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Sabotage at Willow Woods: 01/10/18

Sabotage at Willow Woods by Carolyn Keene

Sabotage at Willow Woods by Carolyn Keene is the fourth of the Nancy Drew Diaries. Nancy and her friends get caught up in campaign sabotage in a neighboring town. George's cousin is running for city council but it seems that someone is out to ruin the campaign.

One of the big complaints reviews have for this volume is that the cover art has nothing to do with the plot. The titular Willow Woods is the location of a proposed expansion for the high school football field. There is a brief scene near the climax where Nancy is running through a wooded area, though it's not necessarily the Willow Woods.

While I'm for covers that are narrationally relevant, I don't think this cover fails its book. This liminal cover bridges the gap between the older Nancy Drew books that often showed Nancy creeping through a wooded area, and this new series that puts Nancy and friends in the midsts of modern day mysteries.

Here the sabotage isn't of the woods — it's of the campaign that hinges on building on the site of the woods. The woods in question are old growth and opponents to the plan argue that it would an environmental disaster to clear the area.

Given the recent presidential campaign, and the gutting of numerous environmental laws and agreements under forty-five, Sabotage at Willow Woods is eerily timely. The motivations of the saboteur are good even if the methods border on the terrifying at times.

One thing I like about this modern series is that the plots are less cut and dry. There's a lot of moral ambiguity that Nancy and friends have to face. Nancy doesn't have a clear cut path to thwart the villain.

Four stars

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