Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Nancys” as Want to Read:
The Nancys
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Nancys

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  827 ratings  ·  163 reviews
Tippy Chan is eleven and lives in a small town in a very quiet part of the world - the place her Uncle Pike escaped from the first chance he got as a teenager. Now Pike is back with his new boyfriend Devon to look after Tippy while her mum's on a cruise.

Tippy is in love with her uncle's old Nancy Drew books, especially the early ones where Nancy was sixteen and did whateve
Paperback, 396 pages
Published June 3rd 2019 by Allen & Unwin
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Nancys, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Nancys

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  827 ratings  ·  163 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Nancys
Kylie D
Well, that was an amusing, different kind of murder mystery. It is seen through the eyes of eleven year old Tippy, who is being babysat by her Uncle Pike and his boyfriend Devon while her mum is away on a cruise. When her teacher is found dead by the side of the road Tippy, Pike and Devon form The Nancys, a crime solving club based on Nancy Drew. What they don't count on is getting closer to solve the mystery than the police are, and that could be dangerous!

I am a bit torn though, for the most p
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really did not expect to like this as much as I did! From the blurb I thought here we go again, yet another book full of 'quirky' characters we are expected to fall in love with.

And that is exactly what I got. Tippy Chan, eleven years old, traumatised by the death of her father, naïve but smart. Uncle Pike and his boyfriend, Devon, totally incorrect in attitude, language, behaviour and everything else to be in charge of an eleven year old but just what that eleven year old needed at this time.
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
Highly commended for an Unpublished Manuscript in the 2017 Victorian Premier Literary Awards, The Nancys is the debut novel by New Zealand author R.W.R. McDonald. Snappy and snazzy, with the perfect blend of humour and mystery, The Nancys was a rollicking read from start to finish.

Taking charge of events in this affecting debut novel by R.W.R. McDonald, is the ever delightful Tippy Chan. A compelling eleven year old narrator, Tippy’s life changes when her fl
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: zread-in-2020
This was such a fun read! Great characters and dialogue anchored by an intriguing small-town murder plot.
11-year-old Tippy Chan lives in (fictional) Riverstone in South Otago, New Zealand with her mum, her Dad having died suddenly some months earlier. When her mum wins a South Pacific cruise, Tippy's Uncle Pike and his boyfriend Devon fly in from Sydney to look after her.
And then the fun begins!

The bridge at Balclutha, South Otago, which bears a remarkable resemblance to fictional Riverstone's
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Nancys is the first novel by New Zealand-born Australian author, R W R McDonald. While her mother is away on a two-week cruise, eleven-year-old Tippy Chan’s Uncle Pike is in Riverstone with his boyfriend, Devon, to keep an eye on her. Pike is expecting a boring time in South Otago, but mere days into his stay, one of Tippy’s friends, Todd Landers falls off the bridge over the River Clutha. Making their own entertainment is meant to include fun things like making-over for neighbour Melanie Br ...more
Kylie Westaway
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book threw me completely. I picked it up because I loved the Nancy Drew books and I love a small town murder mystery, but within the first three chapters I was thinking that this book wasn’t really for me. I wouldn’t think of myself as a prude, but there is a lot of crudity here. And the plot jumps around at the start, and it’s sometimes hard to work out what’s happening as we keep getting snippets of scenes rather than whole scenes. But despite this, I couldn’t put it down. I was up until ...more
May 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: most-loved
I can't remember the last time I read a book where I laughed so frequently, so this a welcome change of pace!

