The Babysitter Murdersby Janet Ruth Young
Everyone has weird thoughts sometimes. But for seventeen-year-old Dani Solomon, strange thoughts have taken over her life. She loves Alex, the little boy she babysits, more than anything. But one day, she has a vision of murdering him that's so gruesome, she can't get it out of her mind. In fact, Dani's convinced that she really will kill Alex. She confesses the
Everyone has weird thoughts sometimes. But for seventeen-year-old Dani Solomon, strange thoughts have taken over her life. She loves Alex, the little boy she babysits, more than anything. But one day, she has a vision of murdering him that's so gruesome, she can't get it out of her mind. In fact, Dani's convinced that she really will kill Alex. She confesses the thoughts to keep him safe, setting off a media frenzy that makes "Dani Death" the target of an extremist vigilante group.
Through the help of a brave therapist, Dani begins to heal her broken mind. But will it be too late? The people of her community want justice . . . and Dani's learning that some thoughts are better left unsaid.
KIRKUS REVIEWS, June 15, 2011
* “Young's writing style is assured, and the tension stays high throughout, as local reaction escalates, complete with tabloid headlines, a cesspool of Internet commentary, and the threat of vigilantism. It's a realistic and disturbing look at our cultural response to mental illness.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Once a random thought crosses Dani's mind, she can't get rid of it—even when it's completely contrary to her nature. She lives in fear that she's blurted out inappropriate sexual thoughts about her teacher or rude remarks about her best friend's newly revealed lesbianism. Worst, though, are the thoughts of harming the little boy she babysits. She decides to quit her babysitting job, and—responsibly, she thinks—does so in person. Alex's mother hears only that Dani's thinking about killing Alex and calls the police. Dani's committed no crime, so she's not arrested, but word gets out, and Dani falls prey to the smear tactics of a vigilante group called Protect Our Kids. Under a therapist's treatment, Dani learns to deal with her rare type of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Her attempts to heal backfire when Alex's mother overreacts again, tricking Dani into a confrontation with Malcolm, a creepy guy with his own obsessions. The somewhat shallow plot is offset by alternating points of view; the detached tone of seamlessly interwoven snippets from online chatrooms, blogs and newspaper editorials effectively demonstrate modern parental fears that danger lurks everywhere.
Teens who feel misunderstood will relate to Dani's struggles to maintain her reputation in a society that tends to view them with suspicion.(Fiction. 12 & up)
Read an Excerpt
Age: 17 years old
Location: Hawthorne, Massachusetts, United States
Last log-in: April 23
My hobbies: tennis, running, singing
Interested in: friendship male and female, dating male, relationship male
My favorite quote:
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”—Charles Reade
Hello, world!!! I’m a jr. at Hawthorne High and sing alto in our a cappella group the Hawtones . . . love the teamwork . . . play varsity tennis . . . brings out my competitive side . . . best friend is Shelley . . . u can see lots of pictures of us here . . . lots of good times . . . I’m a loyal friend, always try to live up to what is expected of me . . . hate letting people down, would rather be disappointed in them than have them disappointed in me . . . I’ve had this happen to me at least once since my dad moved away when I was little . . . I won’t bore you with that story since you probably know how that goes . . . I like a guy at school, but he has no idea . . . so if you are cute and reasonably tall and above all, NICE, please hit me up.
TMI, Dani thinks. That’s way too much information. Just leave in the happy parts.
Hello, world!!! I’m a jr. at Hawthorne High and sing alto in our a cappella group the Hawtones . . . love the teamwork . . . play varsity tennis . . . brings out my competitive side . . . best friend is Shelley . . . u can see lots of pictures of us here . . . lots of good times . . . I’m a loyal friend, always try to live up to what is expected of me . . . if you are cute and reasonably tall and above all, NICE, please hit me up.
Dani presses Publish.
© 2011 Janet Ruth Young
Meet the Author
Janet Ruth Young is the author of the teen novels My Beautiful Failure, Things I Shouldn’t Think (previously published as The Babysitter Murders), and The Opposite of Music. She lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Visit her at JanetRuthYoung.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I have to be honest and say that I was a little nervous about reading The Babysitter Murders - the title alone makes one come to an abrupt stop when browsing the bookshelves. What a daring and startling story that Janet Ruth Young has written! To be sure, The Babysitter Murders still continues to linger in my mind and has changed how I read or watch the news - for the better. The story concept is unquestionably disturbing as readers get a look inside Dani's head, but it is obvious that Dani also finds her thoughts unsettling and prefers to not have them in the first place. This slows readers down from casting Dani into a villain's role and wonder what exactly is going on. The constant debate of whether Dani will be innocent or guilty keeps the pages turning - and the curiosity nearly explodes as Dani tries to figure out how to avoid the inevitable temptation. I cannot go into too much detail without destroying the carefully-knotted story, but when Dani finally faces the point of no return, what happens next makes me sick to my stomach. Oh, how quickly the media pounces, how swiftly the cry for justice sounds, how wildly the panic spreads, how prematurely Chicken Little runs about before the sky actually falls. If there had been any hope for Dani to get help for this sickness, assuredly it has been crushed by the bloodthirsty public who wants her head on a platter. In her defense, Dani does attemp to reach out to those closest to her for help - which is incredibly brave on her part - although she does not spell her concerns out explicitly. The Babysitter Murders makes me wonder how I would react if Dani had told me what was going on. What happens if my best friend confides in me about thoughts on wanting to murder someone - seriously - and needs my help to stop her from doing so? I am ashamed to say that I would probably back away slowly and hightail it to somewhere safe. How else does one react? How does a PARENT react when their child approaches them? Obviously I am out of my depths, but if someone I loved had this issue, I should be able to acknowledge their cry for help as a GOOD sign and not ditch them. The Babysitter Murders reminds me a little of shine where a singular news event affects the entire town and the truth is not as black-and-white as the typeface on the paper wants you to believe. It definitely cautions readers from jumping to conclusions and reminding them that even the worst stories have two sides to them.
this book is great! i couldn't put it down !!! I don't wanna ruin the ending , but i WAS dissapointed because i thought she was actually going to murder somebody..but other then that the plot was great and i loved it !
I loved the book and s o did my little brother i read to him also... the book has lots of twists and will leave you with the ntaste of despare in your mouth i reccomend this book for older children that like mysteries.
For me, as I started this book, it was real easy to fall into the story line. We have a teenage girl, who is overwhelmed by a lot of things. So much so, that she starts to over think things and her thoughts. Dani, has bad thought just like everyone. But these thoughts scare her so much that she just freaked herself out. It is hard for me to write this review cause I am not sure how to get the right words to describe this book. The story line of this book is simple yet filling. The reader sees Dani the main character deal with her thoughts. I like that Dani took the steps necessary to help her in whatever way possible. She knew her thoughts were wrong, so did she what she thought best. The best part about this book are the towns people. They overreacted way tooo much! I'm all for being protective of your kids but if there was no harm done, why react that way. They acted like a mobbed just waiting to get their chance at Dani. Even her friends I was shocked with that they acted. We've all have dirty thoughts we can't control. So I was angry that the people reacted so harshly instead of helping they made it worse. I like this book cause of the great psychological thrillers. It really give a great descriptions of what goes on inside of ones mind and how it explodes once let out.