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The Baby-Sitter

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From the minute that Jenny accepts the Hagen baby-sitting job, she knows she has made a terrible mistake. First there is the dark and gloomy Hagen house, filling her with dread and horror. Then the crank phone calls start. When she finds a threatening note in her bag, she realizes that this isn't a harmless game. From the minute that Jenny accepts the Hagen baby-sitting job, she knows she has made a terrible mistake. First there is the dark and gloomy Hagen house, filling her with dread and horror. Then the crank phone calls start. When she finds a threatening note in her bag, she realizes that this isn't a harmless game.


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From the minute that Jenny accepts the Hagen baby-sitting job, she knows she has made a terrible mistake. First there is the dark and gloomy Hagen house, filling her with dread and horror. Then the crank phone calls start. When she finds a threatening note in her bag, she realizes that this isn't a harmless game. From the minute that Jenny accepts the Hagen baby-sitting job, she knows she has made a terrible mistake. First there is the dark and gloomy Hagen house, filling her with dread and horror. Then the crank phone calls start. When she finds a threatening note in her bag, she realizes that this isn't a harmless game.

30 review for The Baby-Sitter

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    Old school fun! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest I recently found out that a whole bunch of old YA books from the 80s and 90s are available for free on Kindle Unlimited. Since I have a Kindle Unlimited subscription, I thought, "Why not revisit some of these old gems and review them as an adult?" R.L. Stine is basically the Stephen King of the grade school set. For kids, he wrote about monsters. For teens, he wrote all kinds of thrillers involving murder. THE BABYSITTER is one of the boo Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest I recently found out that a whole bunch of old YA books from the 80s and 90s are available for free on Kindle Unlimited. Since I have a Kindle Unlimited subscription, I thought, "Why not revisit some of these old gems and review them as an adult?" R.L. Stine is basically the Stephen King of the grade school set. For kids, he wrote about monsters. For teens, he wrote all kinds of thrillers involving murder. THE BABYSITTER is one of the books he did for Scholastic's Point Horror line. It's about a girl named Jenny who gets hired to be a babysitter for an adorable little boy named Donny. But soon she starts getting creepy notes and phone calls from a man who calls her "Babes" and tells her "company's coming." Who is this stranger? And what do they want? Unfortunately, this book wasn't very fun for me because I knew who the bad guy was from the literal beginning. I think I might have actually read this before, but I didn't actually remember this book until a line at the end that made me go, "Oh-- wait." I think part of the problem is that there really aren't that many characters in this book, so the red herring doesn't work. Also, the formatting for this book isn't great. Paragraphs bleed out across multiple lines. There are many typos. Donny's name becomes "Denny" at one point. Oops. It's like when you write your final paper the night before it's due and you're hungover and then you wake up the next morning and realize you did an utterly crap job and also your spacing is all off. That's what this editing is like. R.L. Stine churned these out like machinery so he's much more hit or miss than some of the authors who seemed to put more time in their work. He wrote some really good books, but he also wrote a lot of really terrible ones. Sadly, this is one of the latter and I'm not impressed. P.S. "Jenny Jeffers" might be one of the whitest names I've ever heard. 1.5 to 2 stars

