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The Babysitter Murders

3.42  ·  Rating Details ·  283 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews

Everyone has disturbing 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. Then one day she envisions harming him. The images are so gruesome, she can’t get them out of her mind. In fact, Dani’s worried that she might actually kill Alex. So she confesses he

Hardcover, 336 pages
Published July 26th 2011 by Atheneum
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Q: How do you know when you've been reading too many YA paranormals?

Ans: When you read a blurb about a babysitter who's been having disturbing, murderous thoughts, and automatically assume a demon/fallen angel/vampire is telepathically implanting them in her brain!

Yeah, so... no. That's not what this book is about. *embarrassed grin* This is actually a YA contemporary novel about a seventeen year old girl who suddenly finds herself having graphic, disturbingly violent visions of insulting, hurti
Rebecca McNutt
The Babysitter Murders isn't actually a murder mystery or anything. Actually its plot focuses more on a young girl with OCD and her obsessive, disturbing thoughts that make a group of adults question her state of mind. I thought it was a very creative and eye-opening story and I really recommend it.
Melissa (YA Book Shelf)
Jun 26, 2011 Melissa (YA Book Shelf) rated it really liked it
I love books that make me think about real life situations, and The Babysitter Murders is definitely one such book. When people hear information on the news or through their neighbors and friends about someone who committed a crime or possibly even just thought of it, as in the case of Dani Solomon - the main character in this book - we're often quick to judge. We take out the word "alleged" when we speak about it, convicting them before they have a chance to have their day in court. Sometimes p ...more
Aug 15, 2011 Marisa rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya
I wish I liked this book more. I was fairly fascinated by the premise. Dani is an overachieving junior in high school. She's in line to be named as co-captain of the tennis team with her best friend, she's a prominent member of the school's a Capella group, and she babysits four nights a week for a Alex, a five year old boy. Alex's mom is disorganized and Dani often has to buy Alex's dinner with her own money, but she loves him. And Mrs. Alex, a single working mom, really depends on her. Dani's ...more
Rachel Star
Jul 03, 2011 Rachel Star rated it really liked it
The Babysitter Murders is one of the best accounts of mental illness in teenagers that I have read this year, so credit must go to the author for working so hard to accurately present the experiences of Dani; Dani's unusual (or perhaps more accurately, under-publicized) form of OCD was brilliantly captured, in my opinion, and never over-dramatised. She may be one of my favourite protagonists of the year; brave, misunderstood and honest. One of the reasons this novel works so well and I scored it ...more
Kelly Hager
May 15, 2012 Kelly Hager rated it really liked it
Like many teenage girls, Dani earns her money by babysitting. Unlike many teens, though, Dani has started having disturbing thoughts. She thinks of saying really mean things to her best friend and mom and she sometimes pictures hurting people. Worst (and most often) of all, she pictures killing Alex, the little boy she babysits for.

When I say this, I don't mean she thinks of punishing Alex. She imagines taking a knife and stabbing him to death.

She tries to tell people (her mom and best friend,
Amy's Book Reviews
High school junior Dani Solomon has thoughts about hurting the little boy she babysits. She worries she's blurt out that her best friend is lesbian, or that she'll grab her music teacher's crotch. Dani is so worried she'll hurt Alex, when she tries to quit the job she loves, she tells his mother why. Soon the police are involved and Dani, who has never been in trouble a day in her life, becomes a source of rumor, gossip and speculation. And a target for vigilantes.

Jul 18, 2011 Donna rated it it was amazing
For the first seventy pages or so the story actually ambled along a bit slowly for my taste. After my first sitting I was wondering when the story would get to the point. For that first chunk that I read, it was just set-up for Dani but it was really schizophrenic. Not in a character sense but in a story sense. The plot was just all over the place and I was left wondering when it would all come together and I'd get to see something that resembled the blurb.

But not long after that the plot rolled
What do you do when you have horrible, inapproptiate thoughts? Should you tell someone? Should these thoughts be treated as done deeds?

Dani is a very believable character. You know/knew her at your own high school. You knew her friends. You knew her classmates. You've read about rumors on the internet spiralling fast out of control(You may have been wrapped up in such a story.) My only quibble was that after the long build up to the "confession," I think the aftermath went a little too fast. I u
Savannah (Books With Bite)
Jul 14, 2011 Savannah (Books With Bite) rated it really liked it
For me, as I started this book, it was real easy to fall into the story line. We have a teenage girl, who is overwhelmed by a lot of things. So much so, that she starts to over think things and her thoughts. Dani, has bad thought just like everyone. But these thoughts scare her so much that she just freaked herself out.

