I love love loved this debut novel by R.W.R McDonald! I won’t lie, the first reason I picked up the book was because I saw the cover and the pop art spoke to me. I totally judge a book by its cover. I can’t say I’ve read a lot of crime fiction so this isn’t normally a book I might have discovered organically, but it’s hard to miss this one – it is featured everywhere at the moment, including many of the top 10 bestsellers at indie bookshops. I also have a soft spot for my gays. I honestly don’t know how I would’ve gone through some of life’s tough moments without my gay best friends, so when I read that the book was about a young girl, her uncle, and his boyfriend’s adventures solving a crime, it got me interested.
I have to say that the strength of the book is in its characters, who were all believable and created with such fine attention to detail. Tippy Chan is the sweet protagonist who shows bravery and maturity for a young girl who is processing the grief of losing her father whilst embarking on a crime investigation involving a murder in her small town. You cannot help but want to support Tippy and give her a hug. There are also subtle hints throughout the book that Tippy is unsure about how she feels about boys and girls; that she is beginning to think about her sexuality. This is in the setting of having an openly gay uncle Pike, and his hilarious boyfriend Devon, who supplies the comic relief in the book. There were definitely some laugh-out-loud moments provided by Devon, who was easily my favourite character.
I read The Nancys in two and a half sittings. It was easy to read, brilliantly written, and ultimately heart-warming. The love of family and friends is a powerful theme in the book and it made me wish I had an uncle like Pike. Even the less likeable characters have aspects to them that endear them to us. The story was very cleverly constructed, some moments of great suspense, and I was sad when the book ended. I want to know more about the people in the book – like watch Tippy grow up, and hear more of Devon’s cheeky and affectionate banter with Pike.
The Nancys was such a satisfying read. I think my favourite book of 2019 so far! I really hope to see a sequel to The Nancys (perhaps there will even be a whole series just like Nancy Drew, which this book was inspired by). If it’s not already on your #TBR pile, it ought to be!