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alejandro

    Cool reading! HAZARDOUS JOBS! It wasn't what I was expecting, since I thought that it would be a slasher story, and instead it resulted in a mystery tale... ...but that wasn't something bad at all! I thought that it would something like the movie, When a Stranger Calls, and since it was my first book of the Point Horror line, I wasn't sure if this one would be bloodier than Goosebumps, but since the book was by R.L. Stine, I think that it was just what I should expect... ...clever, with good Cool reading! HAZARDOUS JOBS! It wasn't what I was expecting, since I thought that it would be a slasher story, and instead it resulted in a mystery tale... ...but that wasn't something bad at all! I thought that it would something like the movie, When a Stranger Calls, and since it was my first book of the Point Horror line, I wasn't sure if this one would be bloodier than Goosebumps, but since the book was by R.L. Stine, I think that it was just what I should expect... ...clever, with good ambiance and one heck of entertaining! Sometimes, readers are unfair with books (or a book series) since some of them have a clear style, and it you take this book expecting to be something like It or The Shinning, and later they gave it a negative rating, well, I think that it's unfair, since maybe the book isn't that bad, it was just that they picked the wrong book for their particular interest on reading in that moment. For me, this was a very good reading, since I was looking for something quick to read and with good narrative... ...and kept me guessing who was the villain, and even fooled me! So, it was just what I was looking for, even if it wasn't exactly what I thought first. So, if you decide to take such hazardous job like baby-sitting (at least, you can bet that in a novel, TV series or movie, it won't be a simple work!), follow the rules... ...lock the doors. ...don't invite friends over (even less boy/girl/friends!) ...don't answer the phone!!! Bwa-ha-ha-ha!!!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    La historia de Jenny es algo que a pesar de que pasen los años, se siente real, porque es algo que sigue pasando y nos deja un poco incrédulos, en primera porque imaginar que algo así te pudiera suceder es algo aterrador, y en segunda porque es un suceso que sigue y seguirá pasando. Los acosadores existen y recibir una llamada del mismo número, y que siempre te diga lo mismo enserio que me pondría los pelos de punta. Una de las mejores historia de R.L. Stine, que se divide en cuatro partes, pero q La historia de Jenny es algo que a pesar de que pasen los años, se siente real, porque es algo que sigue pasando y nos deja un poco incrédulos, en primera porque imaginar que algo así te pudiera suceder es algo aterrador, y en segunda porque es un suceso que sigue y seguirá pasando. Los acosadores existen y recibir una llamada del mismo número, y que siempre te diga lo mismo enserio que me pondría los pelos de punta. Una de las mejores historia de R.L. Stine, que se divide en cuatro partes, pero que en realidad se cuenta casi por completo en esta entrega. ¿Qué harías si en medio de la noche, en una casa desconocida el teléfono sonara a la misma hora, y una voz extraña te dijera que te está observando y muy pronto ya no estarás sola? Lo sé, suena aterrador.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Schizanthus Nerd

    Welcome to my horror gateway book. It turns out I was an even bigger scaredy-cat as a kid than I thought I was. This book absolutely terrified me, so much so that when the phone rang at night for months afterwards I’d hear in my head, “Company’s coming.” If you’re unfamiliar with this book, here are the basics. Jenny has a new babysitting gig for a family she’s only just met. Their house should be featured on a renovation show. The kid Jenny is babysitting, who looks angelic, has interests tha Welcome to my horror gateway book. It turns out I was an even bigger scaredy-cat as a kid than I thought I was. This book absolutely terrified me, so much so that when the phone rang at night for months afterwards I’d hear in my head, “Company’s coming.” If you’re unfamiliar with this book, here are the basics. Jenny has a new babysitting gig for a family she’s only just met. Their house should be featured on a renovation show. The kid Jenny is babysitting, who looks angelic, has interests that range from watching Ghostbusters (awesome choice, kid!) to scaring the babysitter. There’s a weird neighbour hanging around, threatening phone calls and a babysitter with a big imagination who is fearing the worst. Oh, and let’s not forget the newspaper headline … THIRD BABYSITTER ATTACK HAS POLICE ON ALERT. This read was a fun trip down memory lane but the things that scared me as a child seem silly now. I could have sworn that Jenny answered at least another dozen creepy phone calls and I don’t remember it being so obvious who the big bad was. Note to my kid self: When you’re only introduced to a few male characters, it kinda narrows the field of potential male baddies. I think as a kid I assumed the bad guy was going to be a stranger, because it was the 80’s and we were Stranger Danger all the way. It never occurred to me that you could actually know a villain so R.L. Stine probably didn’t even need to include any red herrings to fool me. Jenny, who I can only assume failed Horror 101, does what all good potential victims do when they hear a strange noise in the house. “Who’s there?” For most of the book Jenny lets her imagination run wild, gets scared and second guesses pretty much everything. She waits for the final act, when she probably should be paying attention, to let her guard down. 80’s Nostalgia Bonus Points 🎧 Jenny has a Walkman. Cassettes … Those were the days. I loved my Walkman so much, even after I learned that other people could hear me sing while I was using it. ⏰ Laura, Jenny’s friend, wears a Swatch, one of the coolest accessories of my childhood. 📸 Flashcubes are mentioned in a description. I haven’t thought of those in years. It could be my memory deceiving me but I’m almost positive I got a minor burn from one of those. I probably should apologise to you in advance. There are three more books in this series, I own them all and I just realised that Jenny is in every single one of them. I wonder if she invests in an answering machine. Please don’t tell me she thinks it’s a good idea to babysit again! “Hello? Anyone there?” Blog - https://schizanthusnerd.com

