May 7, 2010

Nostalgic Friday: Nancy Drew

Welcome back to Nostalgic Friday! Since I love all things historical (culturally, physically, and personally) I do a post on Fridays honoring some awesome book that is a bit older. Many of them are books I enjoyed in my teens and others are books that I discovered as an adult that I think are relevant to YA readers.

This week I am featuring one of the most popular children's series for girls that dates all the way back to the 1930's. That's right, Nancy Drew. The quintessential sleuthing gal has been around for eight decades and has yet to lose her charm. I don't think the original creator (Edward Stratemeyer) knew what he was getting into when he created the lovable and wildly entertaining Nancy Drew in the late 1920's. He had already created the Hardy Boys series and wanted to create something like that for girls and that's exactly what he did. The novels have been ghost-written by many different authors over the years all under the same pseudonym of Carolyn Keene.

These stories, and their many incarnations, revolve around the mystery-solving 16 year old (18 depending on the year of publication) Nancy Drew, daughter of lawyer Carson Drew, in the fictional town of River Heights. Nancy either stumbles on to mysterious goings-on or picks up the cold trail on one of her father's cases as a way to pass the time because we never see her in school or with a job. Despite her lack of a maternal presence, as her mother died when Nancy was quite young, Nancy manages to be accomplished at almost everything she tries. Cooking, sewing, driving, motorboating, and even marksmanship seem to come naturally to her. All these things, along with best friends/co-conspirators, like Bess Marvin & George Fayne, allow Nancy the freedom and ability to pursue her sleuthing hobby. Some of my personal favorites are: The Hidden Inheritance, Nancy's Mysterious Letter, & The Spider Sapphire Mystery.

What's truly amazing about Nancy Drew is her ability to work in multiple formats. Not only has she appeared in multiple book series, sometimes even crossing over with the Hardy Boys, she has movies, video games, and graphic novels. Her constant morphing into new formats has kept her accessible and open to each generation. Check out one of them if you haven't yet. They're so worth it!

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