Book Review : The Babysitter’s Coven by Kate M. Williams

The Babysitter’s Coven (Amazon Link)

Author : Kate M. Williams
Published By : Delacorte Press
Year Published : September 17, 2019 (Preorder Available)
Genre / Tags : Contemporary, YA, Witches, Paranormal
Mood : Light and cute
Formats : Hardcover, eBook
# of Pages : 368 pages (Hardcover)

Summary

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.

Review

Note : This is a review of an uncorrected proof/ARC of this book that I received in a giveaway. On a scale of 5 I gave it a 3.5/5 on Goodreads, worth checking out if the concept really intrigues you.

The Good

  • I love the concept! The Babysitters Club meets Charmed, basically. Or as mentioned in the summary, Adventures In Babysitting meets Buffy.
  • There are neat little 90s references though the writing is super modern with use of acronyms and a lot of references in general.
  • The writing style has a flair for fun details. ‘Plain’ would be the opposite way to describe it. Some passages are funny.
  • The first 30% or so, I totally enjoyed. Only in later parts did it start to lose me.
  • While your mileage may vary on whether this tidbit is a good thing or a bad thing, I think it makes this book occupy an interesting space. In this YA landscape of many books that read a little old for YA, The Babysitter’s Coven actually reads YOUNG for YA. A little too young, as I feel that Esme reads as younger than 17 years old. I think people new to YA who were recently into reading Middle Grade could be more geared to like this book. The descriptions of her highschool life that I found monotonous could be attractive to younger readers who can’t wait to go. Though I’m older than both demographics, I was imagining YA-me and Middle Grade-me while reading, and the latter would have LOVED this title more readily.
  • Fairly safe content-wise, minus a handful of questionable decisions of characters and questionable jokes (that might not be in the final version, I’ll update this later if I can cross-check with a final copy.)

The Not-So-Good

  • I was expecting some high octane witchy action and high octane, er, babysitting. As per the title. There is definitely some, but large swathes of this book are more keenly devoted to Esme’s day-to-day life with school, a boy she likes, what fun and outrageous outfit she’s wearing that day, family issues, and just far more contemporary YA stuff than I was expected. The more supernatural aspects take quite a while to get into full swing.
  • There is limited warmth between the characters. One of the great things about The Babysitters Club (which is referenced multiple times in this book) is the wonderful sisterhood between the characters. Esme and Cassandra start off cold and I felt like they never reached that cute aww-worthy friends zone, though some events near the very end show how they care.
  • The snark (from multiple characters) is just constant, which might click with some, but I ended up not totally liking some of the key characters and thinking them superficial. The dialogue can come off sitcom-like, your mileage may vary on that but many of the conversations were not my cup of tea. Esme’s inner monologues were a bit more appealing.
  • This book ends on a higher note. Without going into any revealing details, I’ll just say the characters have more awareness of what they’re capable of and there is a lot of room for growth and more focused, exciting plot developments in a sequel. Also, in regards to the resolution to the Dion plotline- I liked that, found it uniquely handled among YA.

Overall Rating – 7/10

Why You Should Try It – The writing has a unique attitude to it, with potent and opinionated descriptions. If you chiefly like contemporary YA but want a little extra flavor, this one might be appealing. While technically YA, I feel like this book could be appealing to those just starting YA from Middle Grade as the characters read younger than they should.

Why You Might Not Like It – I didn’t find the characters very easy to like. Their sassiness could be good or bad depending on what you like in characters, but there were definitely a few moments that I felt were extra silly or annoying. Again, the characters read younger than they should.

The Babysitter’s Coven (Amazon Link)


Have you read The Babysitter’s Coven or would like this September new release? I appreciate your thoughts as always.

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