  6. 5 out of 5

    Latasha

    Jenny finds Donny Hagen about to fall in the water fountain at the mall. Mom & Dad no where in sight. When they do finally find Donny & Jenny hanging out, they offer her a babysitting job. No questions ask. Also, babysitters have been getting attacked. But Jenny takes the job. Almost immediately she starts getting threatening calls, encounters a weird neighbor and spaced out like you would never believe. There’s no way I’d trust spacey Jenny to watch a child. She only makes 1 smart decision in t Jenny finds Donny Hagen about to fall in the water fountain at the mall. Mom & Dad no where in sight. When they do finally find Donny & Jenny hanging out, they offer her a babysitting job. No questions ask. Also, babysitters have been getting attacked. But Jenny takes the job. Almost immediately she starts getting threatening calls, encounters a weird neighbor and spaced out like you would never believe. There’s no way I’d trust spacey Jenny to watch a child. She only makes 1 smart decision in the whole book. She annoyed so much that’s why I gave this only 2 stars.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ken

    Jenny starts her new job babysitting Donny, but with a Babysitter attacker being reported in the news it makes her even more nervous on her first day. Stine really has fun with the jump scares here, most of the cliffhangers are weakly resolved - but that’s the fun part with these books. All the classic tropes are used with creepy anonymous phone calls, a cat jumping out at Jenny and the obnoxious young boy. I really enjoyed revisiting this one.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Obsidian

    Woo boy this was bad. I think that you of course have to allow for it to be written in the times it was (1989) but there's a lot of boys will be boys mess going on here. I didn't like the love interest for the main character because he was a jerk and was doing a great job of gaslighting her. The main plot (babysitters being attacked) is kind of ignored and the book jumps around a lot. Also the police in this book should have been hit with a lawsuit. The book kind of limped to an ending and I hop Woo boy this was bad. I think that you of course have to allow for it to be written in the times it was (1989) but there's a lot of boys will be boys mess going on here. I didn't like the love interest for the main character because he was a jerk and was doing a great job of gaslighting her. The main plot (babysitters being attacked) is kind of ignored and the book jumps around a lot. Also the police in this book should have been hit with a lawsuit. The book kind of limped to an ending and I hope that means that Jenny has kicked her terrible love interest to the curb. "The Baby-Sitter" follows teen Jenny. Jenny has agreed to babysit for the Hagens and watch their son Donny. Jenny runs into them at the mall and after saving Donny (whose name changes a couple of times in the book) they decide she will make a great baby-sitter. Jenny is nervous about the job, though she and her mom need the money. The town has had a spurt of baby-sitters being attacked and Jenny starts to worry she's next when she keeps getting creepy phone calls and finding a mysterious neighbor hanging around. Jenny also is trying to work through whether she has feelings for a new boy named Chuck. FYI, Chuck sucks. I think the best part of the book is when Jenny is decisive. Stine just makes her too wish-washy after a while. I think there are moments when Jenny realizes Chuck is BS and the whole thing is wrong, and then she just excuses things he keeps doing. Started to make me grit my teeth anytime he was in a scene. That said, there's not much development for any characters here. We hear that Jenny has a hard time saying yes to things. Chuck is the class clown (he's an ass). Jenny's best friend is short and cute and everyone loves her. There's some implied shaming going on there with her too. The Hagens were a mess and the kid Donny made me check that I still have a hearty supply of birth control in my bedside table. The writing was so-so. The flow didn't work at all. The chapters just ended at times or it felt like we got dumped into a scene that wasn't set up properly. This was via my Kindle and there were probably not enough page breaks going on. I also caught a lot of typos that were distracting after a while. The ending felt like it came out of nowhere. But honestly you only have like 4 suspects in this one, so I just kind of shrugged about it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tyler J Gray

