During my Sammy Keyes reread, Power of Justice Jack was by far the most surprising book. I probably read this one once before, like with many of the other Sammy Keyes books, and had little memory of it. I remember bits about Marissa and Billy, but that was it. To my shock, this reread revealed that this might be one of my favorite books in the series. The character development in it is so wonderful, how can I not love this one?
A trip to Dot’s for a Sinterklaas celebration leads to a run-in with new Santa Martina hero: Justice Jack. At the Senior Highrise, tensions are high when Rose Wedgewood seemingly skips town after robbing all the Highrise residents.
The only character slighted by this book is Marissa. In the last few books of the series, she gets downright annoying. I have to give her a bit of a break though. Firstly, her family life is the absolute worst by this point. Secondly, is that her love life is a more realistic portrayal for a young teen. As much as I adore Sammy and Casey, their starcrossed lovers bit is not the norm for teens in love.
Beyond Marissa receiving all the bad character development, we have some great character moments. Most memorably is the unexpected end to the Wedge. I did not expect her to die; we already had the bitter old lady turned good death back when Mrs. Graybill died. If done differently, it might have felt redundant. Rose’s college fund gift, however, was a wonderful change of heart. Not just for Rose, but also for Sammy. To see Sammy finally realize her potential, and from the unlikeliest of sources, was moving. Sammy nearly bringing Rothammer to tears by catching up on all her schoolwork was emotional too.
Then, of course, we have some strong Billy-centric plots. Early on in the series, I didn’t anticipate Billy playing such a vital role in Sammy’s crew. He even tops out Dot, one of the original group members. Power of Justice Jack reflected on this a bit, when the group heads to Dot’s for Sinterklaas. Dot hasn’t been involved much in the mayhem of Sammy’s life apart from the lunchroom scenes, and Sammy, almost as if hearing the reader’s questioning of her role, mentions why this is so. Dot, unlike the rest of her friends, has a grounded, close-knit family. And though she may love her friends, her family is always going to play a bigger role in her life. It was a nice mention, considering that most long time readers were probably wondering during Power of Justice Jack why Dot all of the sudden makes a non-lunch appearance.
This book has strong Sammy and Casey moments, as well as an appropriately crazy mystery plot line…both elements of a perfect Sammy Keyes book. A silly vigilante superhero in spandex is great enough, but finally spotlighting the bewildering Santa Martina softball statue was a stroke of genius. This installment of Sammy Keyes was fun and emotional, and a very necessary book to throw in the mix before the series ending. After all, this is the last normal book in the series. The change in locations and narrators in the series enders leave Power of Justice Jack in a unique position.