Eleven-year-old Tippy Chan is being looked after by her Uncle Pike and his new boyfriend Devon while her mum is on a cruise. The small town of Riverstone doesn't really have much of interest, and Uncle Pike fled years ago. There's not much to do, nowhere really to go, though the trip to the fabric store provides a moment of excitement for Devon, who is a fashion designer. Within a short
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-bookshelves
I went to the launch of this book because it sounded like such a fun read and I was interested in meeting the author, also wine and cheese in a lovely bookshop on a cold Friday night and a fun book launch to boot! Why not! I couldn't wait to get stuck into this shocking pink book the cover of which is quite a statement. This is the tale of what happens in a small town over the course of a few weeks at Christmas time. Tippy Chan's mum has won a trip away on a cruise and while she is away her flam ...more
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An absolute delight from the very start, The Nancys took me back to my days of obsessively devouring crime fiction. Not only is it a good old fashioned murder mystery of the exact kind I have always loved, but it possesses a genuine warmth and laugh-out-loud humour not often associated with the genre. I'll avoid any plot description so I don't stumble into spoiler territory but, gotta say, I loved it. ...more
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hands up those of us who thought we'd grow up to be Nancy Drew, although I will confess I was more in the Trixie Belden camp. But those books, The Secret Seven, The Famous Five and the Three Investigators series probably had a lot to do with anybody around our age addicted to mysteries, thrillers and crime fiction. Although I doubt anybody quite expected the homage that is THE NANCYS by Kiwi-Australian writer R.W.R. McDonald. And potential readers should be warned - this is not a book you'd be g ...more
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, thrillers
The Nancy
by R.W.R. Mcdonald
Tippy Chan is eleven and lives in Riverstone a small town in a very quiet part of the world - the place her Uncle Pike escaped from the first chance he got as a teenager. Now Pike is back with his new boyfriend Devon to look after Tippy while her mum's on a cruise.
I recognized instantly that Riverstone was Balcultha a small town south of Dunedin where I went to primary school. That small element drew me into the story as the stories landscape and its citizens and thei
Susan Francis
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Just finished McDonald's book this very minute after binge reading all week-end. And the last few pages made me cry. I still have wet eyes. So I had to open the computer and instantly write a review - while the emotion was strong. Because people need to read this beautiful, spirited, generous book. There are so many life lessons to take away. Despite the obvious style difference, there is an innocence and truth that in some ways reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird.

The idea that loved ones
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Nancys is a very entertaining light read.
It is probably more of a 3.7, bumped it up to a 4 even though there are many other 4s on my list that I would rate higher than this.
Still, it's unlike anything else I've read before.
Not many novels are set in a small country town in present day NZ, where two gay men sashay in from Sydney to look after their delightful 11 year old niece, while their Mother takes a much needed break on a cruise.
Told from Tippy Chan's POV. She's the 11 year old niece
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
Tippy Chan is my kind of girl. Slightly damaged, smarter than your average bear, and unflinchingly accepting of "alternative" lifestyles. I, too, had a thing for crime at that age, so I love that Pike and Devon not only participate but encourage her amateur sleuthing.

Speaking of Pike and Devon, I think they were just a tiny bit over the top and didn't quite fit seamlessly with the rest of the novel. They did, however, provide some really sweet moments between them, Tippy and Helen. I think they'
Richard Gray
Well, that was an unexpected delight! Not entirely unexpected, to be honest: for full disclosure, I requested this as an ARC from A&U and they graciously sent through an early copy. McDonald achieves a rare thing in The Nancys, combining the youthful inquisitiveness of a Nancy Drew mystery (hence the title) with the conventions of a modern murder mystery and a healthy dose of quick-witted and often self-deprecating Antipodean humour. The result is a group of characters that you enjoy spending ti ...more
Julia Tutt
Aug 06, 2019 rated it did not like it
This was truly awful, and the more I think about it the more I dislike it. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone and I don't know what Allen & Unwin were thinking. It's not literary fiction, it's not crime fiction, and it's not even good YA. The writing was clunky with too much dialogue and zero character development or depth. To add insult to injury the actual crime solving part of the story is so chock full of holes, that jahlsberg want their cheese back. Don't buy, don't borrow, don't go near thi ...more
Vicki Antipodean Bookclub
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Tippy Chan is 11 years old and living in small town New Zealand with her Mum. She’s inherited a love of Nancy Drew from her Uncle Pike who escaped from Riverstone to Sydney as soon as he could leave home. When Tippy’s Mum goes on a cruise, Uncle Pike and his partner Devon come and look after Tippy, bringing laughter, colour and sparkle into Tippy’s life at a time when she’s coming to terms with losing her Dad. They form The Nancys when Tippy’s teacher is found murdered next to Riverstone’s only ...more
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've said it before and I'll say it again. I adore books written from the point of view of a child narrator. I mean, it doesn't always work... the author has to nail their all-knowing childish innocence and their voice has to be authentic, but when that happens; it can be amazing.

Which is the case with this new release, The Nancys by RWR McDonald, set on New Zealand's south island.

Read my review here:
I agree with Bridget and Melinda! 4.5 stars.

There are also the themes of race [Tippy having a Chinese father and having endured more than a few racist comments - even if well meaning] and she and her 2 closest friends being outsiders.
The sadness Tippy often feels is very real and raw - tempered by quick recoveries and the warmth , caring and humour of family members.

Good for themes of strong female characters also - not sure what age I'd recommend, around 14 yrs plus to adult.

Having grown up in
Melinda Szymanik
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well, that was fun!! and a fab 4 and a half star read. This entertaining mystery/thriller set in small town Otago revolves around an unusually young mc, but this is definitely a book for the grown ups. Eleven-year-old Nancy Drew officionado, Tippy Chan, is struggling to come to terms with the loss of her father. While her mother heads off on a cruise to deal with her own grief, Tippy's uncle and his flamoyant new boyfriend arrive from Sydney to babysit her. When Tippy's teacher is murdered, the ...more
Aug 05, 2019 rated it did not like it
Thanks to Allen & Unwin for my ARC.