    1.75 Jenny was very annoying and I wouldn't trust her to watch a kid. Constantly imaging things that aren't there and panicking at every little thing. She also made no sense, like sure, let's make out with the guy we think is stalking us. That makes perfect sense! I liked Chuck (after awhile anyway at first he was obnoxious and couldn't understand when to quit), he was kind of adorable being shy and a class clown to cover up the shy-ness. The thing with Willers at the end also kind of bugged me b 1.75 Jenny was very annoying and I wouldn't trust her to watch a kid. Constantly imaging things that aren't there and panicking at every little thing. She also made no sense, like sure, let's make out with the guy we think is stalking us. That makes perfect sense! I liked Chuck (after awhile anyway at first he was obnoxious and couldn't understand when to quit), he was kind of adorable being shy and a class clown to cover up the shy-ness. The thing with Willers at the end also kind of bugged me but I can't say why for spoilers. And it was very predictable.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sanara♥

    1.75/5 stars. I did not like the female lead at all. She just panics for every single thing, even before she gets the creepy phone calls. Also who in this world kisses someone who they think is stalking and trying to scare them?? O.o Makes no sense. The story is messy and overall not realistic, but still it was bearable since it's a quick read. 1.75/5 stars. I did not like the female lead at all. She just panics for every single thing, even before she gets the creepy phone calls. Also who in this world kisses someone who they think is stalking and trying to scare them?? O.o Makes no sense. The story is messy and overall not realistic, but still it was bearable since it's a quick read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chantal

    This book scores on the tension building. It took the last few pages for me to find out who it was. The other side is that it feels rushed and could have been longer. Still a great read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Paula Brandon

    This has got to be the most famous of the Point Horror titles, and I'm amazed it hasn't been made into a movie yet. Come on, at least even a made-for-TV movie! Stine creates a likable lead in Jenny Jeffers, who starts a babysitting job around the same time as babysitters are being attacked. A lot of the scares Jenny creates for herself, as she has an overactive imagination. But there is a strange neighbour creeping around, and she is receiving scary phone calls (which are really quite sinister). This has got to be the most famous of the Point Horror titles, and I'm amazed it hasn't been made into a movie yet. Come on, at least even a made-for-TV movie! Stine creates a likable lead in Jenny Jeffers, who starts a babysitting job around the same time as babysitters are being attacked. A lot of the scares Jenny creates for herself, as she has an overactive imagination. But there is a strange neighbour creeping around, and she is receiving scary phone calls (which are really quite sinister). Stine doesn't waste any words on unnecessary extraneous details as the suspense builds slowly but surely to a tense climax, making this still today one of the best YA psychological thrillers out there.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    I found the books in this mini-series for cheap at Half Price and decided to read them now that I have all of them. This was just an 'ok' R.L. Stine book. It was creepy, but nowhere near the best I've read. I actually liked the cast of characters. Jenny was a fun main character and I liked how she was always so paranoid about things going on. It reminded me of myself, since I have an overactive imagination. The little boy Donny that she babysat was meh. He got on my nerves a bit and made me reme I found the books in this mini-series for cheap at Half Price and decided to read them now that I have all of them. This was just an 'ok' R.L. Stine book. It was creepy, but nowhere near the best I've read. I actually liked the cast of characters. Jenny was a fun main character and I liked how she was always so paranoid about things going on. It reminded me of myself, since I have an overactive imagination. The little boy Donny that she babysat was meh. He got on my nerves a bit and made me remember why I never wanted to watch other people's kids. I had a love-hate relationship with Chuck. At times, he was cute and I felt bad that Jenny was being mean and rejecting him. Then, there were times where I wanted to punch him in the face for being obnoxious and I didn't blame Jenny for getting irritated at him. The buildup of suspense with the creepy phonecalls and stuff was really good, but the ending was what killed it for me. I just didn't like it much and I felt kind of let down. I wish that there would have been more of an explanation about (view spoiler)[The Hagans backstory, what exactly happened to their baby (hide spoiler)] . I finished reading the last page, and I was like, 'Really? That's it?'. I also couldn't believe that (view spoiler)[Mrs. Hagan knew her husband was unstable and beat their last babysitter to a bloody pulp, yet she still thinks it's ok for him to be driving Jenny home (hide spoiler)] .

