As my group gets older, I get to pick some longer, more complex novels (like Bone last month, and now Sammy Keyes). This is a lot of fun for me, as a would’ve-been English teacher. I think it’s fun for them, too. Challenge is good for us!
Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief, by Wendelin van Draanen
1. Who did you think the bad guy was? What clues were there along the way that led you to believe that person had committed the crimes?
2. Did you solve the mystery before Sammy did? Do you like mysteries that are easier to figure out yourself, or do you like surprising endings to mystery stories?
3. What do you think about Sammy’s family situation? What do you think about her mother’s leaving to pursue her own dreams? What about the apartment building she lives in with her grandma?
4. For the most part, the kids in this book do things on their own. Many of the adults treat Sammy as an annoying kid and don’t believe her even when she does try to get help. Was Sammy right to continue working on her own, or should she have tried to find an adult who believed her? What could she have done differently to make Officer Borsch take her seriously?
5. Sammy and Marissa come from very different backgrounds, and both envy the other: Marissa has lots of material things, but Sammy has a grandmother who loves her very much. Which do you think is more important? How do they deal with these differences and stay best friends?
Solving a mystery from the publisher of Sammy Keyes.