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Kristy and the Secret of Susan (The Baby-Sitters Club #32)

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  1,601 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
Kristy's newest baby-sitting charge is Susan Felder, who goes away to a special school. Susan isn't like most kids. While she can play the piano and sing beautifully... she can't talk to anyone. Susan is autistic. She lives locked inside her own secret world.

Kristy thinks it's unfair that Susan has to be sent off to school and is treated differently from everyone else. But
Paperback, 145 pages
Published 1996 by Scholastic (first published February 1st 1990)
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Aug 14, 2010 rated it did not like it
i was not looking forward to reading this book again, & it was actually even worse that i remembered. this is the one where kristy gets a month-long regular sitting job watching susan felder, an eight-year-old autistic girl who lives around the corner from claudia. the club has never sat for susan before because she attends a special school, a boarding school, where her developmental issues can be professionally addressed. but she's home for a little while in this book, awaiting transfer to ...more
Dec 17, 2015 rated it liked it
this is my first time reading this book!

kristy starts a regular baby-sitting job with susan felder, a low-functioning autistic girl who is home from her specialized (boarding) school before starting at a new specialized (boarding) school. kristy doesn't know anything about autism -- she thinks she can get susan to make friends, and she thinks she can get her parents to keep her at home and send her to the public schools' special ed programs. meanwhile, the hobart family moves into the spiers' ol
I couldn't sleep last night, and I couldn't concentrate on any books or podcasts, so I decided to download a BSC book to my Kindle to pass the time.

I owned this book as a kid, I think it was the only BSC book in our house that was actually mine, and I remember really liking it....probably my second favorite, right after Claudia and the New Girl. It is primarily about Susan, a child with autism who Kristy starts babysitting. It is also the book where the Hobarts (the red headed Australians) appea
Jul 17, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: autism
Kristy and the Secret of Susan is Ann M. Martin's way of educating young readers about autism. When I read this in late elementary or early middle school, I didn't consider the way Martin went about educating her readers about the characteristics of autism. I thought it was simply a good book for teens.

As an adult with greater knowledge of autism, Asperger's syndrome, and other disorders on the spectrum, I realize the way Martin portrayed Susan is incorrect. She gave Susan every possible trait
Maria Elmvang
I remember when I first read this I was so disappointed that Kristy didn't solve everything as usual. Now that I'm rereading it, I'm glad she didn't, as it just wouldn't have been realistic. As it is, it's heartbreaking.
Dec 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Kristy baby sits an autistic girl named Susan, and becomes determined to "fix" her. I read this book when I was about ten, and thought it was really boring, but it actually gave a lot of good information about autism that helped me later in life.

Things I remember from reading this as a kid:
Very little. I remember that Susan was amazing with dates, and music, and that some jerk tried to make money off her as a sideshow, like in a circus. I also remember reading the whole book, and still being ver
Feb 21, 2013 rated it did not like it

The handling of autisum in this book is what really makes it show its age. You can tell it was written before doctors and other people knew about the spectrum. Susan, the autistic kid, is portrayed as totally mute and lost in her own little world, clicking her tongue and flapping her hands and her mother having to yell just to get her attention. At one point she even wets herself in public because she's so unable to function outside her home.

Susan's mother and Kristy's thoughts outline that Susa
Alys Marchand
Apr 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
This is one of the most offensive BSC books, and it's one Ann herself wrote. Ann claims to have worked with autistic children, but I have a hard time believing that. Kristy's actions get a pass only because Ann thought Susan's treatment was appropriate. I'm raising an autistic child, so have a few things to say.

The Felders, a couple who are long-time Stoneybrook residents, bring their daughter home from an institution for a while. No one even remembered they had a daughter since she was thrown
Feb 22, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cliquey-pizza
One of my least favorite BSC books , fortunately it's a slim read. Ann M Martin attempts to tackle the issue of autism - but sabotages the seriousness of this by going the Hollywood route and making the child savant as well. Think Rain Man. Susan is a pianist who is able to play anything, even after only hearing it once. She is also described as being very beautiful. Kristy is given the job of babysitting her , and swells with self-righteous indignation that this girl is somehow being short chan ...more
This book bothered me a lot as a kid, and it still bothers me now as an adult. First, and I know it was the 80s/early 90s, but the use of the word retarded more than once just grates on me. People say it, yes. I've said it once or twice and I'm not proud of that fact. Still, come on. It just felt so...unnecessarily redundant in this. Especially when Kristy associates retarded with the Downs Syndrome kids at the school assembly. Oi. Vey.

