News that YouTube star and fan-fiction hero Collin Prince will be a special guest at a comic convention sends Hailey, 13, and her three besties scrambling to finance a trip to Comicpalooza.
Hailey’s stepsister, Ginny, agrees to drive them, provided they can pay their way—a high hurdle for young teens whose only marketable skill is babysitting—but they’re up to the challenge. In order to beat out older, established babysitters, such as Ginny and her friends, the girls seek a competitive advantage, marketing their services as princesses. They’ll show up in costume and enthrall the small fry with scripted entertainment. Transforming thrift-store finds into royal wear is a breeze thanks to the girls’ cosplay experience. To reach a broader demographic (boys), they add a second category: pirates. Success quickly follows, but there’s a downside. Between daily babysitting gigs, Hailey must find time to write fan fiction and her entry for the Comicpalooza writing contest. PlayStation sessions with Brody—without whose intervention her first gig would have ended in disaster—are a must. Something’s got to give—for the princesses, it’s homework, softball, family time, and sleep. Babysitting snafus cause cute mayhem and easily solved problems. On the cover, white girls confront their redheaded charges. While product placement’s specific, race and culture remain generic: name and dark hair aside, Kalani’s culturally identical to her lighter-haired pals.
Lightweight, disposable fun. (Fiction. 9-12)