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Sammy Keyes and the Wedding Crasher


Sammy Keyes and the Wedding Crasher

Sammy's history teacher, Mr. Vince, is disgusting. He chews tobacco and spits in a cup he keeps in his desk drawer. He scratches where no one wants to see anyone scratching. Plus, he hates kids, despises teaching, uses offensive language, and is always in a rotten mood. He and Sammy have had unpleasant dealings in the past, too. So it's not surprising that she is displeased with getting him for her eighth grade homeroom as well as history class. Try as she might, though, she can't get out of it.

To pile insult onto insult, Heather Acosta, Sammy's nemesis (and, unfortunately, her boyfriend Casey's sister), is in her history class. Heather proceeds to inform Sammy that Casey is hanging around with a new girl. Since Casey is in high school, Sammy doesn't see him at her school. And he has not contacted her for more than a week. Of course, there's the whole other complication, too: "Lady Lana," aka Sammy's soap opera star mother, is romantically involved with Casey's father.

One day, under the watchful eye of the new vice principal, Mr. Vince is reluctantly apologizing to the class for some of his repulsive comments. He yanks up the projection screen. Under it, written in big red letters on the whiteboard, is the message "DIE DUDE!" Caught by surprise, Sammy bursts out laughing. Infuriated, Mr. Vince informs her that death threats are felonies and that people can get arrested for making them.

Unfortunately, other students tend to believe that Sammy's prank-loving friend Billy penned the message, but Billy staunchly denies having anything to do with it. Then Sammy discovers that at least one student believes she is the one who wrote the threat.

School problems are not enough of a complication in Sammy's world. Although she agreed to be in charge of the guestbook for Officer Borsch's wedding to Debra, she discovers she’s been promoted --- to bridesmaid! This news gives her a very strong premonition that the wedding is not going to run smoothly (and, boy, is she right about that). Sammy's heart sinks when she gets a look at the costume she must wear for the wedding. It’s the puffiest, frilliest, most lavender dress ever, which is the opposite of her preferred outfit of high-tops, jeans and T-shirts.

Sammy is distracted by the wedding shenanigans as she skateboards toward home. Suddenly she realizes she’s zipping along in front of Heather and her mother's house. Then she sees Casey and his dad, who are carrying furniture into the house. Could Casey's dad be moving back in with Heather's mom? That would be terrible news for Lady Lana. Sammy is pondering this possible turn of events when she realizes that Casey isn't even greeting her. His dad looks appalled to see her, and soon the cat is out of the bag with news that infuriates her. But as the death threats against Mr. Vince escalate, Sammy finds herself in such serious trouble that parental escapades fade in relative importance.

As always, author Wendelin Van Draanen depicts her characters realistically and with great laugh-out-loud humor (the phrase "target practice" will never be quite the same to readers!), as well as portraying some truly emotional moments. The climactic scene is exciting, scary and hilarious, complete with a quite unexpected twist in the mystery plot. Rough-edged Sammy remains true to herself, while also enjoying a bit of sweet romance. This is yet another enjoyable page-turner in a vital and evolving mystery series.

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on September 13, 2011

Sammy Keyes and the Wedding Crasher
(Sammy Keyes #13)
by Wendelin Van Draanen

  • Publication Date: September 13, 2011
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling
  • ISBN-10: 0375854568
  • ISBN-13: 9780375854569