Image via Cephus’ Corner
I read a lot when I was growing up, and I especially loved it when I found a new series to burn through. I’d check out every volume available from the local library, comb used bookstores, and search through my relatives’ attics for unwanted copies. Nancy Drew — with her perfect strawberry blonde hair, blue convertible, loyal friends, college boyfriend, and knack for solving mysteries — was one of my first loves. The series, ghostwritten under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene, continued for 175 numbered books and were released from 1930 to 2003. I loved Nancy for her bold curiosity, and spent years wishing my hair was strawberry blonde so I could be just a little like her. And as you can see from the book covers, she had an undeniable style.
Image via Cindy Bear’s Den
Image via Nancy Drew Mystery Stories
The Dana Girls mysteries were also written under the name Carolyn Keene, and focused on a pair of sisters at a boarding school. The series was much less popular, but the writers still churned out 47 published books, and the girls had solid fashion sense.
Image via Cephus’ Corner
The Boxcar Children featured another set of amateur sleuths. The series premiered in 1940 and was created by and originally written by Gertrude Chandler Warner. The four kids lost their parents and had to move with a grandfather who they were convinced didn’t want them. They spent the first book living in the titular Boxcar, but moved in with their grandfather by the end. The name sticks for all 100+ titles.
I read the re-released paperbacks, and the kids still seemed pretty well put together, especially considering their living situation in the first volume.
Image via Tiny Town Books and Toys
Trixie Belden was my favorite girl detective. The first six volumes of the 39-book series were penned by Julie Campbell Tatham, and the rest were written under the pseudonym Kathryn Kenny. Trixie’s background was more like my own — she lived on a farm with her parents and brothers, and complained about chores and struggled with her math homework. She and her friends formed a club called Bob-Whites of the Glen to solve mysteries together.
Image via Marcia Strykowski: Children’s Author
Not all series have to be about solving mysteries, though, which brings us to The Baby-Sitter’s Club. Ann M. Martin created the series in 1986 and wrote the first 35 books in the over-200-book series. The club started with four friends who got together to organize babysitting jobs. Each book focused on one of the characters, and their babysitting misadventures.
Image via KeySmash
And of course, no list of books would be complete without Sweet Valley High (and Sweet Valley Twins). Francine Pascal created the original series in 1983, and between the two series there are hundreds of books. Jessica and Liz, who were both beautiful and popular, navigated high school and middle school, struggling to remain close and express their individuality at the same time.
Image via Shannon’s Sweet Valley High Blog
Was there a series that was close to your heart? Were there any books that you loved, or characters that you wanted to be? Be sure to share your faves in the comments!