Title: The Babysitters Coven
Series: The Babysitters Coven, #1
Author: Kate Williams
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publishing Date: September 17th 2019
Age Category & Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Synopsis: Adventures in Babysitting meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this funny, action-packed novel about a coven of witchy babysitters who realize their calling to protect the innocent and save the world from an onslaught of evil.
Seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl has a babysitters club. She knows it’s kinda lame, but what else is she supposed to do? Get a job? Gross. Besides, Esme likes babysitting, and she’s good at it.
And lately Esme needs all the cash she can get, because it seems like destruction follows her wherever she goes. Let’s just say she owes some people a new tree.
Enter Cassandra Heaven. She’s Instagram-model hot, dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster, and has a rebellious streak as gnarly as the cafeteria food. So why is Cassandra willing to do anything, even take on a potty-training two-year-old, to join Esme’s babysitters club?
The answer lies in a mysterious note Cassandra’s mother left her: “Find the babysitters. Love, Mom.”
Turns out, Esme and Cassandra have more in common than they think, and they’re about to discover what being a babysitter really means: a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from seriously terrifying evil. And all before the parents get home.
**Thank you to Penguin Random House International and Netgalley for providing me an eARC. This did not affect not influence my review.**
If you have heard of this book before or read the synopsis above, you’ll know that it was pitched as perfect for fans of Adventures in Babysitting and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I want to start this review by saying that I have never seen any of those. So, my thoughts about The Babysitters Coven are not influenced by expectations or whatsover for this to give the same vibes or be as good as those shows.
I am that kind of a reader who always try to find the good in any book. And in normal circumstances, I would have given this book 2 out of 5 stars because I still saw some good things. But giving this book 2 stars would mean that it is an okay book. And it is not for me. Despite the few good things, it still did not work for me as a whole. To be honest, I wish I have not read this instead so I can still have the fantasy that it could be a good book with a very good cover. So, 1 out of 5 stars.
ONTO THE GOOD SIDE… FUN, BABYSITTING, DOG
It can be funny. There are few lines which are clever and hilarious and I would lie if I will say that I did not laugh at least twice while reading this book.
There is an actual spotlight to babysitting. It is rare for me to read fictional books, especially YA, that actually talks about babysitting. I find this refreshing and I loved that this actually discuss the importance of it and gives it the appreciation it deserves.
There is a dog. Her name is Pig and she is a pitbull. Esme and her father treats her well. I love her meet-cute story with Esme and her father. And just Pig’s existence is one of the nicest things in this book. *shrugs*
ONTO THE BAD SIDE… TOO MANY TO MENTION
It is not action-packed as stated by the synopsis. Do not fall for that lie. The actions mostly happened on the last few chapters.
The humor can be awful at times. I love humorous narrators but this one did not do it for me. If pointing out people’s insecurities or physical flaws to introduce them is humorous for this book, then, THIS IS NOT MY HUMOR. This thing Esme loves to do especially on the beginning and is written as if to entertain is not humorous AT ALL. And it shouldn’t be.
I don’t like the main character. Esme is going through a tough time because of her family and bullies in school and I would have sympathized with her. I wish I did. But it was a challenge connecting with her – and to other characters, and she can be so mean. She keeps on saying negative things about others which I think are so unnecessary and uncalled for a lot of times. I also wish Janis, Esme’s best friend, was given more spotlight. She’s a lot more interesting than Esme and Cassandra.
The writing is ineffective. It failed to make me feel what I should have felt. Further, it was simple, easy-to-read, fast-paced but it used abbreviations a lot of times that are so irritating. So cringe-y. I couldn’t understand what Esme was saying a lot of times because I don’t know what those mean and honestly, I couldn’t give any time nor care to Google them. Like, who talks and thinks like that???
It was not magical. The magic system is a BIG MEH. Often times, I just find myself laughing a little thinking “THIS IS IT?” I wasn’t enchanted. I wasn’t amused. I wasn’t spooked. Some scenes were also pretty questionable to me. Like, that’s something I would have pointed out if I was a beta reader instead. But I digress.
It’s insensitive to those with mental illness. The plot twist that **spoilers ahead** Esme’s mother is not mentally ill but was cursed instead is unnecessary for me and the last blow for me not to like this book. I mean, I wish my mental health issues are just a curse in disguise. If only.
There were a lot of bullying in this book that can utterly be triggering plus the main character has fatphobia and as far as I can remember, these were never challenged.
Did we have in-depth discussion about “good vs. evil”, a discussion we all like with books that includes fighting the evil? NO.
The Babysitters Coven is probably my most disappointing read of this year. As a debut, I think Williams has a potential in writing fun contemporaries especially with her quirky ideas but this one just did not do it for me for plenty of reasons. I sadly cannot recommend this to anyone. And nope, I won’t read the next installment.
I’m a YA write or die, originally from Kansas but now living in California.
I’ve written for Cosmopolitan, NYLON and Seventeen, amongst other magazines, and worked with brands including Urban Outfitters, Vans and Calvin Klein.
The Babysitters Coven is my first novel, but fingers crossed it won’t be my last.
Find her on: Website
Have you read The Babysitters Coven? Did you enjoy it? What’s your favorite witchy read? Share your thoughts below!