Friday, February 22, 2013

Nancy Drew Diaries Series

Simon and Schuster launched the new Nancy Drew Diaries series this month.  This series is replacing the Nancy Drew Girl Detective series.  The first two Nancy Drew Diaries books have been released:  Curse of the Arctic Star and Strangers on a Train.  My purchase of the first two Nancy Drew Diaries books reminded me of my experience in the months after the release of the Girl Detective series.

Nancy Drew Girl Detective Book
I purchased all of the early volumes in the Nancy Drew Girl Detective series in 2004.  I read those books, probably up to volume eight, during that year.  I enjoyed all of them.

I quit purchasing the books new due to the inability to find copies that were not flawed.  The spines of the Girl Detective books were all wrinkled; at least all of the books that showed up in my local stores had wrinkled spines.  I refused to pay $5.00 plus tax for a book that was flawed.  I tried ordering online and had the same problem, so I decided to purchase only secondhand copies.  As a result, I do not have the entire set of books and have never gotten back to reading the books.

I checked my local stores after the new Nancy Drew Diaries books were published a few weeks ago.  My stores did not have the books in stock, so I ordered them in both softcover and hardcover from Amazon.  The person who packaged the books was careless, and one of the softcover books was damaged.  I was further disgusted about the gray pulp paper used on the softcover books and deeply regretted that I wasted money on them. 

On a brighter note, the hardcover books have dust jackets and better quality paper.  The paper is thin and a bit flimsy, and I suspect that the paper is not of the very highest quality.  However, the paper is a much higher quality than the paper used for the softcover books.  The hardcover books are very nice.  I strongly recommend that anyone who is interested in these books for collectible purposes completely avoid the softcover books.

Unfortunately, Barnes and Noble is not stocking the hardcover books in their stores.  The softcover books are stocked in some stores, but many of us have found that our stores have none of the books.  I have concerns about the viability of this new series since Barnes and Noble is not carrying it in many stores.

The cover art of the Nancy Drew Diaries books makes Nancy look very young.  I tend to be influenced by the cover art on books, so perhaps this is why Nancy seemed so young to me as I began reading the first book.  It didn't help that the books never mention Nancy's age.  Nancy must be around 18 since she, Bess, and George travel on a cruise with a male college student.

The books are recommended for ages 8-12.  I suspect that the goal is age 8, rather than anywhere near 12, and that is why Nancy looks so young on the covers.

Like the Girl Detective series, the Diaries books are written in first person narrative.  Nancy also retains some traits from the Girl Detective series, such as her apparent forgetfulness.

While both books are enjoyable, some parts are a bit hard to take.  In the second book, Nancy is shocked to learn that the blogger, Wendy, used an internet search to discover that she is a sleuth who has successfully solved many mysteries.  Here is an excerpt from page 149 of the hardcover edition.
"Wow," I said.  "I mean, I know you can find just about everything online.  But this is kind of creepy!"

George reached for her coffee cup.  "I'm always telling you this stuff is out there, Nancy."  She glanced at Wendy and rolled her eyes.  "I swear, sometimes you'd think Nancy was older than my grandma."

I just stared at the screen.
Readers are expected to believe that Nancy Drew, who is apparently around 18 years old in the year 2013 and undoubtedly an excellent sleuth, is completely unaware of how internet searches work.  This Nancy Drew was born in around 1995.  Think about it.  The internet has existed for her entire life, which makes the lack of knowledge about the internet unbelievably stupid.

Strangely, George is depicted as eating constantly, yet she is not overweight.  On page 80 of Curse of the Arctic Star, George helps herself to her fourth serving of scrambled eggs.  I don't know what the point is.

On page 91 of Strangers on a Train, Wendy, expresses real concerns about driving traffic to her blog.  This part is quite realistic, unlike the idiotic scene where Nancy has no understanding of internet searches.

Even though a few parts of the books are a bit off, I enjoyed both books and will be purchasing upcoming volumes in the series.

Should you buy these books?  If you are someone who prefers the original text Nancy Drew books and tends not to like any of the later books, then you will most likely not enjoy these books.  They are set in modern times and do not depict your Nancy.  Those of you who collect Nancy Drew up to #56 and have never read any books past #56 will also not likely enjoy these books.

If you are someone who has collected, read, and enjoyed many of the softcover Nancy Drew books from #57-175 or from the Nancy Drew Files series, then you probably will enjoy these books. I recommend giving them a try, but please... buy the hardcover books.


Karen said...

I just found your blog and love it! I found a box of my ND books as I was purging a closet and am trying to figure out if I can sell them or not (hate to just Freecycle them and I don't do Ebay). As a collector, do you ever buy person-to-person, or is it all Bonanza or Ebay? I'm in the Seattle area, and am generally not very knowledgeable about selling things online. But I have 2 boys who are NOT interested in reading the books and I'm trying to simplify so out they must go! I think some probably have some value (purchased as seconds in the early 70s)and I've catalogued them all (there are 20) based on the categories of board, endpapers, chapters, illustrations, etc. I wonder if you would know of a place here for me to have them examined/valued? I hope to hear back -- thanks! Karen

Jennifer White said...

I don't know of where you would take them aside from a nearby book store. As far as determining value, if you run completed items searches on eBay and Bonanza and look for similar books, you can get a good idea of value.

Laura said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura said...

George is the over-eater in this one? Why change this from Bess? *Laura side-eyes "Carolyn Keene".*