Sammy Keyes tries to help out a friend and ends up in a mystery that must be solved or she could lose her home in the book by Wendelin Van Draanen. A prize dog is missing and its owner, who blackmails most of the town, forces Sammy to find the dog. At the same time, Sammy must find out why a little girl keeps running away, discover what happened in her grandmother's nosy neighbor that turned her into a mean old woman, and find a way to get even with her school enemy, Heather. Even with this many subplots, the action moves clearly and swiftly, with each tying into the main lesson of the story forgiveness is as good for the forgiver as for the forgiven. This is the fourth adventure in the series, but stands well on its own. Sammy is a strong heroine who has a hard life. The narrator, actress Tara Sands, gives all the characters their own voices, and makes it seem like 13-year-old Sammy is telling the story. A good choice for libraries looking for mysteries for middle school girls.
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by Wendelin Van Draanen
"Junior detective Samantha Keyes is surrounded by a wealth of interesting characters (adolescent friends, a grandmother, the rich and haughty woman hiring her to find a kidnapped dog), and narrator Tara Sands tries hard to give them all their own voices. Her rendition of the savvy young Sammy may grow on you, but her attempts at adults (the policeman, a wistful elderly woman she visits) are less satisfying. While kids who are used to high-pitched cartoon voices (especially Sammy Keyes fans) are unlikely to mind, some adults who tune in for the five hours of twists and turns may find it a bit harder to adjust, despite Van Draanen's engaging mystery. J.C.G. (c) AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine"
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