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Confessions of a Teenage Sleuth

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3.19  ·  Rating details ·  944 ratings  ·  242 reviews
"If you are reading this, then I am gone and this manuscript, per my instruction, has been delivered to the writer Chelsea Cain for publication as she sees fit..."

America's favorite girl detective is back to set the record straight. According to our titian-haired heroine, she was not a fictional character, but an intrepid real-life sleuth who investigated some of the twent
...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published 2005 by Bloomsbury Publishing
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Average rating 3.19  · 
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Michael
Jan 25, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
A parody of the Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and other series that many of us read in our childhood.

And yet, I found myself wishing it had been funnier. Maybe it's that I'm not as familar with the conventions of the various mystery series being parodied here, having not read one in years. But part of me felt like this was a recent Saturday Night Live skit--good for the first few moments, but extended past the point where it continued to be funny.

The story follows Nancy across her life as she solves
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Katie
Apr 29, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
High literary art, this ain't. But it is a quick, breezy read that's an absolute joy for anyone who's ever idolized the original plucky teen sleuth. And let's face it: who hasn't? I polished it off in a day, enjoying the reinventions of Nancy and numerous other members of the adolescent sleuthing coterie. And, while I know that there were countless references to characters I once revered (and have since forgotten) that were wasted on me, I still thoroughly enjoyed being given an excuse to immers ...more
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Chelsea Cain is well-known for her thrillers featuring serial killer Gretchen Lowell but I think her writing really shines with her humor!  
I recently read her graphic novels featuring former Avenger Mockingbird turned Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Bobbi Morse, and was absolutely blown away by the feminine badassery (yeah, I made that a word about a hundred reviews ago) and wicked sharp humor.

Searching through Cain's backlist of books sans serial killers, I found Confessions of a Teen Sleuth and I am so
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Jennifer Wardrip
Chelsea Cain has done a wonderful job of taking my favorite characters from my youth--Nancy Drew, Ned Nickerson, the Hardy Boys (Joe & Frank), the Bobbsey Twins, and several more--and turning them into a 21st-century novel that had me laughing out loud throughout the entire story.

Granted, THIS story is probably not for the teen-set, unless your son or daughter is more mature. The Nancy and friends of THIS book drink and smoke, make out, have sex and even an affair, and in general aren't as perf
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Tiffany
Jun 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Nancy Drew
This is a *hilarious* parody of Nancy Drew books. After 7 decades of being misrepresented, Nancy finally has her say.

Nancy's former college roommate, Carolyn Keene, has been writing about Nancy (without Nancy's permission), and has apparently gotten many details wrong. The truths are that Nancy is a tramp and incredibly vain (!), Frank Hardy played a major role in Nancy's life, and Nancy didn't stay 16 or 18 forever. Each chapter of Confessions is another era in Nancy's life, but also includes
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Kate
Jun 01, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Veronica Mars and other spunky teen sleuths.
On a library listserv I read, a children's librarian recently lamented that the dozens of hard-bound Nancy Drew books in her collection don't circulate. She asked for suggestions to promote the series, which likely seems outdated and decrepit to today's Gossip Girls audience.