Kristy's insistence in this one just crossed a line. She cou
Aug 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
This whole series is great for girls between 11-15 years old. I read every last one of them as I was growing up.
While the other baby-sitters have lives, Kristy is always all about the kiddos. Here it's no different, except she's dealing with an autistic kiddo.
Jul 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read this once, and didn't understand it..But now I reread it, and I feel smphyathy(?) for Susan and her mother..I know kids w/ disorders like that.
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
This was actually a really sweet story, a good lesson in how to always treat people kindly even if they are slightly different to you and also that even though you may want to help and make someone better it isn’t always possible.

In this book Kristy gets a new client Susan and 8 year old girl, but she isn’t just any client the Susan is autistic and unresponsive, she doesn’t understand why her parents have to send her away and wants to do everything she can to keep her there, to have her in mains
Marissa McHugh
May 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
I thought the story was really sad when I read it as a kid and that was before I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. It made Autism sound really depressing. I know now that not all aspects of Autism are sad, but I guess back then even before I knew I was on the spectrum it hit me in the feels. I wouldn't recommend someone on the spectrum read this book because it could be very upsetting. The R word is used a lot and it was published in 1990 so they didn't know about the spectrum yet.
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the book that introduced me to autism, and I remember feeling very much like Kristy at that time. I wanted to understand and find ways to make it better for Susan, but there's only so much one can do. Touching and eye-opening.

I loved the BSC growing up, and have decided to re-read (or read for the first time) some of the books in the series. Which of the members are you? :)
Apr 09, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Hasn’t stood up to the test of time

This book doesn’t deal with the needs of a special needs child in a way that I feel comfortable with today, 28 years or so after being published.
Mar 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
I absolutely did not like this book. first of all, it can confuse readers by adding the very rare ''savant'' part of autism into this book, making young readers think that always happens. there are many issues with this book.
Logan Hughes
Sep 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: babysitters-club
Kristy baby-sits for a girl with severe autism.

Eight-year-old Susan Felder can play piano and memorize dates, but she has no ability to interact with other human beings socially. She's nonverbal and appears uninterested in other people. Kristy thinks it's unfair that Susan lives away at a special school most of the time, and she has big plans, in typical Kristy style, for helping Susan integrate into the special ed class at her school. But she gradually comes to realize that Susan needs more he
Julie Decker
Jul 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
Kristy's new babysitting charge is autistic savant Susan, who can play the piano and memorize dates but doesn't speak or have typical social relationships. Kristy is livid that Susan's parents have been sending her away to special autistic schools, because she thinks they must believe their daughter is a burden, but when Kristy's attempts to push Susan into "making friends" go awry, she learns more about appropriate ways of interacting with non-neurotypical children.

First, it's frustrating that
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
The "Secret" of Susan is that she is an autistic kid. One of my pet peeves is unleashed here: of course, you can't be autistic in fiction without being a savant. So Susan has music superpowers and date-memorization superpowers. Kristy gets to sit for her and gets all ticked off that her parents have been sending her away to a special school, and gets all self-righteous about how she thinks they are just shipping her off so they don't have to deal with her. What I don't understand is why she assu ...more
What a coincidence, I am currently watching ATARU, a dorama about an autistic savant man and this book is about an autistic savant girl.

So, this has to be my least favorite BSC so far. I did not expect Kristy to be so dumb. Yeah, she is 13-years-old, she is just a kid, she has a good heart, blah blah. But how could she think Susan's parents didn't try everything possible to help their daughter? How could she think she was her savior? And that all these children going to her house weren't up to s
Mar 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The client du jour is the Felders, whose daughter Susan is autistic. Susan doesn't talk, except when she sings or gives the day of the week each date falls on. She plays the piano beautifully, but she cannot dress herself or communicate on a basic level with anyone else. She is locked in her own world.

