Sunday, July 10, 2011

Review: The Babysitter Murders by Janet Ruth Young

The Babysitter Murders by 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 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 an uncoventional psychiatrist, 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.


The Babysitter Murders was a complex and intriguing look at OCD and the damage it can cause. Dani’s form of OCD was one I hadn’t heard of before and I’m ashamed to say I always think of obsessively washing your hands or checking locks as OCD, when there are even more serious forms of the illness. This was an impressive novel and it opened my eyes to something I knew little to nothing about.

Seventeen year old Dani is haunted by horrifying images and thoughts and she can’t get them out of her head. The most serious of which is she keeps seeing herself killing Alex, the little boy she babysits. And even though Dani adores Alex and would never want to hurt him, she starts to worry that she may actually kill him. The thoughts and visions are soon taking over and Dani is getting more and more worried, so she does the only thing she can think of to keep Alex safe. She confesses that she has been having these thoughts about killing him. Suddenly Dani is the target of extreme haters and groups who think she is a danger to the children of America and needs to be arrested. Dani’s life will never be the same and she is about to face a hard road; both to recovery and convincing the rest of the world that she really isn’t a bad person.

Dani was a character I liked because she was just so…normal. Except of course for the terrifying thoughts that were haunting her and that she couldn’t escape from. I felt for her because the illness she was dealing with must have been so difficult and she handled it in what she felt was the best way possible. Dani never realized how people would react and that once the truth got out, no one would look at her the same way again. Dani honestly was a sweet and caring teenager and she just had a lot to deal with. She did handle it in the best way she could and luckily she had her mom on her side, as well as a great psychiatrist, and the rest of the secondary characters come in to play big time as the story progresses.

This was a very complex and unique story and I was drawn into Dani’s story and rooting for her throughout. She stayed strong and learned a lot about herself and those around her in the process. There were some interesting sub-plots in the story that added to the overall premise and some twists that kept everything moving.

Overall, The Babysitter Murders was a highly original and complex novel that showed how OCD can impact anyone. Dani was a great main character and I only wanted the best for her. Reading about her struggles, confession, and fight to recover was an intense ride and I applaud Ms. Young for tackling such a unique and under-written about subject (particularly in YA). This story may not be for everyone, but I definitely recommend giving it a try. You will certainly take something away from it!

Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

July 26, 2011/Atheneum/304 Pages/Young Adult

Source: Author (ARC)


  1. Sounds like a great complex book. I love books that open our minds to new things and like you I think of the those typical traits of OCD.

    Great review

  2. Ah, your review has convinced me that I should put this one on my list. It sounds fascinating but freaky.

  3. This book sounds SO good. I don't believe I've ever read a book about OCD. Great review!

  4. Well, you've convinced me! The book sounds fantastic and like nothing else I've seen out there. Yay for something truly original! Thanks for the rec!


  5. This book is one I have to read at some point. The premise is just SO crazy awesome. Nice review. You have me excited to go pick it up at some point.

  6. I'd never heard of this book, but ti sounds quite interesting.
    Also, this is my first time visiting and I read that you're a vegetarian. High five on that! I love being veg and take it as a challenge to create great food :]


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