I read every original Nancy Drew book when I was younger. I loved them. I thought the stories were great because they were scary, exciting, and they taught you something - there was always a theme and you learned something cool about whatever it was.
I always wanted to be just like Nancy - she was so clever and brave. She was beautiful, had great friends, a boyfriend, and great clothes. I definitely still love her clothes - fifties fashion is pretty awesome. :) She was the perfect role model. I loved that she was strong and independent, but still remained feminine and relational. She wasn't the abrasive feminist that's popular today, but what I imagined to be a true feminist.
However, as I came to the end of the series, I realized something: Nancy was a jerk! She was so obsessive about her mysteries that she put them ahead of her loved ones.
Poor Ned Nickerson. He just wanted to take his girl out on a date. But if there was a choice between him and a mystery, Nancy would choose the mystery every time. She constantly canceled her plans with Ned so she could work on a case - she didn't even take him with her so they could pretend like it was a date! If Ned was there, it was generally because Nancy got herself kidnapped and Ned had to come save her.
Even so, I still love these books, and I think every young girl should read at least one. Nancy Drew is a good role model, but maybe not quite the image of perfection I thought she was when I was little.