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tasha Ní Mhiacháin

    This is such a throwback read. I remember I used to read these books, while babysitting. I'd get so worked up and freaked out I'd practically run home.. I never said I was a smart teenager! 😂 I love that Stine makes everyone look shady as feck, aside from the person who ends up being the bad guy. This is such a throwback read. I remember I used to read these books, while babysitting. I'd get so worked up and freaked out I'd practically run home.. I never said I was a smart teenager! 😂 I love that Stine makes everyone look shady as feck, aside from the person who ends up being the bad guy.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    1.5 stars, upped to 2 for a couple of creepy moments. This chick was the worst babysitter ever. There's no way she'd get a job looking after my kids, or anything of mine actually. And if my kid behaved the way this little 'adorable angel' does, he'd be going to bed with a sore bum! Too many plot inconsistencies and unrealistic decisions by the characters. far from being his best. 1.5 stars, upped to 2 for a couple of creepy moments. This chick was the worst babysitter ever. There's no way she'd get a job looking after my kids, or anything of mine actually. And if my kid behaved the way this little 'adorable angel' does, he'd be going to bed with a sore bum! Too many plot inconsistencies and unrealistic decisions by the characters. far from being his best.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gemma

    It's been over 20 years since I read this. It was a nice blast from the past re reading it, the tension building was as good as I remember. I think this might encourage me to revisit more books it the point horror series. The amount of errors in the text on the kindle version made for a frustrating read though. It's been over 20 years since I read this. It was a nice blast from the past re reading it, the tension building was as good as I remember. I think this might encourage me to revisit more books it the point horror series. The amount of errors in the text on the kindle version made for a frustrating read though.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    I used to love these books and I was so excited to find this at a used book store and take a walk down memory lane. Unfortunately, all I could think was "who in the world can afford a babysitter twice a week?" I used to love these books and I was so excited to find this at a used book store and take a walk down memory lane. Unfortunately, all I could think was "who in the world can afford a babysitter twice a week?"

  18. 5 out of 5

    McCaid Paul

    Yep. Just as creepy as I remembered.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Diego Sanchez

    Si lo que buscas es un libro corto que te ayude a despejar tu mente, éste es la mejor opción. Mi opinión con los libros de R.L. Stine sigue siendo que son predecibles, pero no por eso dejan de ser buenos. En esta historia, nos encontramos con "la canguro" o "niñera", la cual es una chica que, aunque por un motivo sumamente raro, acepta cuidar de un niño que se encuentra perdido en el centro comercial. La chica desde un principio se muestra perdida, asustada y con miedo a que algo le suceda, por l Si lo que buscas es un libro corto que te ayude a despejar tu mente, éste es la mejor opción. Mi opinión con los libros de R.L. Stine sigue siendo que son predecibles, pero no por eso dejan de ser buenos. En esta historia, nos encontramos con "la canguro" o "niñera", la cual es una chica que, aunque por un motivo sumamente raro, acepta cuidar de un niño que se encuentra perdido en el centro comercial. La chica desde un principio se muestra perdida, asustada y con miedo a que algo le suceda, por lo cual ya sabemos que todo estará mal. A eso debemos sumarle que en la ciudad se han estado cometiendo asesinatos con las niñeras, que por lógica, nuestra protagonista también podría ser víctima de ello. Es así como vamos descubriendo una situación de tensión y ganas de escapar, después de raros actos que comienzan a suceder en casa, así como secretos y acciones que salen a la luz. Se presentan diferentes personajes, todos para que jueguen con el factor de "quizá sea este o éste", pero si eres fan del género y sabes cómo distinguir, te darás cuenta rápidamente de a quién debes estar observando y el porqué de las cosas. Aquí debemos agregar que el niño al que se cuida tiene papeles fundamentales, pues debo admitir que a veces él me daba más miedo que las mismas situaciones en sí. Debo a que se sitúa en épocas pasadas, se puede encontrar rápidamente referencias en cuanto a la vestimenta, forma de hablar y lo que en aquél entonces, se consideraba como una leyenda urbana popular, que era la de “el asesino de canguros”. La historia me gustó bastante, no tiene 5 estrellas debido a que es predecible. Tiene algunos clichés, pero no son obsesivos y el peso de la trama se pone cada vez mejor. Recomendable, siempre y cuando no lo mires con ojos de ser demasiado crítico.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tania (Real-Listen-Feel)