It is hard for me to write this review cause I am not sure how to get the right words to describe this book. The story line of this book is simple yet filling. The reader sees Da
Grace Lee
Jun 01, 2013 Grace Lee rated it did not like it
More like The Babysitter's Homicidal Thoughts. The title and summary were incredibly intriguing and the book could of had so much potential! I picked this up at the library on an impulse. I know now to come prepared. The novel felt like it was written my a thirteen year old. I couldn't connect with any characters and it was hard to imagine the book's settings. The ending made me wanted go Fahrenheit 451 on the book. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a common mental illness that people should be o ...more
This review was for my blog event Psychtember, so it's formatted a little differently than usual, to reflect the mental health theme. I've structured things as though the book is the patient and I'm giving them an assessment. Each axis is an aspect of the book that I'll give my thoughts on (characters, plot, etc.), and the validity score refers to how psychologically accurate I think the book is, with the final diagnosis being my shooting star rating. The rating still reflects my overall view of ...more
Feb 26, 2011 Ashley rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, blog
Originally reviewed on my blog, Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing.

The Babysitter Murders by Janet Ruth Young is a tough book to read. It's the story of Dani, a young girl who babysits a little boy named Alex, and he is just the cutest thing ever. Alex is such a sweet kid and Dani genuinely loves him and enjoys being a part of his life, even though his mom (who Dani calls Mrs. Alex) takes advantage of Dani and is someone who bothered me from the very beginning of the book. But then some stuff
Kat Alexander
Jun 02, 2011 Kat Alexander rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kat by: Figment review editor, the lovely Ellen
Three and a half stars.

Dani Solomon is the perfect teenager. Star of the tennis team, star of the a cappella group at her school. She's popular enough, and has one best friend she can rely on for everything. She's perfectly responsible, too, babysitting her five-year-old neighbor, Alex, while his mother is out at all hours. Alex is her life. So why is it that she can't shake a mental picture of his death--at her own hands? 

Dani's beginning to think she might be dangerous, and the rest of the tow
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 23, 2011 Jordyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, 2012, issue-books
Dani's been having disturbing thoughts. The seventeen year old girl loves her best friend, her mother, and especially the little boy she babysits (Alex), but lately she's been having thoughts of hurting them -- anything ranging from the most hurtful insults to graphic murder -- and she doesn't know how to stop it. Confessing her unwanted thoughts leads to a media frenzy in her small town as everyone speculates on who the "nanny nutjob" might be and Dani becomes vilified as she tries to simultane ...more
Aug 07, 2010 Kelsey rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, 2011
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
Mar 12, 2011 Emilie added it
Shelves: reviewed
What originally drew me to The Babysitter Murders was the premise. I’ve babysat my fair share of young children and never had thoughts about hurting them in any way or form. So I was really interested to read the story and see how it all played out.

Ever since she heard about a father killing his stepdaughter on the news, Dani has had weird thoughts about hurting people she cares about and loves. Scariest thought of all is the one of killing Alex, the little boy she babysits. No matter what Dani
Oct 01, 2011 cecilia rated it really liked it
Shelves: blue-covers
I have to be honest and say that I was a little nervous about reading The Babysitter Murders – the title alone makes one come to an abrupt stop when browsing the bookshelves. What a daring and startling story that Janet Ruth Young has written! To be sure, The Babysitter Murders still continues to linger in my mind and has changed how I read or watch the news – for the better.

The story concept is unquestionably disturbing as readers get a look inside Dani’s head, but it is obvious that Dani also
Bethany Miller
Sep 14, 2011 Bethany Miller rated it it was ok
Shelves: royal-september
Seventeen-year-old Dani Solomon seems to be the ideal all-American girl. She’s on the tennis team, she sings in her school’s a cappella group, and she has an after school job babysitting for Alex, a little boy whom she adores. Then one day Dani begins having disturbing thoughts about Alex – thoughts that she can’t control. She imagines herself standing over his bed with a knife in her hand. She imagines what he would look like after she stabbed him to death. Though she tries to push these horrib ...more
Dani Solomon is talented, beautiful, and comes from a wealthy family. She is a member of the Hawtones, an a cappella group at her high school, and a star player on the school’s tennis team. She loves the little boy she babysits for, Alex. But Dani has a secret. She has thoughts she can’t control. Thoughts of outing her best friend in public, inappropriate thoughts about those around her, but scariest of all are the realistically disturbing images she sees in her mind of herself murdering little
Anyway, I'm pretty conflicted about this book.