Unfortunately I thought this was really poorly written. I rarely don’t finish books, but I would have been sorely tempted with this one, if it hadn’t been sent to me as an ARC. As it was, I felt compelled to finish it, but by about halfway through, I thought it would be a waste of my time, and I was correct.

It was an interesting premise, and I liked that it was set near Dunedin, NZ. Sadly, however, the writing was clumsy, with things not being fully explained,
Emma Balkin
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-books
It was refreshing to read a book set in New Zealand. It started well , and I found myself laughing along with the rollicking adventures of Tippy, Pike and Devon. However, as this continued I didn’t think a grieving 11-year-old should be placed in the situations that her family put her in. While I like non-traditional endings, this one seemed to both drag on and peter out. A debut novel, a book that’s published in 2019, a book featuring an amateur detective, a book about a family, a book with a t ...more
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Some of the characters were likeable and some parts were amusing but the whole thing read like a mediocre YA novel. A grown man writing as an eleven year old girl didn’t work for me. It was drawn out and far-fetched, and felt over-explained with some plot holes. The innuendos got pretty tiring. Very predictable with a lacklustre ending.
Claire Tomonaga
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a fast, fun read. Loved the setting. Balclutha has never sounded so good! As a Nancy Drew fan and a Kiwi this ticked a lot of boxes.
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much. Laughed, cried, was on the edge of my seat - all of the feelings! Uncle Pike and Devon are just delightful and I want to drink cocktails with them.
Rating: 4 stars

Usually I give extra slack to authors from NZ and Australia (and there aren't many down here), but The Nancys deserves all four of those stars, regardless as to where the author comes from. As the novel progressed, I began to worry that the "whodunnit" element would end up being underwhelming, but Mcdonald did not disappoint! The book wrapped up with just enough answered to be satisfying, but not so much that it was too perfect. I never expected to like this book this much, and it
Lynley Eavis
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It has everything I want from a book: murder, rag-tag team of amateur detectives, gay uncles and rural New Zealand!!!!
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Adored this murder mystery set in a sleepy NZ town and featuring a cast of lovable oddball characters. Front and centre are the Nancies - a young girl and her two flamboyant gay uncles, who are equal parts dearly loving and endearingly inappropriate. The trio bond over Nancy Drew books and are ecstatic for the opportunity to solve the real life mystery unfolding in their quiet little town (even if it does involve the grisly murder of the girl’s teacher). The relationship between the three of the ...more
Jun 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs
Gosh, I'm feeling so horribly conflicted about this review. I'm so completely on the fence with how to rate it and what to say!

The Nancys is the story of 11 year old Tippy Chan. In the lead up to Christmas her Mum heads off on a cruise, living Tippy in the care of her Uncle Pike and his boyfriend Devon. When Tippy's teacher is murdered, the trio take it upon themselves to form the Nancys - in honour of Nancy Drew - and solve the murder themselves.

I really struggled with the beginning of this boo
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it

Tippy Chan is eleven years old. She lives in an unremarkable town in New Zealand where not much happens. Her dad died less than a year ago and now her mum is going on a cruise and leaving her in the capable hands of her Uncle Pike and his boyfriend Devon. Little does Tippy know that her world is about to get tipped and turned upside down.

A huge fan of Nancy Drew, Tippy has always wanted to solve a crime. Now that her teacher has been murdered, she has the perfect opportunity and so The N
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • All Our Shimmering Skies
  • The Survivors
  • The Weekend
  • Loner
  • Bruny
  • The Wife and the Widow
  • Darkness for Light (Caleb Zelic, #3)
  • Trust
  • Consolation
  • Kokomo
  • A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing
  • The Mother Fault
  • There Was Still Love
  • Lucky's
  • The Dictionary of Lost Words
  • The Bluffs
  • Room for a Stranger
  • Honeybee
See similar books…
R.W.R. McDonald is a Kiwi living in Melbourne with his two daughters and an extended rainbow family including HarryCat and Stevie Nicks the chicken. Rob attended Faber Academy's Writing a Novel in 2016.

The Nancys has been Shortlisted for Best First Crime Novel in The Ned Kelly Awards 2020, and Shortlisted for both Best Novel and Best First Novel in the Ngaio Marsh Award 2020 and was Highly Commen

News & Interviews

Looking for a fictional meet-cute in the new year? We've got some steamy novels for you to snuggle up with, including Casey McQuiston's...
62 likes · 14 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »