Posted in Book Reviews

The Return

I’m back! Well, sort of. I am really back next week. For my followers wondering what happened–I only made three posts before disppearing–I promise I did not give up on blogging. A few things happened.

  • I moved out of my parent’s house.
  • I was in a wedding (Note: being a bridesmaid is not a day commitment, but rather a week.)
  • I went on a trip several states away.

Things have calmed down, and I am ready to give blogging another go. I’ve been told writing down goals makes you more likely to complete them. So I did just that…reading schedule included! Here’s what you can expect:

  • Two posts a week, on Tuesday and Friday.
  • Maybe the occasional random post in between.
  • One nostalgia book review on Tuesday. This will be of books I loved as a child and recently reread. This blog feature will begin with a book by book review of the Sammy Keyes series.
  • One regular book review on Friday. I can’t promise all these reviews will be of new books, but I will try to make many of newer books.

And because I can’t just post without some kind of “review,” here’s a brief taste of what is to come with my Sammy Keyes analysis. (Note: This was absolutely my favorite series growing up.)

(Another note: For brevity’s sake, I will leave “Sammy Keyes and the…” out of each title.)

Sammy Keyes is an evolving series. You dont have to read them in order to love them–my first was book #8, The Art of Deception–but it does give you a greater appreciation for plot and character development if you do so. It divides into 5 easy to distinguish “eras.”

The Early Era: Hotel Thief, Skeleton Man, Sisters of Mercy, Runaway Elf
In this era you meet the central cast and the story remains fairly simple.

The Transition Era: Curse of Moustache Mary, Hollywood Mummy, Search for Snake Eyes, Art of Deception
Moustache Mary changes the game in two ways: we meet Casey, a pivotal introduction for Sammy individually/romantically and as the rival of Heather. The other key note is that Officer Borsch and Sammy have pretty much forgiven/forgotten that they used to hate each other. The rest of this era is full of more interesting, smarter mysteries that make you feel uneasy about Sammy being a middle schooler mixed up in all this crime solving. The majority of the series over-arching plots are set up in this era.

Peak Sammy Keyes: Psycho Kitty Queen, Dead Giveaway, Wild Things, Cold Hard Cash
Psycho Kitty Queen is almost a transition era book because it introduces several great overall series changing plot twists: Sammy as a two-time 13 year old, Lana Keyes and Warren Acosta meet to an instant attraction, Casey and Sammy really start to develop as more than friends. This one is, however, so good it has to be peak era; it’s my favorite book in the entire series. Better yet, the next three are superb follow-ups, building on Psycho Kitty Queen‘s status as the series game-changer. The mysteries continue to be smarter, Heather conflict is at its worst and Casey & Sammy have a slowburn relationship you can’t help but root for.

The Plateau: Wedding Crasher, Night of  Skulls, Power of Justice Jack
Or, the era where the plot slows down, the relationships reach status quo (except maybe Marissa’s), and the mysteries are simple again. These were the books I had to catch up on in college because I was not interested in following along with my elementary/middle school favorite series while in high school.

The Finale: Showdown in Sin City, Killer Cruise, Kiss Goodbye
SHOWDOWN IN SIN CITY. The greatest series climax I’ve ever known. Everything from the previous 15 books built to this book. Details I had forgotten were reawakened for this superbly planned “showdown.” The series could have ended here and I would have been happy. Instead Van Draanen gave us two more books, the calm penultimate Killer Cruise and the most satisfying finale ever written, Kiss Goodbye. I most look forward to reviewing these final three.

Well, there you have it. More analysis and feelings to come! Stay tuned for my August 8 review of the first two Sammy Keyes titles!

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