Lucky for the befuddled librarian, girl sleuths are enjoying a pop culture renaissance. In addition to the release of a Nancy Drew movie this summer and the popularity of latter-day titian-haired teen P.I. Veronica Mars, a n
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C.J.
Nov 06, 2017 rated it liked it
"Readers of Carolyn Keene's version of my life's events may be surprised to learn that Ned Nickerson was not the love of my life." That opening sentence epitomizes this book: Not only is Nancy Drew, fictional titian-haired teenage sleuth, a real person, but so are her equally fictional biographer and boyfriend. This parody of the youth-sleuth series churned out by a syndicate under the pen name Carolyn Keene mimics not only the novels' comic-book plots but their somewhat plodding style. And, as ...more
Colleen
Funny, funny, funny--from its cover, to its nostalgic, cheesy, black and white line drawings, to just the whole idea--the real, TRUE story of Nancy Drew, in all her adult glory. Even the chapter titles are funny--"The Clue in the Nazi Nutcracker," "The Mystery of the Congolese Puppet." The mysteries themselves are rather weak. I think the book might have been stronger with more interesting mysteries, but I don't think that was the point. The author tried to fit in as many of the classic Nancy Dr ...more
Shelly
Nov 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trash-fun
This is a confection - a dessert with no great nutritional value, and a heck of a lot of fun. Even if you haven't read all the Nancy Drew Hardy Boys Cherry Ames Trixie Belden teen sleuth oeuvre, you'll get most of the jokes. Enjoy! ...more
Diane
Dec 30, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This light satire of those wonderful teen sleuth books that we all grew up on was a bit uneven. I enjoyed the gentle mocking of Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Cherry Ames, and the bevy of other fictitious teen detectives. The idea for the book is first rate, Nancy is having a hard time adjusting to adult life and the changing world of the 20th century, and longs for her days as a girl detective. She still maintains her impeccable clothes and drives jaunty cars, just as she remains determinedly clue ...more
Cat.
Nov 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, humor
First of all, if you haven't read Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys, this books will be drudgery. If you inhaled the whole series over and over every summer as I did, this is a quick and amusing trip back through time, breaking all of Stephen King's writing rules. The one that cracked me up when I finally noticed it--on about page 30--was that no one "says" anything. Everyone "exclaims" or "nods" or "declares." Of course, Tom Swift says things "obviously" and "inventively," bringing tears of laughter ...more
Diana H.
Oct 22, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fiction
Well, I didn't expect to be bowled over by this rip on Nancy Drew, and I wasn't - so that's alright, I guess.
The plot seems to assume that Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Cherry Ames, and a multitude of other fictional sleuths were actually real people. I think this could have been a really good jumping off point for a story.
However, by changing the basic characters of these well-loved characters, the author has made it difficult for fans to enjoy. Cain seems to take great joy in mocking character
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dearlittledeer
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Carin
what a hilariously silly idea with a terrific execution: the memoir of Nancy Drew. Her roommate at Vassar, Carolyn Keene, stole Nancy's stories and got a lot of the details wrong so here Nancy sets the story straight, and also explains what happened after. Did she marry Ned? Did she have children? What were the Hardy boys really like? Who secretly hated Bess? Why did Nurse Cherry Ames have a vendetta against Nancy? All these questions and more are answered in Nancy's (Ms. Cain's) rollicking tale ...more
Stephanie
I read every Nancy Drew book as a kid, so I immediately recognized the over-the-top, perky tone of this book. It's a clever idea--Nancy Drew is a real person, was roommates with Carolyn Keene in college, and Carolyn wrote about her life but got a lot of things wrong. This is supposed to be the "real" story of Nancy Drew, with appearances by the Hardy Boys, Encyclopedia Brown, and other fictional sleuths. It was pretty funny and clever in places, but didn't improve on itself or finish well--I soo ...more
Roxanne
Mar 12, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My Thoughts about Book
The story itself was well written. Even though it was meant as a parody, I did not find it at all humorous. (The next few sentences will contain a bit of spoilers).The idea of Nancy Drew not marrying the one she truly loved and deceiving an honest Ned Nickerson is both horrible and sad. To me,this seems out of character for someone like Nancy Drew. However, I did like how the author made Carolyn Keene into a real person. I thought it was good how she managed to use Keene to
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Mary Bronson
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book a long time ago back in high school. I was at my local library and was browsing around and came across it and I thought it was an interesting read. I enjoyed reading it. I thought the plot was good and the characters were well written too. I thought it was an interesting how Chelsea decided to make Nancy Drew a "real person" and not a fictional character if that makes sense. I think I might want to re-read it again sometime. ...more
Ms. Yingling
Donated by John O'Connor and the Kiwanis