    3.5 stars Chronique à venir...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty

    It's the O.G. R.L.! Just re-read this for Episode 9 of the Teenage Scream podcast (lovingly dissecting the best and worst of 90s teen horror). Listen here, or subscribe on your podcast app: https://soundcloud.com/teenagescream It's the O.G. R.L.! Just re-read this for Episode 9 of the Teenage Scream podcast (lovingly dissecting the best and worst of 90s teen horror). Listen here, or subscribe on your podcast app: https://soundcloud.com/teenagescream

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jules

    I read quite of a few of the Point Horror books during my early teens, and really enjoyed them.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kris - My Novelesque Life

    RATING: 4.5 STARS Will be rereading and will review at that time.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Elisabeth

    i could not put this book down. from begining to end it kept me hooked. i couldnt wait to see what would happen to the main characters. its as if their fears were my fears!

  25. 4 out of 5

    La Nécropolivre

    Je réalise qu'il faut avoir lu ces livres lorsqu'on était enfant pour pouvoir les trouver tolérable adulte. C'est d'une niaiserie sans borne pour le lecteur non-nostalgique. Ceci dit, c'est de l'ordre du tellement-mauvais-que-ça-devient-bon, alors j'ai quand même eu un peu de fun Je réalise qu'il faut avoir lu ces livres lorsqu'on était enfant pour pouvoir les trouver tolérable adulte. C'est d'une niaiserie sans borne pour le lecteur non-nostalgique. Ceci dit, c'est de l'ordre du tellement-mauvais-que-ça-devient-bon, alors j'ai quand même eu un peu de fun

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    The kindle version of this book is the worst edited book in history!! This version changes the kids name from Donny- to Denny- to Donna- continually throughout the book. At first I thought it was an intentional, not-so-subtle, hint, but it is not. Just terrible!!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Vicki

    Hahaha oh man.. just re-visiting my old R.L Stine books. This one is much worse than I remember. Still fun for nostalgic purposes. 2.5 stars!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sati Marie Frost

