The first Nancy Drew book was published in 1930, but Nancy is still cracking cases and hunting down baddies today. So how has she successfully captivated and empowered readers for 85 years? Follow the 13 clues below to deduce why Nancy is such a kick-ass teen... Even over eight decades later.
She’s got mad skillz.
If we didn’t admire Nancy so much, we’d kind of hate her because she’s good at everything. She’s an expert swimmer, painter, horseback rider, linguist, actress, circus performer, amateur historian, crack shot, skillful oarsman … *deep breath* … seamstress, gourmet cook, bridge player, she performs first aid, drives a boat, and brilliantly plays tennis and golf. Whew! When does she find time to solve mysteries?
Her fashion sense is always on point.
Nancy may have been around since before your grandmother was born, but that doesn’t mean she’s an ol’ fuddy-duddy. From the flapper skirts and cloche hats of the '30s to the skinny jeans and bright graphic tees of today, Nancy always sports the most current trends. Although she does have two fashion accessories that remain constant – her trusty magnifying glass and flashlight!
She’s cool with getting her hands dirty.
And not just her hands! Nancy’s housekeeper Hannah Gruen must spend most of her time getting the stains of out Nancy’s fabulous outfits. From creepy caves to dusty attics to filthy secret passageways, Nancy follows the clues where they take her, never freaking out about a little dirt. Or spider webs. Or whatever other grimy grossness lies in wait in dark, enclosed spaces.
She’s her own superhero.
With her habit of sticking her nose in other peoples’ business and following clues to dangerous places, of course Nancy makes enemies who are out to get her. She’s been kidnapped, bound and gagged, menaced at gun and knife point, locked in closets and basements, poisoned with deadly gas, and even threatened by a cult. But Nancy doesn’t wait for Clark Kent’s wardrobe change or for the Avengers to assemble – she rescues herself! Plus her friends, boyfriend, father, and anyone else who needs rescuing.
Her friends would die for her.
And they almost have. Many times. Yet for some reason flirty Bess Marvin and tomboyish George Fayne remain BFFs with Nancy despite all the times her sleuthing has resulted in near-death experiences. They might be, “Girl, you cray!” when Nancy tells them her plan, but when it comes down to it, they always have her back.
...And she has an impossibly perfect boyfriend.
Ned Nickerson is a 6’2” hottie, and not only does he play basketball, baseball, and football for his college, he gets good grades, too. But best of all, he admires and adores Nancy. He assists her in cases, provides muscle when needed, and never gets upset when she’s too busy solving crimes to spend time with him. And while she only calls him her “special friend” in the first 56 books, he eventually gets an official upgrade to bae.
Her relationship status was up for a public vote.
Ned may be a perfect boyfriend, but sometimes perfect can be boring. So when Nancy starts college in the "Nancy Drew on Campus" series, the first book asked readers to call a 1-800 number to vote on whether Nancy should keep Ned or dump him. It was a landslide for Nancy to test the boyfriend waters with someone new. Poor Ned.
She ain’t afraid of no ghosts.
As if dealing with thieves, kidnappers, and the occasional murderer isn’t scary enough, Nancy is sometimes asked to investigate when things get downright paranormal. More often than you’d think, ghosts start stealing stuff and generally freaking people out. But Nancy’s all, “Chill, people. Ghosts don’t have solid hands, so they can’t be jacking your jewelry.” And then she gets straight to hunting down the very human thieves.
She works for free.
Despite being better at solving crimes than the police, Nancy doesn’t charge for her clue-spotting skills. Of course it helps that her dad is a loaded lawyer, but Nancy does it because she wants to help people. And for the thrill of the hunt. Let’s face it, narrow escapes from knife-wielding criminals is more of an adrenaline rush than when a hottie smiles at you.
She has a kickin’ car.
A detective needs wheels in order to travel to crimes scenes, so Nancy is lucky her dad gives her a car for her birthday. And just like her wardrobe updates with the times, so does her car. Her original blue roadster eventually becomes a blue convertible and now she drives a blue hybrid. And since she knows how to do everything, of course she knows how to change a tire and fix a flawed distributor.
She’s traveled the world.
Oh, poor Nancy, sometimes she has to travel to exotic locations to solve a crime. How terrible it must be to have to do what you love in places like London, Mexico, Hong Kong, Hawaii, Scotland, France, Peru, Argentina, Africa, and Japan. No, we’re not jealous. Not at all.
Her sleuthing skills can’t be contained.
Although there have been several different novel series, from the original "Nancy Drew Mystery Stories" to the "Nancy Drew Files" of the big-hair '80s and '90s, to the current "Nancy Drew Diaries," this badass can’t be confined to the covers of a book. There are five movies, three TV shows, graphic novels, board games, puzzles, lunch boxes, dolls, and Halloween costumes. But most popular of all are the videos games, where you can be Nancy Drew, solving all kinds of puzzles and codes on the way to cracking the big mystery. There are currently 32 games, which have amassed a passionate online fandom known as The Clue Crew.
She’s inspired awesome women for generations.
Women around the world say Nancy Drew inspired them to be brave, curious, and use their brains. Some of them include Oprah Winfrey, Barbara Walters, Barbra Streisand, Hillary Clinton, and three Supreme Court Justices: Sandra Day O'Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sonia Sotomayor. When strong, powerful women say you’re the one who inspired them to be strong and powerful? That’s kick-ass.