As a kid, I was a selective reader. Series books like Babysitter's Club, Sweet Valley High and Choose Your Own Adventure were all the rage from third to sixth grade, and I regarded them as pure dreck. Too formulaic, too predictable.
The formulas I loved belonged to an earlier era - a world populated by The Happy Hollisters, sets of Bobbsey Twins, Hardy Boys, Katie John, Trixie Belden, Deanna Durbin, Cherry Ames, and of course, Nancy Drew. I'd check them out by the dozen from the library and devour them. They were appealingly wholesome and pleasingly archaic. I loved the descriptions of food - ham salad sandwiches, deviled eggs and fruit cocktail, often served from a tray or a picnic hamper; the clothes - sweater sets and plaid sunsuits and crinoline party dresses; the rides in convertibles and sleek wooden boats, the stables of horses, the camping and road trips, and the benignly neglectful guardians who only ever worried just enough.
Nancy was the queen of this happy band. The equal of any adult even at 18, fearless, well-liked, and impeccably turned-out at all times. Flashlight in hand, she'd explore rotting docks, cobwebby staircases, abandoned mansions, and still make it home in time for a tray of sandwiches with her father in his study.
Martha sourced the classic signature Nancy Drew look piece for piece in a great post at Nibs, but this is my own take.