The Red Slippers (Nancy Drew Diaries #11)

“Nancy and Bess are excited when they run into their old friend Maggie Rogers in River Heights. As little girls, Bess and Nancy were in dance classes with Maggie, until she moved away to attend a prestigious ballet academy. Now Maggie is part of a ballet company made up of the most promising young dancers in the state, and the company is in town to perform Sleeping Beauty. This performance is especially important because the famous dance critic Oscar LaVigne will be in the audience. A good review could catapult Maggie’s career…but a bad one could ruin everything.

In the days leading up to the big show, strange things start happening. First someone tampers with Maggie’s phone, making her late to rehearsal. Then Maggie’s face is violently scratched out of all the official show posters, and she finds her dressing room completely destroyed.

All signs point to sabotage, and Nancy is determined to find out who’s behind it. Will she crack the case in time—or is Sleeping Beauty destined to be Maggie’s last dance?”

First off, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m getting a little tired of sabotage as a plot device in the Nancy Drew Diaries. Surely, the publishers can come up with something more original than that. But no, for the fourth Diaries book in a row, Nancy needs to find out who is sabotaging someone else.

There are plenty of suspects in The Red Slippers (Amazon) (AbeBooks), but one stood out to me right away. Not the obvious choice, the understudy Fiona, who has a lot to gain if Maggie fails, but someone else who is acting suspiciously. So I listened to this audiobook with only one ear, confident that I was right. Maybe the target audience wouldn’t pick up on the clues, but I thought the suspect had a huge neon sign above them.

Bess is having an identity crisis in this book.

“I NEED A THING,” BESS said with a sigh between sips of hot chocolate.

“Christmas was just last month. What more could you possibly need?” George shot back.

Bess rolled her eyes. “Not like that. I mean a thing that defines who I am.”

She’s always described as a fashionista, beautiful, a people person, and in the Diaries series, she’s been described as an awesome mechanic in a couple of books, but that’s forgotten for this volume. She complains that George is a computer geek and Nancy is a detective and Ned is a brain, but Bess doesn’t know what she wants to do or be when she grows up. So there’s a little more dimension to the characters in this book as she explores her feelings and tries to find her passion.

Overall, an okay book in the series, better if you haven’t read them all in a row like I have because of the recycled sabotage plot device. Seriously, if sabotage is the main theme in volume 12, I may give up on this series and start on one of the other Nancy Drew series.

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