Sammy Keyes and the Kiss Goodbye

Sammy Keyes and the Kiss Goodbye

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by Wendelin Van Draanen

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The final mystery starring Sammy Keyes: “the most winning junior detective ever in teen lit. (Take that, Nancy Drew!)” —Midwest Children’s Book Review
Sammy doesn’t go looking for trouble, but she seems to find it everywhere. She’s forever sniffing out clues and chasing down bad guys—and driving…  See more details below


The final mystery starring Sammy Keyes: “the most winning junior detective ever in teen lit. (Take that, Nancy Drew!)” —Midwest Children’s Book Review
Sammy doesn’t go looking for trouble, but she seems to find it everywhere. She’s forever sniffing out clues and chasing down bad guys—and driving her friends a little nuts. She’s gone up against thieves and counterfeiters and gangsters and blackmailers and murderers, and always stayed one step ahead.
Until now.
Last night, one of the bad guys caught up.
Last night, someone followed Sammy up the fire escape and pushed her from the third story.
Now she’s in the hospital, out cold. And her friends are left with the questions Sammy’s always been so good at answering: Why? How? But most of all . . . WHO?
In this emotional conclusion to her beloved long-running series, Wendelin Van Draanen shows just how many lives one nosy girl can touch and pays tribute to a life well sleuthed.
Praise for Sammy Keyes:
“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!” —Sue Grafton
“Sammy’s brave, resourceful, observant and a loyal friend, but 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.” —Margaret Maron

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
VOYA review, October 2014:
"What better scenario to send a beloved character out in style than to be surrounded by everyone who has ever cared about her?"

review, August 2014

"A satisfying conclusion."
Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
Readers who have sleuthed along with Sammy Keyes for any of the previous seventeen mysteries will not want to miss this final addition. Unlike earlier books in the series, this one is not narrated by our hero Sammy. She was thrown from the third-floor fire escape of the building where she used to live with her grandmother and is lying unconscious in the hospital. For more than 200 pages, the reader rides along with Sammy’s friends and family, not knowing whether their favorite young detective will recover. The question of her fate hangs over every page as the ensemble cast struggles with Sammy’s violent injury and tries to find the culprit without her help. Will the end of the Sammy Keyes series be the end of Sammy Keyes? If you have never read a “Sammy Keyes” mystery before, do not begin with this one—but do begin somewhere. It is no mystery why books in Wendelin Van Draanen’s popular series have been nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Children’s Mystery five times. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green; Ages 10 to 14.
VOYA, October 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 4) - Matthew Weaver
Van Draanen concludes her series about a rambunctious junior high school sleuth with an eighteenth book. In a nifty twist, Sammy cannot perform her usual narrator duties: she is in a coma after being dropped several stories from a high-rise fire escape. Virtually everyone from Sammy’s past—family, friends, and people she helped during previous cases—rallies around her, willing her to wake up. Her closest friends are wondering who from her long list of enemies got the drop on her. It is a clever concept that rewards Sammy’s loyal fan base, which is prevalent online. What better scenario to send a beloved character out in style than to be surrounded by everyone who has ever cared about her? For newcomers, though, it is a bit like spying on an emotional scene in a hospital waiting room, in the middle of a rapidly growing crowd threatening to become more and more outlandish. Van Draanen gamely provides enough details for strangers to figure out connections, but make no mistake, this is a book for longtime Sammy Keyes fans. They are the ones who will marvel, no doubt, at the reveal of the long-mysterious Nightie-Napper and a myriad of other plot points that will breeze by the uninitiated. The downside to this approach is that we get far too little Sammy, which may annoy enthusiasts and will not help convince newcomers to go back to the beginning to see what all the fuss is about. Reviewer: Matthew Weaver; Ages 11 to 18.
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Sammy Keyes has faced her share of criminals—murderers, thieves, a meth dealer, a gang leader, and so many more—but it's here, in the final book of the series, that she may have met her match. That's right: this one opens with an author's note explaining that something happened to Sammy. Something bad. Kiss Goodbye isn't told from Sammy's perspective, unlike the rest of the series, but Van Draanen's narrative keeps pages turning. Readers soon learn that the middle-schooler is in a coma after being thrown three stories from the fire escape of the seniors-only building that, for the entire series, she illegally lived in with her Grams. Who would have it out for the skateboard-riding sleuth? She's bested many a foe, any one of whom might want revenge, and it's up to the Santa Martina community, from the formerly cantankerous Officer Borsch to her loyal friends old and new, to solve this one. Longtime fans will especially appreciate the references to past books and characters reflecting on their own lives and Sammy's impact. Van Draanen presents a fitting tribute to Sammy, who is as much a heroine for always staying true to herself and striving to do the right thing as she is for any crimes she solved. Series regulars will want to lace up their high-tops and jump right in.—Amanda Mastrull, Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
Sammy Keyes has helped to put countless bad guys away during her short sleuthing career. Now, one of those bad guys wants revenge in this 18th and final story.When 14-year-old Sammy sneaks into the Senior Highrise in an attempt to catch the long-elusive Nightie-Napper, someone pushes her from the third-floor fire escape. Fortunately, she lands in the bushes; unfortunately, she's unconscious and unable to tell what happened. The author inserts herself as narrator in Sammy's stead, directly addressing readers through a mobile point of view that flows easily from character to character, with bits of back story woven seamlessly throughout. Snappy dialogue, fast-paced narration and glimpses inside the minds of major secondary characters like best friend Marissa McKenze, former nemesis Heather Acosta, and Sammy's melodramatic and self-absorbed mother keep readers glued to the action as friends, family and a mob of high-top-wearing teens band together to solve the biggest mystery of all: Who tried to kill Sammy Keyes? It's bad enough that this is Sammy's last outing; Van Draanen's departure from her proven, winning formula backfires. Without Sammy's endearingly wisecracking personality leading the way, the series' end falls flat.Fans may be better served by stopping with the penultimate installment, Sammy Keyes and the Killer Cruise (2013). (Mystery. 10-14)

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sammy Keyes Series
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
10 Years

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Sammy Keyes and the Kiss Goodbye 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago