Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

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Parents' Guide to

The Babysitter Murders

By Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Inauthentic story explores mental illness, Internet rumors.

The Babysitter Murders Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

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Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

This could have been a meaty story exploring mental illness, parental paranoia, and the danger of rumors in the Internet age, but there are too many false notes. The teen characters are inauthentic and unrealistic; the supposed therapy and long-term implications of this form of mental illness are poorly explained; and shallow characters and implausible plot elements turn it into a shrill exercise.
Author Janet Ruth Young does a nice job depicting the speed and nastiness with which the campaign against Dani spreads and grows, using newspaper accounts, blog posts, and the perspective of different characters. Overall, however, there's little for readers to grab on to. The dramatic interactions are hung on huge developmental pegs -- budding romance, coming out as gay, Dani's diagnosis -- but lack depth. It's an entertaining but ultimately disappointing read.

Book Details

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