No Gratuitous Amazon Links today, kids. I’m going to link to each of the books I mention instead.
I was thinking that the Chronicles of Narnia were my first book series, but really, my first book series was Nancy Drew.
I don’t even really remember how or when I discovered Nancy Drew, but my dad bought me one book a month for several years, and that ended when I was maybe 11, so I was probably nine when I started buying them.
My dad was very good about providing me with good female role models, and Nancy was a great one. Apparently the 1930s Nancy was even more independent than the 1960s one (which were the books available in the 1970s), but 1960s/1970s Nancy was good enough for me.
It took me a while to really think of Nancy Drew as a series in the same way as, say Harry Potter, because there wasn’t a tremendous amount of continuity there. The books were self-contained and didn’t support a larger narrative.
There was some continuity, though. Nancy’s friend in the first few books was Helen Corning Archer. Helen goes through engagement and into marriage in the books from The Secret of the Old Clock to The Mystery at Lilac Inn. Helen shows up or is mentioned in later books, but she is for all intents and purposes replaced by George Fayne and Bess Marvin starting with The Secret of Shadow Ranch.
We also get some progression in the relationship between Nancy and her boyfriend Ned Nickerson. Despite a small continuity error mentioning him in The Secret of Shadow Ranch, Ned is officially introduced in The Clue in the Diary. They start out as friends and end up as good friends who go on dates, and eventually end up “going steady,” as it were.
I really blame/credit the Nancy Drew books for making me a fan of series of books.