Thursday, July 24, 2014

All About Middle Grade Review: Samantha Sanderson On the Scene

Samantha Sanderson On the Scene (Samantha Sanderson, 2) by Robin Caroll, May 6, 2014. 252 pages. Published by Zonderkidz. Source: publisher.
As Samantha and the rest of the middle schoolers prepare for the upcoming Spring Fest, 'mean girl' Nikki faces the reality that her parents are getting divorced. It's hard for Samantha to sympathize because of Nikki's mean girl reputation. But when Nikki becomes victim of a string of attacks, Samantha takes it upon herself and her super sleuth abilities to get down to the bottom of the bullying. Plus, articles on bullying are just the kind of serious topic the school paper needs instead of fluff like popularity tips. Samantha enlists the help of her tech-savvy BFF, Makayla, and while the two track down clues, they leave a trail of trouble behind, and may even be directly responsible for a break in of their very own school's computer lab!
Nikki is touched by Samantha's assistance and warms up to her, which only makes Aubrey all the ruder to Samantha, but Samantha doesn't care. She's comfortable in her own skin, and vows to help others feel the same way.
The Samantha Sanderson series is about an ordinary girl with extraordinary dreams. Each book touches on a crime straight from headlines, from bomb threats to bullying, while following Samantha and her friends as they navigate middle-school and questions of faith.

First Sentence:
Then I just felt the pop.  

There are things I enjoyed about Samantha Sanderson On the Scene and things I didn't. I enjoyed seeing a middle grade book that talked about one's faith, but the author was perhaps a little too blunt and in your face about it. As for the story, I had the mystery solved in the first five pages. It was painfully easy to figure out who did it and why.

So, while I may not have been too impressed with the mystery aspect of Samantha Sanderson On the Scene, I did enjoy the author's ability to tell the mystery. Even if it was easy to solve.  Why did I enjoy the mystery even though I solved it early on, well, that would be because I was curious to see how the author would  bring about the resolution of the mystery of mean notes to one of the not so nice girls at her school. I found it interesting to see how Sam would eventually come to the correct conclusion and that she was able to solve it by helping her father that cop.

Enough about the mystery.

While the mystery, for me at least, was so so. What I really enjoyed about this book would have to be the relationship between Sam and her parents. I loved how you could see how much they cared for her, and that they were supportive of her dreams to one day be a reporter like her mother. It was nice to see such a caring family and to see them work together to get by the tight spot they found themselves in.  Even though I cannot tell you more about their problem, I do want to tell y'all that I enjoyed the way the author told that part of the story because it was nice to see them handle it with the eyes of faith.

As I'm sure you've noticed, Samantha Sanderson On the Scene is a Christian fiction middle grade title. Overall, I found the writing and characters be to interesting. Although there were times when it felt like the author was being a little heavy handed talking about the characters faith. Mainly in the beginning of the book, but things leveled out as the story progressed.

Easily, the family dynamics were what made this an interesting read for me. I loved the Sanderson and seeing them tackle their family trouble and how they stuck together throughout the ups and downs. They were probably one of the most interesting book families I've read about in ages. So, if you like books with a good family dynamic that is also quite clean, then this would be the book for you.

My only two problems with this book are: the ease of which the case was solved by me. From the synopsis, I knew what the mystery was going to be about that Sam would involved in and from the first few pages I was able to solve it; and the slightly freight-train like way the author hits you with the faith aspect. Like I said above, I enjoy books that bring in faith...but sometimes, it's best to be a little more subtle as it brings the reader more into the story without sounding like your preaching at them.

Final Verdict: Samantha Sanderson On the Scene- Great family dynamics and an interesting mystery make this one quick read.

Samantha Sanderson On the Scene earns

This book was received from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

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