    One-Line Review: Don’t trust adults. Full Review: This is one of the books that I always think of as the flagship stories for Point Horror. It is perhaps the most famous of the PH titles. It's an odd book for me - in my head it's long and epic, and when I start reading I'm surprised at how quickly it goes by. Jenny's just started a new babysitting job, for an adorable, if overly mischievous, kid. The house is a creepy old mansion, but she adores the child. Then she starts getting phone calls - "Hi One-Line Review: Don’t trust adults. Full Review: This is one of the books that I always think of as the flagship stories for Point Horror. It is perhaps the most famous of the PH titles. It's an odd book for me - in my head it's long and epic, and when I start reading I'm surprised at how quickly it goes by. Jenny's just started a new babysitting job, for an adorable, if overly mischievous, kid. The house is a creepy old mansion, but she adores the child. Then she starts getting phone calls - "Hi Babes. Are you all alone? Don't worry, company's coming..." I've never found this series of books particularly scary, but more comfortable in a sort of middle-America way. Aside from a couple of startling places, the horror doesn't really begin until the last fifteen or twenty pages. I think that's what I liked about it, really - phone calls (which could have been pranks) aside, this book could easily have ended differently, with nothing being wrong at all. It's more psychological thriller than horror, and that's a nice change. I appreciate the subtlety - particularly considering this is coming from R.L. Stine, who is often too graphic for my tastes. Jenny is an appealing character, as is Donny Hagen, her babysitting charge. The rest of the characters are basically non-entities, only there to interact with Jenny. The plot is simple, straightforward, and works well. It's not a 4-star for me, but certainly a high 3, for a quick, fun read. Verdict: A simply-written psychological thriller that makes a quick, pleasant read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Teenager Jenny Jeffers has just found herself a new job, a twice-a-week evening gig sitting for the Hagans after a chance encounter at the local mall. It's just what she needs: autumn's arrived, the weather's turning nasty so outdoor activities are pretty much out, and she can use the money she earns to help her mother with the bills. It doesn't hurt that little Donny is fun to be around and cute as a button. "Hi, Babes." Not everything is ideal though. For one thing, the Hagans have just bought a Teenager Jenny Jeffers has just found herself a new job, a twice-a-week evening gig sitting for the Hagans after a chance encounter at the local mall. It's just what she needs: autumn's arrived, the weather's turning nasty so outdoor activities are pretty much out, and she can use the money she earns to help her mother with the bills. It doesn't hurt that little Donny is fun to be around and cute as a button. "Hi, Babes." Not everything is ideal though. For one thing, the Hagans have just bought an old home on the far side of town, meaning a long bus ride for Jenny to get out there, and an equally long car ride home from Mr. Hagan every night when they get home. The family's working on renovating the place, but they're far from finished, leaving much of the house creepy, creaky, and darker than Jenny might like. "Are you all alone?" Jenny's always had an overactive imagination, and it's gotten her into trouble in the past, but when the phone calls start, not even she can deny something weird is going on. Who's the mysterious caller who seems to know her every move, who phones her up after Donny's in bed to taunt her in a sinister, raspy whisper. "Are you all alone in that big old house?" Jenny's new crush Chuck is quite the practical joker, and he knows her schedule, but he swears it's not him. The Hagans' creepy next door neighbor has certainly been keeping an eye on the place, but every time Jenny confronts him, he tells her he's just watching for prowlers. Is Jenny's over-active imagination working overtime to entertain a harmless telephone prankster as the police suspect, or has she caught the attention of the same maniac who's been attacking babysitters all over town? "Well, don't worry, Babes. Company's coming." The Hagans always tell Jenny to keep the windows shut, the curtains closed, and the doors locked, but not even that will keep her safe when her would-be company shows up as promised. * * * * * 'The Babysitter' is simple, easy-to-read escapist fiction. As part of Scholastic's Point Horror series, it's aimed at the teen and young adult crowd of the late 80's and early 90's. Modern-day readers may struggle with the lack of caller ID, absence of cellular phones, and needing the operator to connect one to the local police department, but if the reader can overlook this, it's an enjoyable enough story written eight years before Scream had audiences deciding to just let the calls go to voice mail. (Personal confession: though his voice is described as a raspy whisper, I couldn't help but read each of Jenny's prank caller's lines in Roger Jackson's perfectly creepy over-the-phone voice from Scream...what can I say, I'm a 90's kid.) Stine's plots are never terribly complex, and this one's just as straightforward as normal. It relies a bit too much on a couple of bone-headed decisions by the main character to build tension, and while Jenny at least has the sense to contact the police once things start escalating, the cops also refer her to a different department and dismiss her concerns by telling her that people who make prank calls very rarely follow through with the threat. This despite Jenny being a babysitter in a town where someone stalking babysitters has made it into the newspaper after multiple assaults on young women. You'd think they could at least send out a patrol car or something. Jenny's also hesitant to tell her mom about the harassing calls, which isn't terribly realistic behavior, no matter how much Stine tries to justify it by having Jenny worry her mom will think she's making a mountain out of a molehill again. Looked at critically, Jenny's a terrible protagonist since the entire story revolves around things happening to her instead of her trying to take charge, but I can also excuse this since she's likely used to the adults in her life handling the heavy lifting, and she's completely out of her element at the Hagans' place. What I have a much more difficult time excusing is that Jenny's mother talks her into keeping her job at the Hagans' house even after all the harassing phone calls. I get that money's tight, but damn, that's heartless. I took on the occasional babysitting job as a teen myself, but I know for a fact if I'd brought up any concerns I had with the jobs to my mom, she'd have been on the phone to the parents and they'd work together to come up with a plan or resolve the issue. Jenny's mother, on the other hand, is about as hands-off as you can get when it comes to her daughter's problem. True to life? Maybe? I guess there are parents like that, but it's not my experience. One thing Stine's particularly good at is leaving the reader with enough options that it's hard to pin down the person responsible, but a careful reader will suss out the phantom phone caller after one key piece of evidence is revealed a little more than halfway through the story. Once you figure it out, it's just a matter of following the story to its natural conclusion, although it's a conclusion that leads to one enormous problem I had once the stalker is revealed and dealt with. Discussing it would lead to a pretty serious spoiler, but chances are you'll have the same question I did about one character in particular and that character's actions given their knowledge of the situation. I recognize that I'm reading this as an adult though, and I doubt it's something my teenage brain would have caught or bothered with, so I can't hold it against the story too much. Overall, I'm content to give 'The Babysitter' three out of five stars. There's nothing technically wrong with it, and it's a quick read that does what it sets out to do. Though the ending doesn't seem very open-ended, Stine somehow figured out a way to get three sequels out of this idea, and I'm curious enough to see how he handles it that I've gone ahead and picked up books two and three. Not a bad first book finished for 2018, all things considered. Best scene: Jenny arrives at the Hagans' house one evening to discover Donny's all hyped up to watch the video mom and dad rented for him. What, I hear you ask, did Mr. and Mrs. Hagan bring home for their precocious little son? Surely it was Transformers, or E.T., or The Goonies, something like that, right? Nope. Jenny and Donny settle in to watch freakin' Poltergeist. Wait, what?! I know it got a PG rating, but who lets their six year old kid watch a movie about an old house built on a Native American burial ground that sucks family members into hellish alternate dimensions via the TV? R.L. Stine's finest parenting tips, ladies and gentlemen: traumatize 'em when they're young, and they stay yours forever! Shut up. I laughed.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Zi Lin Li

