I almost didn't give this a star rating. Tough to know how to judge a book like this.
When I was a kid I blasted through all of these books one summer, and came away with a lifelong automatic crush on any woman who has strawberry blonde hair. Which, btw, she doesn't even have in this first book, it's just blonde. I looked it up and apparently her hair color evolved. Two stars for blonde hair.
This is a children's book, written at a very basic level. I don't know, eight-year-olds? Whatever the stage is where kids start reading chapter books. It'll have some unusual words - I think I remember seeing "demure" - but nothing showy.
I feel like anyone seriously reading this review wants to know if it's okay for your kid, so: yes. This is the 1959 rewrite, not the original 1930 version which I couldn't find, so I can't speak tot hat one, but this rewrite has no objectionable material. There are no people of color to be weird and racist about, and no boys Nancy's age at all. Nancy pointedly knows how to change a tire and fix a boat motor, which is cool; she has agency and she's a very nice young lady. She makes a good role model.
I liked it. I mean, it's just like Nancy Drew ambling about making friends with people and then doing nice things for them, and in the end she fixes everything. The mean girls in her class get it pretty rough - like, now they're poor and they have to get jobs and it's a bummer for them - but they're very unkind people, so whatevs.
I mean, there's no reason to read this as an adult other than nostalgia. If you're, like, into
these books, you probably collect old Barbies and whatever weird shit you're into as well, and I definitely feel smugly superior to you, over here with my Steinbeck. But go ahead and give it to your kid. There are worse fetishes to have than strawberry blonde hair.