By David Canfield
January 17, 2020 at 12:00 PM EST
Robert Falconer/The CW
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Nancy Drew is back on the case.

EW has an exclusive first look at Nancy Drew The Curse, the official upcoming prequel novel to the popular TV series currently airing on The CW. Written by Micol Ostow, who’s behind the best-selling companion Riverdale novels, The Curse follows the beloved teen sleuth as she investigates a sinister, once-dormant curse that may be threatening her town once more.

Here’s the official synopsis: “All old towns have their traditions and histories, but as Nancy will soon discover, they don’t always tell the whole story. Nancy Drew isn’t one for ghost stories. So when the annual Horseshoe Bay Naming Day celebration is threatened by eerie warnings of an old curse, Nancy is sure someone — someone human — is behind them. And no way is she letting this person stand in the way of her best friend, Daisy, finally getting her day in the spotlight as the lead in the much-anticipated Naming Day reenactment. But as Nancy begins investigating, the so-called marks of the curse become bolder…and more sinister. A vandalized locker and ominous notes are one thing, but soon enough lives — including Nancy’s own—are at stake.”

Currently The CW’s most-watched new show, Nancy Drew features the character as an 18-year-old reluctantly drawn back into the mystery-solving of her teen years after a homicide case is connected to her family. Kennedy McMann stars. The series was recently renewed for a second season.

Below, EW can debut the cover for Nancy Drew The Curse, as well as an official excerpt. The novel publishes March 31, and is available for pre-order.

Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing

Excerpt from Nancy Drew The Curse, by Micol Ostow

PROLOGUE

I’m someone who likes to question what we know of as the so-called truth.

Yes, I do believe in the myth of the American Gothic: that small-town charm is its own form of parody, and that hometown pride is really just fear wrapped up in its shiny Sunday best. I believe Norman Rockwell and Grant Wood both would have had a field day with the chance to paint a pastoral scene of my hometown, Horseshoe Bay. But what would they have seen of us, if they’d turned to our own coastal dreamland as their muse?

Peel back the veneer of any charming American small town, and you’re bound to uncover the black, rotting heart that lurks beneath.

I’ve lived in Horseshoe Bay my whole life. Its rituals, its traditions—they’re mine, as ingrained into me as fingerprints, infused into my DNA.

And I do love life here, small-town secrets notwithstanding. I love the real, live things, the tiny quirks and little details that bring our town to light, to life. Like the annual Horseshoe Bay Naming Day Festival, reliable as the equinox, perennial as the spring’s lengthening daylight. A celebration of our roots and our history as a community.

After all: What could be more festive?

My own favorite Naming Day memories are drenched in icy lemonade and soaked in the crisp, sunny air of spring. They smell of the season’s last lingering evening fire and the glow of starlight as the sun slips down past the horizon line. I remember things: being impossibly small, watching as a court of older girls, sylphlike, swans, glided by, flower crowns twined through their hair and trailing in the blue hush of dusk. I remember the sound of my mother’s voice—off-key, filled with laughter—as she sang along to our favorite Horseshoe Bay hits, performed live (and also off-key; that was practically a rule) in the town’s tiny band shell. And when I was younger still, I remember cornhole and Ferris wheel rides, painted-face mermaid queens, holding hands with childhood friends as our bucket crested the machine’s highest curve, mouths stretched in delighted terror.

But I’m not the only one with Naming Day memories. Everyone in this town has their own.

And legend has it, some of them are far from happy.

Too bad I don’t believe in legends. Just like I don’t believe in black magic, or the paranormal, or anything beyond what I can see with my own two eyes.

Blood. Science. Facts. These are the things I believe in. Things that I can quantify. Things that I can prove, that I can hold in my hand.

I believe in small towns, salty air, and, yes, even the dark secrets that my friends and neighbors carry with them, close to their hearts. We all have our own skeletons, our own crosses to bear. That’s just a fact, a by-product of basic human nature.

But legends? Tall tales? Curses?

No.

A curse is just a mystery dressed up in a sharp, stern warning. I don’t believe in curses.

But everyone knows that I love a mystery.

And everyone knows a mystery doesn’t stand a chance next to me.

**

Related content:

The CW updates the iconic teen sleuth for 2019, making Nancy (Kenney McMann) flawed and real in this supernatural thriller.
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