*Snerk* We have a lovely group here in Westerville that gather books from Half Price Books, the public library, and other places, and redistribute them to schools. My library helpers occasionally label books for this group. This book showed up in one of the donation piles, and really isn't for children-- it's a parody for people who read Nancy Drew and all the other fiction series of the 1950s and 60s, so Mr. O'Connor brought it right to me. It was the bes
...more
Amy Weiner
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cardboard-box
I was still pretty young when I found a copy of The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene at my grandma's house. I guess it had belonged to my older sister. I read it and was hooked. I read all the other Nancy Drew books I could find in the local library, and then had them order the others from the inter-library loan. Somehow I never was drawn into any of the other teen-sleuth stories, but I knew of quite a few. I later read that Keene didn't actually write all the books, many (most?) were wr ...more
Ashley
3 stars - a quick, funny read that parodies the Nancy Drew series. I used to read Nancy Drew sporadically when I was younger; my grandma had a big chunk of the series at her house that I would sometimes read when I was there*. The essence of the series was maintained here - Nancy remains very polished and poised and the interjections of "jeepers!" was oddly endearing. The characters rang true but had added depth thanks to Cain's more subversive take. We see a new side of Nancy via a long-burning ...more
Bert Z
May 04, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Right! Forgive me for being a little entitled but if I read a book that’s subtitled “A Parody” I expect it to be at least a little funny, this wasn’t. It’s nicely written and easily read but the whole idea of the book seems to have been missed, I mean I thought it was going to be a sort of meta-memoir of the character Nancy Drew, instead all it is is a bunch of short stories of the adult Nancy Drew who always seems to find herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. These stories are fine but ...more
Phair
Sep 20, 2017 rated it liked it
A parody of all the teen detective series books centered on “the real” Nancy Drew who sets the story straight after her old college roommate, Carolyn Keene, made a killing turning Nancy’s stories into best selling books- with changes that Nancy is not happy about. This was fun with lots of pop culture of my youth and all the usual tropes- Nancy’s clothing, hair, language quirks, etc.. All the other teens of note show up (or their kids!): the Hardy Boys, Tom Swift, Dana Girls, Cherry Ames, Trixi ...more
Marcie
Chelsea Cain's parody is a fun take on some of the Carolyn Keene characters and stories from the long-running girl detective franchise (the CW television channel recently renewed for a second season), although it was not written for a children's audience, but more for adults who read Nancy Drew as a child. As Nancy Drew evolves over a sixty-year period, the content also maturely progresses, but Ms. Cain's knack for interweaving other famous aging childhood detectives such as the Hardy Boys, Trix ...more
Lisa
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I expected this book to be fun and lame, but I found it fun and clever. Loved the inclusion of Donna Parker, who was my childhood favorite after Nancy. Clearly, the inside jokes are funny only to true fans of the Drew books.
Nate
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book really felt like a labor of love for Chelsea Cain rising far above fan fiction into a involved imagining of how the rest of Nancy Drew's life might play out. It will never be confused for high literature but that's not what Cain is attempting here but it feels like a success. ...more
Bats Mahone
Dec 05, 2018 rated it liked it
This is fun faux memoir of Nancy Drew that somehow makes her come off as, pardon my language, a bit of an oblivious dumb ass. Still, I can't help but like this book. I had to track it down after it introduced my to the teen detective in my own youth. ...more
Sharon
Jan 06, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
One of those books I couldn't remember reading until I read it again. As someone who devoured the Hardy Boys novels and read Nancy Drew only when I'd run out of them I found the parody to be pretty much how I remembered the originals ...more
Kira
Aug 12, 2020 rated it liked it
This was an entertaining parody of Nancy Drew & the Hardy Boys. It read a little like a fanfiction. Amusing with plenty to roll your eyes at. It does have quite a few fat phobia type remarks throughout though. Either way I enjoyed my time with it.
Amy
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
Horrible and hilarious. If not for the fat shaming it would have gotten five stars.
Ralph Carlson
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun read written in the words of Nancy Drew herself. Highly enjoyable.
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Chelsea Cain is the New York Times bestselling author of the Archie Sheridan/Gretchen Lowell thrillers Heartsick, Sweetheart, Evil at Heart, The Night Season, Kill You Twice, and Let Me Go. Her next book One Kick (August, 2014) will be the first in her Kick Lannigan thriller series. Her book Heartsick was named one of the best 100 thrillers ever written by NPR, and Heartsick and Sweetheart were na ...more

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