Tuesday, July 26, 2011

(118)The Babysitter Murders by Janet Ruth Young

The Babysitter Murders

Publish Date: July 26, 2011
336 Pages

I know I said that I was going to back off of the Young Adult literature, but this one worked it's way into the pile. The title is completely contradictory to the picture, until you find out what the story is about.

17-year-old, Dani is a model teenager. A great student, a member of the choir, a star Tennis player, and has a great babysitting job looking after little Alex. Everything is going great for Dani until one day she starts having horrible thoughts about Alex. Like, "what if she killed him" thoughts. They were so terrifying to her that she actually took all of the knives in Alex's home and locked them in the garage until his mother got home. Dani tries to tell her mother about the dark thoughts in her head, but she gets nowhere. She tries to quit babysitting for Alex, but that goes nowhere. So she tries to Alex's mother. And that gets her a trip home in the back of a police car, which starts an astonishing amount of harassment. Will Dani's mom be able to keep her safe while trying to get her the help that she needs or will Dani finally act on the thoughts that have been dominating her brain over the last several months.

Admittedly, the topic of this story is very dark. BUT, I think there are a lot of key talking points for teens and their parents. Obviously open lines of communication are critical, but if Dani had been able to REALLY talk to her Mom, everything would have turned out differently. She would have never gone to Alex's mom and the police would not have been involved.

We tend to think of "bad kids" being the loners, the bad students, the anti-social. But this book proves that kids of all walks of life can have mental illnesses. I am a bit surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. Dani is a great character, all things considered. I really wanted to scoop her up and keep her safe from the hateful words and actions. I think the author did a fantastic job of moving the story along in a way that we, the reader, did not hate Dani. We felt sorry for her. Murderous thoughts and all. I know it seems really dark, but I think there is an important message in there, maybe more for parents than teens, about the parent/teen relationship and how crucial communication is to the health of that relationship. If you give it a shot, let me know what you think.


StephTheBookworm said...

I read this one. Thought it was fascinating but didn't like the POV and narration. I gave it 3.5 stars.

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