Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Nancy Drew Diaries #5 Willow Woods and #6 Mystic Lake

In Nancy Drew Diaries #5, Sabotage at Willow Woods, George's cousin, Carrie Kim, is running for city council in the nearby community of Boylestown.  Nancy, Bess, and George all help Carrie with her campaign.  Carrie receives threatening notes, and an environmental group protests Carrie's proposal to build a new football field for Boylestown High School.

On page 4, we learn that George is a nonathlete, which I find extremely strange.  George has always been athletic.  In the Girl Detective series, George became obsessed with technology, but she still seemed to be athletic.  She took fencing lessons and participated in a grueling marathon.

In this book, George is not athletic and is very opposed to how more money is spent on sports instead of on academics.  On the one hand, the change is logical, since George is a technology geek.  On the other hand, it promotes the stereotype that anyone interested in computers cannot be interested in sports.

On page 5, Bess is described as girly and a mechanic.  This jibes with the Girl Detective series.  Mentioning that Bess is a mechanic seems strange simply because these books have given no indication of that ability.  It's just mentioned in passing.  There is evidence that Bess is girly.

On page 7, we learn that Bess is a field hockey champ. Why not George?  Why make George a nonathlete and make Bess have so many abilities?  Does this series hate George?

The book seems to imply that the girls are still in high school.  Page 20 states, "Luckily, RHHS had a teachers' conference the next day, which left me free to begin my snooping."

On page 33, Nancy is called "Fancy Nancy."  Please, no, not again!  They do mention the picture book series, which is interesting.  Fortunately, this page is the only place where "Fancy Nancy" is mentioned.

On page 154, Nancy is once again the person who picks locks with a credit card.  The Girl Detective series gave that ability to Bess, since Nancy was hopeless at everything except solving mysteries.

I greatly enjoyed Sabotage at Willow Woods.

In Nancy Drew Diaries #6, Secret at Mystic Lake, Nancy, Bess, and George join a bike tour around Mystic Lake.  Soon after the trip begins, their supplies are sabotaged, and later, one person disappears from the tour.

This is a very exciting mystery.  I read the book very quickly, and it flows quite well.  One part of the book is a bit scary.  This mystery is outstanding.

The Nancy Drew Diaries books mostly deal with sabotage, but the plots are quite varied.  While all of the plots are similar to past Nancy Drew books, every single one of them has a twist that makes the story very different from previous versions. 

The series starts off on shaky ground, since the first two books were obviously originally intended to be part of a Girl Detective trilogy.  Those books are the only two that have any mention of Nancy being clumsy.  The real beginning of this series is volume three.

Interestingly, this series does not come out and state the exact premise.  That may have been done on purpose so that we can draw our own conclusions, which reminds me of the style of Nancy Drew up to #56.  In those books, Nancy just is, no explanation necessary.  Even though the style is similar to those books, the premise does not match them.  The premise seems to be a mixture of the Nancy Drew Digest books and the Nancy Drew Girl Detective books.  I'm not sure that even by volume 6 that the series has settled on an exact premise.

I have figured out that Nancy, Bess, and George might still be in high school, as inferred from one line of one book.  Bess is described as girly in nearly all of the books, so that must be true.  George does still like technology.  In one book, she is said not to be an athlete.  In all six books, George is a very disagreeable person.

The books retain Ned's characterization from the Girl Detective series.  Ned's father still publishes the River Heights Bugle, and Ned still works for him.

When I finished Secret at Mystic Lake, I was quite lost.  I had been reading Nancy Drew for months, and I was suddenly finished.  I posted this update on Facebook just a few minutes after finishing #7.
I have renewed faith in Simon and Schuster!  Nancy Drew Diaries #1 and #2 are a bit odd and have problems.  #3 has a stretch of around 70 boring pages but is otherwise good.  #4 and #5 are very good.   #6 is outstanding!  Good job, Simon and Schuster!  I give you my seal of approval!
20 minutes later, I posted this update.
What am I going to do?   I just finished my four-month-long marathon of reading Nancy Drew books.  I know I will have to start my summer reading list, but I'm feeling a bit lost at the moment.  I enjoyed Nancy Drew Diaries #6 a bit too much, and it's hard to accept that #7 won't be published for months!
This means that I really did enjoy reading the books in the Digest, Girl Detective, and Diaries series.

With six books published, the Nancy Drew Diaries series is a composite of the Nancy Drew Digest and Girl Detective series but with the style of Nancy Drew #1-56.

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