She lives in California with her husband Mark Parsons and two sons, Colton and Connor. The daughter of chemists who emigrated to the U.S. from Holland, she worked as a math teacher and then as a high school computer science teacher before becoming a full-time writer. Van Draanen is probably best-known for her Sammy Keyes series of novels, featuring a teenage detective named Samantha ("Sammy") Keyes. Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief won the 1999 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Juvenile Mystery. In 2004-2005 Van Draanen wrote a four-book series for younger readers called Shredderman, about a 5th grade boy who assumes a secret identity to help him win the battle for truth and justice. Van Draanen also wrote the standalone teen romance Flipped in a he-said she-said style with the two protagonists alternately presenting their perspective on a shared set of events. Her book, Runaway, is about a girl named Holly who tries to escape from her latest foster home. Her latest book that was released December 2008, is Sammy Keyes and the Cold Hard Cash.Van Draanen's thirteenth book Sammy Keyes and the Wedding Crasher will be published October 12th, 2010.