This was the conversation we had last night at dinner:

“Annalyn, put your phone down.”
“But, Mom, it’s beeping. I need to check it.”
“Annalyn, do you see your mom and I staring at our phones during dinner? No.”
“Dad! My friends are on their way! I need to give them directions!”
“That. Is. Enough. No phones during dinner!”

The phone in question? NOT A WORKING PHONE. It’s my old flip phone, from about three plans ago, battery long dead and decorated with red heart stickers. But don’t tell Annalyn. She’s convinced it’s real, hip and connected to the internet.

Oh, and the friends who were joining us for dinner? You know, just Nancy Drew and Madison, Annalyn’s BFF.

(Strangely enough, Nancy and Madison never made it to dinner as far as I know. Then again, given their fictional status, I suppose they could’ve been sitting right next to me and I wouldn’t have known it.)

A few weeks ago, we finished the required number of books to qualify for a free book through our library’s summer reading program. As we stood in front of the stand, agonizing over this Very Important Decision, I asked the librarian if perhaps there was a rule that when listeners (as opposed to readers) earned free books, the person actually doing the reading (you know…ME) should get to pick out the prize book.

She didn’t even pretend to play along and simply said, “No.” Thanks for nothing.

Thankfully, at the very last second, Annalyn chose the Nancy Drew chapter book over the bland picture book we had just read the week before. I could not have been more excited.

NANCY DREW, you guys!

Now, before you tear up your nomination forms for my Mom of the Year award, I’m talking about an age-appropriate version of everyone’s favorite girl detective. The Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew books are about eight-year-old Nancy, George and Bess as they solve their first cases in elementary school.

IT’S ADORABLE.

And even better? Annalyn LOVED the first one we read and is just dying for us to get the next books in the series. She can’t wait and has decided that Nancy is actually her friend in real [pretend] life.

Because, of course.

As my imaginative little girl asked me for the thirty-seventh time WHEN her next Nancy Drew book will be in at the library (and why can’t we buy it to keep forever, like the first one??), I realized that I’m probably creating a reading monster.

After all, it wasn’t long ago that I begged my mom over and over to go to our tiny little library to see if today was the day they had a new book – preferably Nancy Drew, but I’d take Trixie Belden or the Bobbsey Twins, too. (Of course, I was also obsessed with the Sweet Valley Twins and the Babysitters Club. But our town’s library didn’t carry them. Mainly because they kicked it old-school and under-funded.)

And I haven’t changed much in the 20+ years since then. Just this weekend I was checking my library account online, seeing if I was any closer to the top of the reserve list for the next books in my favorite series!

Just like Harry Potter opened the door to YA fantasy novels a few years ago, those yellow-spined Nancy Drew books (and the Hardy Boys and the others) were my gateway books to my mystery series addiction.

What about you? What book or series got you hooked on a certain genre (or reading in general)?

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