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THE BABYSITTER MURDERS by Janet Ruth Young

THE BABYSITTER MURDERS

By Janet Ruth Young

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: July 26th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4169-5944-1
Publisher: Atheneum

Dani adores Alex, so why is she thinking about killing him?

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)