A celebratory cruise leads to mischief and mystery for Sammy as she embarks upon a memorable journey.
In this second-to-last title in the long-running series, Sammy is in the midst of transition. In addition to her BFF Marissa’s impending move and her grandmother’s second marriage, Sammy has just begun establishing a relationship with her recently discovered father, Darren, who happens to be a famous musician. In honor of Sammy’s 14th birthday—and in an endeavor to further their relationship—Darren invites Sammy and Marissa to accompany him on a cruise where his band will be performing. Nautical life quickly becomes complicated for the irrepressible sleuth. After meeting JT and Kip, members of the wealthy Kensington family, Sammy and Marissa inadvertently become embroiled in their family drama. When the Kensington family matriarch goes missing midcruise, Sammy joins Kip in his quest to discover what happened to his grandmother. Van Draanen provides a satisfyingly convoluted mystery for Sammy—and readers—to unravel. Secret codes, greedy heirs and ambiguous clues test Sammy’s sleuthing mettle. However, at the center of this tale is the emotional journey Sammy takes as she navigates her fledgling relationship with her father. Their emerging bond reveals a new emotional dimension to the savvy teen.
Van Draanen’s latest tale combines a fresh adventure and diverting mystery with a heartfelt storyline that enriches the series. (Mystery. 10-14)