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Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief

(Sammy Keyes #1)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  5,728 ratings  ·  480 reviews
Grams always told her those binoculars would get her into trouble. Now Sammy's witnessed a crime at the Heavenly Hotel-a light fingered thief stealing $4,000 from Madame Nashira, the astrologer with the fire-hazard hair-do. Thing is, while she was watching him, he was watching her, too...

Fast-paced and funny, packed with menacing suspects and clever clues, the Sammy Keyes
163 pages
Published 1999 by Scholastic (first published April 14th 1998)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,728 ratings  ·  480 reviews

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A_ bookbound _soul
May 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to A_ bookbound _soul by: Rukky
3.5 Stars!

The book follows the crazy adventures of thirteen-year-old Sammy Keyes who accidentally spots a hotel thief with her binoculars. And then she waves at the the thief! There are also many side adventures going on in her day-to-day middle school life. I do not object this as it introduced many other characters in a detailed manner and helped them emerge into to main plot.
I got bored at some points in the book. But the ending was satisfying. I'd like to read the other books in the series.
May 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
May 2016: So it took me a while to get back around to this but so, so glad I did. Just as good as I remembered - great little plot twists, fantastic lead characters and surprisingly plausible storyline, and despite the rather huge age gap (pretty sure this is both for and about 12 year olds) I really enjoyed reading it again.

Jan 2016: Haven't read this in nearly a decade (scary thought, that) and remember the series as being really great, might give it another go and who cares if it's "too young
Hafsa Sabira
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Not a favourite one. Too many factors to get over with this story.

Firstly, the plot is too simple and doesn't even begin to unfold until almost the first half of the book is over. Secondly, there are so many sub plots in the main plot. The main plot is catching a robber who continues to steal money and valuable things from the locality. The sub plots include many incidents in Sammy's personal life. The way I felt here, is that the writer focused more on portraying the characters than focusing on
Mar 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Edit: I just read some of the reviews and I'm a little disappointed. Sammy does tell a lie or two in the book, but let's be honest: didn't you tell a lie once in a while when you were a kid. And tell me a book in which the character was absolutely perfect that you still love to the day. Sammy's lying is what we call a flaw and it's part of what makes her such an interesting character. The thing that bugs me the most about the reviews I just read, however, is that those of you upset about her lyi ...more
Jul 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, mystery
Sammy Keyes mystery series, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways--well, I CAN'T because you are so WONDERFULLY AMAZING. I want to put every book in your whole dang series on my favorites shelf, but I know I shouldn't because that would be excessive. But here are just a few of the things I love about you:

I love how Sammy, 12 year-old solver of small town crimes, never wastes time worrying about how pretty or thin she is, despite being in the high-peer-pressure world of middle school. Her app
Sep 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade, mystery
3.5 stars

Sammy Keyes lives with her Grandma in a seniors-only apartment when one day she catches someone stealing money from one of the hotel rooms across the street. There are a number of burglaries that follow and leave everyone a little anxious for this individual to be caught.

This really did entertain me. Sammy is a spunky individual who is ready to stand up for herself and those she cares about and boy is she curious. I couldn't help but love her more and more as I read on. She has so much
Dec 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids_and_ya, mystery
Thirteen-year-old Sammy, who lives illegally at her grandmother’s “seniors only” apartment sees a crime committed while she’s looking through her binoculars—and the thief sees her. Booktalk: Sammy Keyes’ life is already crazy. She’s living illegally with her grandma in a seniors-only apartment complex while her mother tries to find an acting job out in California. While looking through her binoculars at the “seedy hotel” across the road—when her grandma has specifically told her NOT to be she se ...more
Monique S. (The Ginger Librarian)
This is the first book of a wonderfully written mystery series, sure to entertain both children and adults!

Junior detective/sleuth, Sammy Keyes, is quick-witted, gutsy, and amusing, with a knack for solving mysteries. I love this character and highly recommend getting to know her in this series.

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the rest of the Sammy Keyes mysteries!
Victor The Reader
A very fun and clever first entry with a heroine who really is a modern day Nancy Drew. B+ (83%/Very Good)
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief reminded me of a good old fashioned children's book from when I was a kid. I won't tell how long ago that was!

