Rating: 5 stars
Time to be honest: this was the very first Nancy Drew anything I’ve ever read. Same for the Hardy Boys. I even had some of their books on my shelf growing up. I just didn’t really care enough or thought they would be boring since they weren’t about fairies or sharks (I had eclectic interests, okay).
So forgive for being surprised, but this reimagined graphic novel was kinda amazing?? And it’s making me want to read actual Nancy Drew? I shelve about a million of these things at the library every day and maybe I should check one out for myself.
First things first, the art in this was super good! A lot of comics have that weird state-of-being I have started calling “rushed by a deft hand” in which the artist(s) is/are clearly talented but also clearly didn’t have time to be precise, so things end up looking…odd, to put it kindly. A lot of Western comics have this issue, so color me surprised when this turned out to be pretty, well, pretty!
The character designs are all distinct from each other and really did a good job at portraying at face value who these people are. The fashion, the posture, the facial expressions all told of what any given character was thinking behind their dialogue. A lot of comics lack this and end up with poorly done sarcasm and the like because the body language doesn’t come across through the medium. Even little things, like how tense the shoulders are during the scene spoke volumes about what was happening. I loved it! I absolutely loved it!
And let it be said that Nancy’s fashion sense is peak preppy grunge and I absolutely stan. I would wear literally anything she had on.
The only qualm I have with the art, though, is that there were a few inconsistencies, and they seemed to be grouped together in the climax, which did distract me from the narrative a bit. It wasn’t major, just some weird hair color changes and a few panels that seemed to be out of order or something. I’m sure that last one made sense on paper but on my phone screen and the limitations it has, I had to go back a few times because I lost track of the order of events.
Also, and this could just be my phone being dumb or a weird glitch in the file, but the art was kinda pixelated the whole time, which was particularly odd because the text boxes were fine.
I LOVED the story!! It was so good!!! It was well paced and well executed. There were definitely some cliches in there but they were cliches I generally like so I didn’t mind them. I loved how the characters were written and how they grew or didn’t grow. Nancy was my favorite, Bess being a close second, with Frank in third place. Honestly, the only character I didn’t really care for was Pete but I’m not mad about it. We just didn’t really click.
The mystery was awesome. This totally knew how to do detective fiction the right way, where the reader can figure things out too instead of the plot just kind of happening all at once out of nowhere. Things felt consistent and I had a great grasp on the themes and arcs.
One thing that’s kinda important to note is that there is a dead mom trope going on, so if that’s a trigger for anyone, I’d stay away. It’s central to two characters arcs, one of them being Nancy Drew herself, so it’s impossible to avoid.
I loved it! I need more in this series!
Buy the book here: