Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Sammy Keyes and the Hollywood Mummy

In comparison to the rest of the series, Hollywood Mummy is a true oddity. I love this series but I’ll admit this one book is the exception. I’ve read it far fewer times than the rest for a reason. If I had started with this book, I probably wouldn’t have read the rest of the series.

The Summary

When Grams returns from visiting Lana in Hollywood, Sammy is appalled to find out Lana pretended Grams was her grandmother. She decides to take matters into her own hands and hops the Greyhound to Hollywood with Marissa in tow. Lana may be displeased but a bigger issue soon arises. One of Lana’s fellow actresses is found dead soon after Sammy and Marissa arrive. Who is the culprit?

The Analysis

There are many reasons why this book is out of place in this series. I decided to list a few:

  • The majority of the characters in this book we never see or hear mentioned again. That’s unusual for van Draanen; she loves to bring back characters later in the series from the earlier books.
  • Lana and Sammy reconcile in this book, and are on great terms by the end of it. When we see Lana again, it’s like the progress in this mother-daughter relationship never happened.
  • None of our usual side characters appear. No Heather, no Dot, no Holly, no Casey, etc. Grams and Hudson barely make an appearance. Officer Borsch is only there in spirit (if you’ve read this, you know what scene I’m mentioning). It’s almost like the universe of the previous books doesn’t exist…
  • It’s just plain weird! Usually I love reading about Egyptian myths and culture, but it’s inclusion in the book only to be connected to the concept of Claire, which gave me the creeps.

There were a lot of interesting twists in this one. It was just too bad those twists aren’t relevant to the rest of the series.

For as long as I’ve known this series, and this particular book, I never understood why this one existed. While the rest of the series has many layers of connection, this book could be eliminated and it wouldn’t have much of an impact on series canon.

Book positives? I like how Sammy and Lana developed, even if it is forgotten by the time we get to Psycho Kitty Queen. I also appreciate that van Draanen included Marissa; she was a huge source of humor for this book. It also establishes the ride or die nature of Sammy and Marissa’s friendship. Their relationship is the lynchpin of much of this series.

Even if I dislike this one the most, there was some value in it. And my dislike ultimately has no impact on my liking of the series.

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