Sammy lives illegally with her grandmother in a seniors only apartment building and tries her best to stay under the radar. I don't think that's so easy when Sammy witnesses a burglary using her gram's binoculars. The burglar spots Sammy and now Sammy is not sure if he knows who she is. Then she's suspended from school for putting a mean girl in her place
Jan 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves mysteries!
great book, really cool
Aurora Dimitre
As always, Sammy Keyes just opens my heart and fills it with joy.
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Always good when we can find one everyone likes while in the car! Also, not too long. Great mystery.
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
More "Jr. High" read than expected. Read because I really liked this author's other works. Very well written. Good story. Unexpected ending. Very good!
Ashley Greene
Apr 16, 2017 added it
Shelves: elm572
Sammy Keyes is a middle-school girl living illegally with her grandmother in a seniors-only high-rise in California. Her mother is away trying to make it as a Hollywood actress. One afternoon, trying to occupy her time, she gets out her grandmother’s binoculars and starts scanning neighboring buildings – and becomes a witness to a burglary in the Heavenly Hotel! There are a series of burglaries in the neighborhood, and Sammy just spotted the latest one. When the burglar catches sight of Sammy wa ...more
Lauren Greene
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I don’t know how to rate a Sammy Keyes book. Sure they’re middle grades fiction and not a “5 star read” according to my usual definition. But for what it is and who it is meant for- totally a 5 star series and this book is a fantastic intro for the series. In this book we meet a lot of our cast of characters for the series: trouble-finding Sammy, her cautious best friend Marissa, Grams, Hudson, Officer Borsch, Andre at the Heavenly Hotel, and more. The Hotel Thief introduces Sammy and shows she’ ...more
Jun 15, 2020 rated it liked it
This book was a fun and cute charming read. I enjoyed a quick read of a mystery. It reminds me a lot of Harriett the Spy or Cam Jensenother among other young middle schoolers who end up saving the day and solving mysteries. I think it's a fun premise to write about. I only wish I could have been solving mysteries and catching bad guys as a young middle schooler.
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
my absolute favorite book series while in elementary!
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, school
Never read childhood books as an adult. Rating reflects how much I liked it as a kid!
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Cute, snarky, and a lot of fun! I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book.
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief" by Wendelin Van Draanen is about a girl named Samantha (known as Sammy) lives with her Grandma. Her Grandmother told her that binoculars would get her into trouble. One day Sammy took her binoculars and she was watching her neighborhood. Till she saw this guy in his mid 40's with a black coat and gloves stealing money from a woman. Instead, of telling her Grandmother she did the dumbest thing ever, she waved at him! After a few minutes, she tried to tell someone ...more
Monique S. (The Ginger Librarian)
This is the first book of a wonderfully written mystery series, sure to entertain both children and adults!

Junior detective/sleuth, Sammy Keyes, is quick-witted, gutsy, and amusing, with a knack for solving mysteries. I love this character and highly recommend getting to know her in this series.

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the rest of the Sammy Keyes mysteries!

The audiobook is especially wonderful! I listened to it while reading the ebook and the narrator (Tara Sands) r
Sarah BT
Dec 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Sammy Keyes is a Nancy Drew for a new generation. She's smart, funny, and very sassy with lots of spunk. Sammy has a temper and she's not always going to follow the rules, but that's part of her charm. Sammy will let you know what she thinks!

There's more than just mystery in the story. Sammy has to deal with a school bully and she learns to stick up for herself. She also is living (illegally) with her grandmother since her mother left to become an actress and Sammy has to sneak through the apart
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A good word to describe this book would be suspenseful. The author does an excellent job of creating suspense. Suspense was a huge strength to this book and it leaves the reader wanting to know what will happen next in the book. This mystery has a few twists and isn't easily solvable for the reader or for Sammy, which will keep reader interested. One weakness of the book was description such as the author could've used more description to the setting but that didn't affect the book a lot. The ch ...more
Oct 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, not as much as Gilda Joyce, but it was cute. Intially I thought that Stacy lived in new york, then later realized she lived in a very neat little town with a school on school st. and a church on church st. One thing though is that it seemed dated. There is talk about her wanting a new walkman... in 1998. I think that should of been a discman. And how the police seem to have no grasp of CPS or databases. Oh you know that guys Parol officer has been looking for him, but a 7th ...more
Sep 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
All of the Sammy Keyes books are excellent. This is the spunkiest 13 year I've come across and I've enjoyed reading about her middle school problems, the friendships she makes with all kinds of people, the mysteries that are sometimes quite scary that she takes head on, etc. I've had to read late into the night because I can't put these books down. It is important to read them in order as her character grows and the storyline progresses. Language is smart, action is fast, characters are great.
Mar 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sammy Keyes is a 13-year-old squatting at her grandma's seniors-only housing and putting the local police department to shame. Sammy is not a paragon of virtue herself, but her temper and expedient view of the virtues of truth-telling make her a more believable character. I liked this one - the 5th graders I read it with were less impressed.
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was engaging. The plot line was good and the resolution satisfying. Other reviewers compared the series to Nancy Drew. To me, the writing is more Harriet the Spy. I will pick up more in the series from the library and would recommend it to young readers.
Sep 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, childrens
Really enjoyed this series in elementary/middle school.
May 19, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Meh. To call this book a mystery story is only marginally correct. Mostly, it is just the day-to-day activities of Sammy Keyes. The plot is basic. I also think that too many times Van Draanen tried to add suspense by having things go wrong (oh no! the sprinklers had been on and the grass is wet and slippery!), but when this tactic is done over and over and over... and over again in every situation then it becomes tiresome.

Another problem I had was with protagonist, Sammy Keyes. Something about h
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Wendelin Van Draanen has written more than thirty novels for young readers and teens. She is the author of the 18-book Edgar-winning Sammy Keyes series, and wrote Flipped which was named a Top 100 Children’s Novel for the 21st Century by SLJ, and became a Warner Brothers feature film with Rob Reiner directing. Her novel The Running Dream was awarded ALA’s Schneider Family Award for its portrayal o ...more

Other books in the series

Sammy Keyes (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • Sammy Keyes and the Skeleton Man (Sammy Keyes, #2)
  • Sammy Keyes and the Sisters of Mercy (Sammy Keyes, #3)
  • Sammy Keyes and the Runaway Elf (Sammy Keyes, #4)
  • Sammy Keyes and the Curse of Moustache Mary (Sammy Keyes, #5)
  • Sammy Keyes and the Hollywood Mummy (Sammy Keyes, #6)
  • Sammy Keyes and the Search for Snake Eyes (Sammy Keyes, #7)
  • Sammy Keyes and the Art of Deception (Sammy Keyes, #8)
  • Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen (Sammy Keyes, #9)
  • Sammy Keyes And the Dead Giveaway (Sammy Keyes, #10)
  • Sammy Keyes and the Wild Things (Sammy Keyes, #11)

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