Sunday, December 23, 2018

Nancy Drew Diaries: A Nancy Drew Christmas

In Nancy Drew Diaries,  A Nancy Drew Christmas, Nancy has just arrived at a new ski resort.  When Nancy gives the ski slope a trial run, she slips on ice and ends up with a broken leg.  Nancy concludes that the resort is being sabotaged.  She investigates, although the broken leg slows her down.

These books continue to recycle the same sabotage plot over and over.  This story changes up the plot a little with Nancy having a broken leg so her investigation is made more difficult.

This book is supposedly #18 in the series, but #17 has not yet been published.  I assume this is a special edition, but I'm still a bit puzzled about the numbering as well as some other oddities.  Only the hardcover edition has been released, and the softcover edition will not be released until late 2020.  The hardcover edition is now on back order from the publisher.

This book is better than most of the books in the Nancy Drew Diaries series.  Nevertheless, the book still has problems.

Nancy getting injured at the beginning of the story weakens her ability to solve the mystery.  It makes her dependent on other characters, like the Hardy Boys, who appear in this book.  So, Nancy is injured and needs the help of the Hardy Boys.  Why can't Nancy Drew show up in a Hardy Boys book and help them?  No, Nancy, the girl, is always the one who needs help.  I still don't understand why the people at Simon and Schuster want Nancy Drew to be a weak female.  I wrote about the sexism two years ago, and Simon and Schuster continues to propel Nancy Drew down this path.

While Nancy has been mostly cured of her severe psychological problems from The Haunting on Heliotrope Lane, she still has some issues.

On page 2, Nancy tells herself, "Keep your focus, Nancy."

On page 8, Nancy trips and falls.

On page 44, Nancy feels better because she needs Marni's confidence.

On page 49, Nancy has to calm herself.  For once, this is understandable, since she's buried underneath snow and has just broken her leg.  However, I still can't help thinking how the original Nancy Drew would be just like "whatever," dig herself out of the snow, and get herself rescued.

On page 179, Nancy pouts.  What the heck?!

On page 225, Nancy's hands are shaking, but this is also completely understandable considering the stressful situation.  I wish they'd only have Nancy shaking in scenes like this one.  If so, it wouldn't bother me a bit.

On page 266, Nancy reflects that she can't "be scared off that easily" and that anyone who thinks otherwise "didn't know Nancy Drew."  Well, there's that problem of Heliotrope Lane.  That Nancy Drew was very scared.  Regardless, it's great to see some confidence in this book's Nancy Drew.

The owners of the ski resort are Archie Leach and Grant Alexander.  They are called "Mr. A" and "Mr. G" for short.  This confused me because "A" is the first letter in Archie's first name and in Grant's last name.  I couldn't keep them straight.  Names in books should not begin with the same letter.

On page 127, Nancy feels that Clark isn't "the sharpest spoon in Chef K's kitchen."  Knife, Nancy.  Knife.

Many collectors have complained about the use of "hell" on page 85.  I actually didn't even notice it when I read the book.  It didn't register.  Nancy isn't the character who uses the word, so it's a nonissue for me.  I am much more concerned about Nancy's personality flaws than in some other character using one mild cuss word on one page.

Having Nancy in a wheelchair for the duration of the story weakens her.  This really bothered me at first and then I was less bothered by it later.  Nancy is overall strong in this book, but I find it odd that she is purposely weakened by the broken leg, causing her to need the assistance of resort employees as well as the Hardy Boys.

Bess and George don't make fun of Nancy, which is good.  Frank and Joe Hardy's characterization is consistent with their portrayal in the Hardy Boys Adventures series.  I suspect that this book was written by one of the authors of the Hardy Boys Adventures, especially since the book has some of the great humor that is present in the Hardy Boys Adventures series

That said, I still have concerns about the direction being taken in the Nancy Drew franchise.  I actually would not have such concern if I weren't reading the Hardy Boys Adventures series as well.  But's that a topic for another post.

This is what I wrote about the book right after I read it in September.
The Nancy Drew Diaries series is puzzling.  This new book, just released on Tuesday and with a dust jacket embossed with glitter, is easily the very best book in the series, in my opinion.  The preceding volume, Heliotrope Lane, is easily the worst book in the series and is one of the worst Nancy Drew books ever published.  If S&S could be consistent and publish books like this one, we'd have a really great series.  So indeed, those of you saving this book to read at Christmas will have a very nice Christmas story to read.
I felt more positive about this book in September than I do now.  In September, I felt that it was possibly the best book in the series, or at least equal to the best.  As I looked at the book to write this review, the flaws really stood out.  The problem is that I am currently reading the Judy Bolton series, and this book does not compare favorably to Judy Bolton.  For that reason, I no longer feel that positive about the book, even though I enjoyed reading it.

I reflected about this in the last few days.  My conclusion is that the Nancy Drew Diaries series does not hold up well on multiple readings, at least not for me.  The series is overall too weak.

A Nancy Drew Christmas is one of best books in the Nancy Drew Diaries series, but this Nancy Drew is not the Nancy Drew of yore.

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