Monday, October 7, 2019

The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams

THE BABYSITTERS COVEN is one of those books that I was hotly anticipating for fall. The tongue-in-cheek title and gorgeous cover made me feel so hopeful that what I was going to get was going to be a cross between my childhood favorite, The Babysitters Club, with a dash of The Craft, and a heavy dollop of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I didn't get that, and maybe part of that is on me for having unrealistically high expectations, but part of that is definitely on the book.

First, even though this book is set in high school, it felt so immature it almost feels like a middle grade novel. There was also an element of being "out of touch." I never felt like I was reading about a bunch of teenagers. It felt like reading about a mom pretending to be a sanitized version of what they imagined a teenager was like from watching The Disney Channel all day.

Second, the magic and world-building is a bit of a mess. THE BABYSITTERS COVEN skates that fine line between a book that wants to be taken at face value and an homage/parody. The magic spells seemed cool, but the execution of them was kind of lame. And then the fact that the book basically used the plot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to explain how magic worked in this universe felt totally lazy. Don't use other universes that did you one better as a crutch to hold up your own shoddy world-building; it will just remind me that better stories exist out there than yours.

Third, the babysitting club element had a nice hook, but didn't really capture that responsibility and closeness that made the original Babysitters Club series so compelling. The girls in the original BCC were mature for their age and had a lot of interesting hobbies. The girls in this BCC aren't as invested in their jobs, are actually pretty immature, and engage in girl on girl hate. I was very disappointed. The only thing they have in common with the original BCC is that they're a club of girls who occasionally babysit and they like to create "themed" outfits, like Claudia from the original BCC did, but after a while their "themed" outfits started to seem too precious and contrived and annoying.

I'm pretty disappointed by how much I didn't like this upon finishing. THE BABYSITTERS COVEN was one of my biggest anticipated reads and ended up becoming one of my biggest disappointments. Maybe it would be good for a preteen girl who enjoys the Disney Channel, but it wasn't great for me.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! 

2 out of 5 stars

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