I liked the plot idea, and I think it was executed in a pretty efficient way, but... there are too many things i have problems with.

1. First of all, all of the teenagers sound like naive ten-year-olds. I get that it's a writing style, but seventeen-year-olds in no way talk or sound like ten-year-olds.
2. Every one of the teenagers had the same voice.
3. She recovered way too quickly from her OCD - things don't work like that. At all. No one recovers t
Joséphine (Word Revel)
I could not put this book down. I had to know what would happen next. I wanted to know how Dani would come to deal with her thoughts, if she would be able to overcome them, and how. The chapters were markedly short, so it was easy to fly past the pages.

Aside from just writing from the third-person perspective, J.R. Young also included newspaper articles, opinion pieces, editorials, TV transcripts, blog posts and comments, social networking profiles and conversations from chat rooms. I think this
Aubrey Dykes
May 18, 2012 Aubrey Dykes rated it it was ok
When I first picked up this book & got a good idea as to what it was about, I thought I'd really enjoy it since I usually like reading about psycological problems & such... But I was proved wrong this time. I didn't really care for this book, it was actually hard for me to finish. I felt like it dragged on, & it was unrealistic.

The Babysitter Murders was fun to read at first. It was interesting to see what was going on inside the psycho's head & stuff, but torwards the end, I fou
Shanyn (Chick Loves Lit)
Jul 15, 2011 Shanyn (Chick Loves Lit) rated it it was amazing
The Babysitter Murders is a book I have heard nothing about and wasn't sure I would get to but am so glad that I did. I hadn't even read the synopsis for the book before starting, but for some reason it was calling to me so I decided to give it a try.

The title kind of makes it sound like it could be a gaudy cliche story (think the movie Scream). Or that it could be a gruesome serial killer tale. Fortunately it is neither - it actually deals with mental illness and thoughts that the main characte
Jul 15, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Dani Solomn seems like a normal 17-year old girl, she's a high school student, a babysitter to a cute little boy, Alex, and a popular to boot. Dani isn't all that she seems though she's keeping a dark secret from her friends and loved ones. She keeps having disturbing visions of hurting and even killing people that she cares about the most. The visions are strongest when it comes to Alex, the young boy she babysits for, and the visions are so vivid that she feels she might really do it. She disc ...more
Jul 12, 2011 Tracie rated it liked it
When suddenly stricken with an unusual form of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, 17-year-old Dani Solomon struggles to heal her broken mind amidst a non-supportive community that fails to understand the nature of her mental illness.

As someone who is afflicted with a form of OCD that is extremely similar to the type that Dani contends with, I really related to this book. Parts of it made me cry; parts of it were triggering and scary; but overall, reading this book was very theraputic and comforting.
Jul 10, 2013 Brianna rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, young-adult
Dani Solomon is popular, pretty, great at sports, and her family has money. What more could she need? No one would guess what goes on inside her head. She tries going to her mom and her best friend for help and they just don't understand, and how could they? So Dani goes to the mother of the boy she's been babysitting. The kid she has been having recurring visions of being murdered. By her. When word spreads of her problems the town turns against her and she becomes not only hated, but feared. A ...more
Jun 08, 2011 Katie rated it liked it
First of I have to say, that I expected something entirely different by just reading the title of this book. But never mind. I really liked the structure of the book, which didn’t only consist of long passages, but also rather short blog posts or newspaper articles. Furthermore, I couldn’t really understand the main character Dani Solomon. I mean, who has thoughts of killing the boy, you are babysitting? It was later described in the story, which disorder the protagonist had, but I couldn’t real ...more
Jul 21, 2011 Charlotte rated it really liked it

Admittedly, the topic of this story is very dark. BUT, I think there are a lot of key talking points for teens and their parents. Obviously open lines of communication are critical, but if Dani had been able to REALLY talk to her Mom, everything would have turned out differently. She would have never gone to Alex's mom and the police would not have been involved.

We tend to think of "bad kids" being the loners, the bad students, the anti-social. But this bo
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Janet Ruth Young, who lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts, graduated from Salem State College and from the creative writing program at Boston University. She was a co-editor of the literary magazine stet and a founder of Writers' Circle, the writing workshop at the Cambridge Women's Center. Janet has published three novels with Atheneum Books for Young Readers, a division of Simon & Schuster.

More about Janet Ruth Young...

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“Listen, Sean," Dani says. "I need you to do something. My treatment isn't over yet, and my mom and I still have rough times ahead. We need people we can really rely on. So think about whether you can be that person. If you're going to be into my mother, be really into her.” 4 likes
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