Kristy knows that Susan is smart, and she wants to help her make friends and engage with the real world. There are other kids in the neighborhood who are having trouble fitting in: the Hobarts, who
Jasmine Anne Victoria
This was one of the first books I read with a character with autism in it. I felt the topic was handled sensitively but autism it self was not explained well enough to the reader. It acts as though all autistic people are like Susan and does not talk about other ends of the spectrum. For it's time it is a breathe taking reading as it covers it topic which was controversial often shied away from. Some of the facts are wrong but that is from the time the books was written in.

Points for the story i
May 13, 2014 rated it liked it
I think I liked this when I was a kid. But as an adult, woah. Now these books were written in the late 80s, early 90s, but I'm not sure it was OK to throw the r-word around left and right. I also don't like how Kristy just decided to try and change things for Susan. When Jessi learned sign language to talk to Matt Braddock, she also picked up an understanding on deaf culture. Kristy does try to look up what autism is, but she remains oblivious to the lack of social skills that Susan has. Susan i ...more
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bsc
This book really rubbed me the wrong way, for a lot of reasons. This was one of the "afternoon specials" where we all learn something important, except it wasn't really done very well. Susan is an 8 yr old girl with autism, who's family lives around the corner from Claudia. Susan normally goes to a special school but is home on break for a month and her mom needs some time away each week, so Kristy gets the job. Kristy being Kristy, thinks it's horrible that Susan lives away from home and doesn' ...more
Dec 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013, ann-m-martin, 1999
Kristy's newest baby-sitting charge is Susan Felder, who goes away to a special school. Susan isn't like most kids. While she can play the piano and sing beautifully... she can't talk to anyone. Susan is autistic. She lives locked inside her own secret world.Kristy thinks it's unfair that Susan has to be sent off to school and is treated differently from everyone else. But Kristy's going to try to change that--by showing everyone that Susan's a 'regular' kid, too. And then maybe Kristy's new fri ...more
Brandon Meredith
May 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is another memorable childhood read. Here's where I learned about autism, when it was just becoming fashionable. (Too soon?) I was jealous of the child's ability to play piano, seemingly magically. My heart also poured out for the girl since she was so painfully afflicted. I think I held the belief (like the main character, if I remember correctly) that if I had been there, I could have "fixed" the little girl. The hubris of youth, I suppose. Such bittersweet memories of this touching story ...more
Mar 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, reviewed
Fantastic books for young girls getting into reading!! Great stories about friendship and life lessons. The characters deal with all sorts of situations and often find responsible solutions to problems.

I loved this series growing up and wanted to start my own babysitting business with friends. Great lessons in entrepreneurship for tweens.

The books may be dated with out references to modern technology but the story stands and lessons are still relevant.

Awesome books that girls will love! And the
Nov 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: bsc, books-i-own
Originally I rated this book with 5 stars. After a quick re-read, I've chosen to knock two stars off that rating. The word 'retarded' is heavily used in the book, and while it wasn't necessarily offensive when the book was published, it is incredibly offensive now.
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Ann Matthews Martin was born on August 12, 1955. She grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, with her parents and her younger sister, Jane. After graduating from Smith College, Ann became a teacher and then an editor of children's books. She's now a full-time writer.

Ann gets the ideas for her books from many different places. Some are based on personal experiences, while others are based on childhood me
More about Ann M. Martin

Other books in the series

The Baby-Sitters Club (1 - 10 of 131 books)
  • Kristy's Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club, #1)
  • Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls (The Baby-sitters Club, #2)
  • The Truth About Stacey (The Baby-Sitters Club, #3)
  • Mary Anne Saves the Day (The Baby-Sitters Club, #4)
  • Dawn and the Impossible Three (The Baby-Sitters Club, #5)
  • Kristy's Big Day (The Baby-Sitters Club, #6)
  • Claudia and Mean Janine (The Baby-Sitters Club, #7)
  • Boy-Crazy Stacey (The Baby-Sitters Club, #8)
  • The Ghost at Dawn's House (The Baby-Sitters Club, #9)
  • Logan Likes Mary Anne! (The Baby-Sitters Club, #10)

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