Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Babysitter IV or "Who Hates Sweaty Kids? R.L. Hates Sweaty Kids."

The Babysitter IV. Thank god it’s the last in this series! For those who need a refresher, I wrote about the Babysitter III allll the way back in November. For those of you too lazy to read the old recap I’ll give away the surprise ending: Jenny snapped. She went nuts and stole a baby. That’s about all that happened.

This installment of the Babysitter series is a little more random. As in, supernatural. Jenny gets out of the hospital after spending a full year there. (Shouldn’t she be like 20 by now? This is the fourth summer that crazy crap has happened to her!) Anyhoo, her new next door neighbour is a single mom with three kids and no shame in asking Jenny to babysit all the time with no advanced warning. I’d be telling this mom to EFF off, especially about babysitting. She babysits for the twins Sean and Seth and their younger sister Meredith. The kids are pretty cute, but soon mysterious stuff starts happening around the house. Some highlights: when trying to cut cake, Jenny’s hand with the knife tries to stab her heart out; when trying to wash dishes, Jenny’s hand tries to shove itself down the garburator! (recycling ideas much, R.L.?) Luckily, she has enough common sense to turn off the garburator with her non-Idle hand. She keeps being woken up in the middle of the night by howls (caused by dogs, you idiot) but she also sees a young girls face in the attic window of her neighbours house. Is the girl howling? Answer: no. When she tells anyone about her fears, and the fact she’s hearing voices inside the house, they all think she’s back to being nutters. To be fair, I would too. And then we find out that Ms. Next Door only has two kids! Jenny has made up one of the twins in her mind! Except the other kids interacted with him, sooo that can’t be right. Either way, Jenny’s mom is having her re-committed ASAP. Jenny knows something is up, and goes to investigate after Ms. Next Door takes her two real children away for the night. She finds Seth is still hanging out there, and that he’s a ghost. She goes to find out about the girl in the attic, and Seth tells her that she’s a ghost too, but she’s locked in the attic because she killed Seth while babysitting him! Jenny is all “Maybe, but I want to hear her admit it” and releases this other ghost girl. Long story short, Seth is the true evil ghost, and after wrestling with the babysitter ghost for a few minutes, they both go off to where ever the hell ghosts disappear too. I can only assume purgatory. Jenny is found amid the wreckage of the house by her mom and is all “It’s okay now Mom, I’m totally not crazy anymore!” and her mom agrees. WTF Mom? That’s just poor parenting. COMMIT YOUR KID.

Babysitter IV gets a little bit higher marks for a) being about ghost which is super cool and b) having another haunted GARBURATOR scene! So I’ll give it 13 hideous children out of 22. (This will make more sense in a minute)

Let’s talk awesome descriptions. Unfortunately, this book didn’t have as many sweet 90s references or denim nightmares. But it still had some pretty good character descriptions.

1. Meredith. This poor child. Let’s read exactly what R.L. wrote about her:

“She was five or six, plump, with a round face like her mother’s. She had curly, light brown hair tied back in a loose ponytail and tiny dark eyes close together around a pudgy stub of a nose.
Meredith wore a sleeveless yellow T-shirt and matching yellow shorts. Her sneakers were yellow, too.
She’s not very pretty, Jenny thought. Meredith had a red scratch across one chubby knee. She had a small Band-Aid on her chin. Beads of sweat glistened above her upper lip.”

Yikes! What else do you want to add in there, R.L.? She’s chubby, sweaty, pig-like. Does she also have sideburns? How about a rash somewhere, huh? Like, why does he have such a hate on for this poor character??

2. We find out that Jenny wears pink mid-drift tops and shorty-short cutoffs to hang around her house. Is she trying to turn tricks in her kitchen?
3. Apparently shorty-short cutoffs were all the rage back in 1995: Clair wears hers with an oversized white tee-shirt over a blue sleeveless T-shirt. R.L. would like you to know that the shorts emphasis her long, lean legs. Of course he does. Perv.

And those were the only good outfit descriptions! (Although, every time Jenny’s BF Cal is mention, it talks about how much he smells like gasoline.) Lame, I know. But you get to read about how much R.L. hates sweaty children. Yay!


Anonymous said...

Okay. That sounded. ...Just really strange, to be honest. And not really a satisfying end to the sub-series, although frankly things like this have no end, they'd gladly have spun it out again if they could.

Devika said...

Oh wow, I totally never knew this book existed! I thought it was a Babysitter trilogy! This one is definitely the best!

Sadako said...

Reading about R.L. Stine describing a scantily clad teenager is...scary.

megan said...

why would a mom want some crazy girl to watch her kids in the first place? and why would crazy girls mom let her?

Anonymous said...

Oh hell, there was a fourth one? How is it that I can't actually remember the plots all these years later but I still remember Jenny, and that she annoyed the ever-loving life out of me?

Her only redeeming virtue, in my eyes, is that unlike all the other princesses in Shadyside, she actually had a job, and her plots even centered on the job.

Also, hee, even young children can't be plump in Stine's world without being ugly pigs.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, top 9 so far:
Books I'm biased towards as they are the only ones I own: The Boy Next Door, Forbidden Secrets, Loudest Scream
Books with later installments: Dangerous Girls, Fear Hall the Beginning, Fear Street Seniors The Thirst
Books with wtf endings: One Evil Summer, Switched, The Rich Girl

HelenB said...

I think this rather begs the question: Why would you let a known crazy person baby-site your kids?!

Lissa said...

Okay, it's quite possible that A) I was very young when I did read this. And B) I may (Or may not) be younger than the lot of those who's comments and this review I've read.. THIS WAS ACTUALLY ONE OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS BY R.L.

I actually, seriously, wanted twins named Seth and Sean (Even though I was so young that I mispronounced "Sean" as "Seen") for a long time in my life. Idk. This one, along with about 4 or 5 others, are and will forever be regarded as favorites of mine. SO BE NICE, and be realistic: How money have YOU made off a bunch of probably quickly, and effortlessly scripted throw-togethers? Exactly. None.

RecallerReminder said...

This book sucks.

Anonymous said...

No LK stine sucks.

Anonymous said...

No LK stine sucks.