    Scared to Death The Babysitter Scholastic, 1989, pg 167, $5.99 R.L. Stine ISBN: 0439992494 Ever have you imagine being a babysitter could change your life? Not all babysitters are happy about their job. Jenny, a normal high school student, was accepted to a babysitting job. Jenny thought that babysitting was not hard, but she was wrong. It changed her life. The Babysitter, the name of this book, is written by R. L. Stine. R. L. Stine is one of the famous writers that wrote Goose Scared to Death The Babysitter Scholastic, 1989, pg 167, $5.99 R.L. Stine ISBN: 0439992494 Ever have you imagine being a babysitter could change your life? Not all babysitters are happy about their job. Jenny, a normal high school student, was accepted to a babysitting job. Jenny thought that babysitting was not hard, but she was wrong. It changed her life. The Babysitter, the name of this book, is written by R. L. Stine. R. L. Stine is one of the famous writers that wrote Goosebumps. His writing contains lots of scary events and characters. On Jenny’s first day of babysitting Danny, she receives lots of weird phone calls that were scary. She felt scared and she wanted to know who is all behind this prank. Day after day of babysitting, Jenny kept on receiving the strange phone calls again and again. Will this mysterious person show it’s true identity to Jenny or scares her to death? Jenny is a courageous person. Even though the phone calls are still hunting her, Jenny shows her courage that she wants to keep her babysitting job and find that person who is behind all of it. When I read this book, I couldn't keep on eyes off it. It was so interesting that I finish reading the whole book during one day. It was amazing and the suspense was wonderful. I recommend this book to teenagers that are 12 and older and also someone that likes mysteries and suspense. Read this book and I bet you that you won’t be able to put the book down afterwards.

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