hollywood career, a suspicious neighbor. Heather's villainy and subsequent public humiliation may be overdone, but Van Draanen expertly keeps all the subplots at a rolling boil while strewing the tale with red herrings, suspects, and clever clues. Children will admire Sammy's inadvertent genius for ruffling feathers as much as they'll like her sharp powers of observation and deduction; she is a tough new gumshoe with another caper scheduled for fall.

Product Details

Turtleback Books
Publication date:
Sammy Keyes Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

What People are Saying About This

Sue Grafton
If Kinsey Millhone ever hires a junior partner, Sammy Keyes will be the first candidate on the list. She's feisty, fearless, and funny. A top-notch investigator!
Margaret Maron
A winning debut! This girl sleuth is no well-mannered Nancy Drew. She's endearingly hot-tempered, nosy, and not always obedient -- in short, she's someone I want to read about again.
Joan Lowery. Nixon
A great story with plenty of shivers and suspense. Make friends with Samantha Keyes.

Meet the Author

Books have always been a part of Wendelin Van Draanen’s life. Her mother taught her to read at an early age, and she has fond memories of story time with her father, when she and her brothers would cuddle up around him and listen to him read stories.

Growing up, Van Draanen was a tomboy who loved to be outside chasing down adventure. She did not decide that she wanted to be an author until she was an adult. When she tried her hand at writing a screenplay about a family tragedy, she found the process quite cathartic and from that experience, turned to writing novels for adults. She soon stumbled upon the joys of writing for children.

Feedback from her readers is Van Draanen’s greatest reward for writing. “One girl came up to me and told me I changed her life. It doesn’t get any better than that,” she said. Van Draanen hopes to leave her readers with a sense that they have the ability to steer their own destiny—that individuality is a strength, and that where there’s a will, there’s most certainly a way.

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 and lives with her husband and two sons in California.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 59 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As you know there are many Sammy Keyes books out now, the most recent one being Sammy Keyes and Cold Hard Cash ... Anyone who has heard of this book but still hasn't read it, well read it now. I promise you that you will be begging for more and thats alright because there are a lot of books but REMEMBER this book is good for everyone, even adults. Happy Reading
Guest More than 1 year ago
SAMMY KEYES AND THE HOTEL THIEF Sammy Keyes is a typical 7th grader. She just entered a new school with lots of people in it. Helen just happens to be one of them. Helen is a snooty mean girl, and it just so happens that Helen hates Sammy. Sammy has to stay inside because she is living in the old people¿s home with her grandmother. She is not supposed living there, because there is a nasty old neighbor who wants to catch them in the act of living there. Sammy wants to go outside because she starts school tomorrow. So Sammy is bored and she takes out her binoculars to look outside. There is a thief or what looks like it across the street in the hotel¿ I liked the book because the author was really good at making you feel like you were there. I also think that the book was a little too long, because I wanted the plot to happen a little faster. It made me want to keep reading it to find out who the thief was. Most of the feelings that Sammy feels I can relate to. Over all I think it was ok.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It was great! And the other books are awesome, too Sammy is feisty, fearless, determined, and is an avid high-top fan!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book and thought it was good. Again it's not one of my favorites but I think the author did a good job writing it. Always put in ad least one decent compliment.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is really really good i liked it alot and i would recommend it to anybody
Guest More than 1 year ago
My mom and i were at the Barnes and Noble and she said 'How about this book?' And pointed to the Sammy Keys book. So we bought it. I read it and i thought it was SO good!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have the book already in real life. Dont want to pay again! Love the book. Should have a way to convert it, like with a code
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the whole book in one afternoon because it was so good. Fantastic!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely luv this series! Right now im reading the night of skulls and cant wait to read the rest of the series! Wendelin van draanen keep on making more books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have no read all of the sammy keys but I have read som eif them They are the best book you can read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A terrific choice for both reluctant and eager readers. Sammy is an engaging character with a lively, engaging voice. The identity of the mystery kept me guessing until nearly the end. A slim book, it will not put off children who might be intimidated by a fatter volume, and it is very likely to whet the appetite for more books about Sammy. Happily, there are many.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love love love this story so much I almost fainted!
socraticparenting More than 1 year ago
This book was on my daughter’s summer reading list between 4th and 5th grade. We read it together and loved it. Inquisitive and resourceful, Samantha (Sammy) Keyes makes a great tween protagonist. We decided to read the second book in the series (The Curse of Moustache Mary) as a family, including my husband in the fun. Then we listened to the next two (Sammy Keyes and the Wild Things and Sammy Keyes and the Cold Hard Cash) on CD in the car as we travelled for our summer vacation. Because the characters and relationships develop through the series, it’s best to take the books in order.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sammy Keyes is sooooo amazing! She does some things i could never do she is so talented and spirited. Wendilan Van Draanen is an amazing author. Flipped is a really good book too:)
Guest More than 1 year ago
We read this book during our oral read time at school. We thought this book deserved to be read and read again. We thought this book was exciting and thrilling. We think this book prepares us to handle some situations we will face in junior high. We are reading the other books as well and think they are great too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book rocked! I did it for a book report and first I thought it was stupid but know that I read it it's great! It is suspensful, has lots of action, and is funny all at the same time!!!! This book ROCKS!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is excellent. My 5h grade teacher read it to me. I recommend it to anyone. Sammy is witty, clever, funny, and has a whole lot of spunk! I have read all the other books in the series so many times, and I hope the author will come out with more books!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved it. Everyone should read this book. All ages will enjoy this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was meant to be for any pre-teen looking for some adventure!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sammy Keyes is the best book i've ever read I reccommend it to anyone who loves a great mystery. Sammy looks out the window through her binoculars and what does she see.... A man stealing money out of a purse. And when the man sees her, what does she do? There;s only one thing to do ........wave....., and maybe tell the police. But when officer Borch doesn't believe her , Sammy and her best friend Marissa will just have to prove it. Sammy Keyes is a top notch investigator. She is definatly not Nancy Drew!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm in 7th grade right now.. and I'm starting 2 read this book, because my friend recommended it to me . When I was checking out this book at my school library, the librarian, says.' you chose some nice books here! ' and I thought .. ' It must be very famous, and also very enjoyable!' and I couldn't wait to read it.. Right now, Ilove this book, and I think I'mgoing to love it after all too! I can't wait to finish this book! :)
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love all the SAMMY KEYES books! there funny, she's funny, and they all are so exciting! Sammy is witty, spunky, and very enjoyable to any reader. i've read them all at leats twice and i'm recomending them to all my friends. i have never enjoyed a great mystery book untill i've read these. These books are so great!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sammy keyes is (Im sorry) way better than Nancy Drew, this girl got spunk and a whole lot of attitude, I love her books and read about every single one of them twice!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sammy Keyes is a 7th grade girl who is trying to obey her grandmother from using her binoculars to spy on her nieghbors,but when she sees someone in the Heavenly Hotelwho is stealing money from a woman's purse,she just had to.....wave!!!While trying to solve a mystery she also has to deal with school and the snotty Heather Acosta.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sammy keyes And The Hotel Thief is a great book to read, I just could not put it down! This book is fun to read, and is great for boys and girls! I can't wait to get more Sammy Keyes books!