You ever been working through a book you love and wonder what the reading level is.
No, probably not.
But in case you ever find yourself in that situation with your favorite teen boy detectives, let me set your mind at ease …
The Hardy Boys reading level is whatever you want it to be.
Don’t believe me? Check out these nine reasons why I’m right about this …
10 Words Per Page
OK, there are probably more than 10 words per page … probably.
The real point is that these books are generally done in a large typeset with plenty of white space between lines. You can whip through them pretty fast, notwithstanding the items on this list that allow you to amp up the reading level.
50 Pages Per Book
Same story as the words-per-page count.
Hardy Boys books are longer than 50 pages long, but not by a whole bunch.
And each of those pages is a Hardy Boys page, as described above.
So, yeah … the pages fly by, and so do the books.
Fully Developed Stories
Even so, you won’t find any incomplete Hardy Boys books.
I mean, there might be a few plot holes here and there, and some of the characters might never fill out, but you get a full story — beginning, middle, end.
These aren’t kids books, exactly, in other words. (Though your kids — or grandkids — can probably read them just fine.)
New Words Abound
The classic Hardy Boys books were written in another time, when we had different sensibilities. And that meant we often used different words to express ourselves.
Many of those words are just about obsolete these days, which means that when readers encounter them in one of the Dixon classics … well, they’re new words.
There are plenty of examples if you read through a few chapters, but my favorite word learned through a Hardy Boys story is, “jalopy.”
Thanks, Chet Morton!
Do you know where Bayport is?
Well, I do. At least sort of.
See, Bayport is the city where Fenton Hardy lives with his boys, and we learn through the stories that Bayport sits on an inlet a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean.
In the northeast, specifically.
Maybe in New York, if we take The Castle Conundrum as canon.
And these books also teach you about what it’s like to drive a boat, and a car, in this sort of environment.
And what the local rock formations might look like.
And what sorts of businesses might pop up.
And so on and so on. It’s complete world-building, at least over the life of the city.
There’s no way to sugarcoat this one — Hardy Boys books have pictures in them.
Like, one every chapter or so.
Pretty much, these are simple line drawings, and mostly they’re just black and white.
So, they aren’t picture books, but books with pictures generally aren’t serious literature.
Words with the Pictures
On the other hand, Hardy Boys pictures always come with words.
“There on the rocks was the mountain lion!”
“The woman was waiting for Fenton under the streetlamp.”
“Joe never realized how fetching Chet looked in his jalopy.”
You get the picture.
The pictures have words, even if they are generally a repeat of snippets from the text.
Read Just One
If you’re so inclined, you can grab a Hardy Boys book and read it in one sitting. Maybe one bathroom sitting, depending on how fast you read and how much lower-leg-circulation-loss-endurance you can muster.
In this sense, the books are pretty basic stuff, and certainly can’t be considered much about fourth-grade level.
Read Them All!
On the other hand, you could view the Hardy Boys as an epic presented under a couple hundred different covers.
In that case, this thing truly is epic — like, right up there with the Conjuring Universe.
It goes on and on, and you really have to pay attention to understand every single little morsel.
I mean, Tony Prito could like twist any of these nerdy dudes into pretzels with his jock hands anytime he wants to, but he continues to take orders from them.
There has to be something in these tomes that tells us why … right?
Better get to reading if you really want to find out!