#PointHorrorBookClub was created by author Juno Dawson in 2013. Juno announced in 2015 that she was no longer able to carry on so, with her blessing, I took over the reins.
So why not grab a copy and join the discussion with this months #PointHorrorBookClub
The Babysitter by R L Stine
Are the Point Horror books we loved as a teenager still our favourites on a re-read? Have they not stood the test of time? After a hit of nostalgia? Or are you new to Point Horror and want to see what its all about?
Want to explore previous #PointHorrorBookClub posts? I’ve got you! Head to the main page here
Jenny’s started a new baby-sitting job the the Hagens-they seem nice enough, but they’ve got this really old, creepy house. And a rather too friendly neighbour, who’s been hanging around, asking to come in and look around. Then, the phone calls start, but there’s never anyone on the other end of the line. Jenny’s getting scared. she’s sure someone’s out to get her-but who?
Every step she takes, he’ll be watching.
Okay ….so…What’s It All About?
Jenny Jeffers is new to the area and gets recruited at the mall to babysit a six year old twice a week, Thursdays and Saturdays in a strange house and in a strange neigbourhood!
Awwwww sounds like a blast! Bet the house was proper posh if they could afford a babysitter twice a week?!
Welllllllll not quite. Imagine this lets set the scene…. in a dark dark wood, there was a house built before the Civil War and left to rot! Inherited by The Hagens it’s victorian house like something out of a horror movie! Hedges ragged and over grown, leaves unraked, loose shutters, broken windows, taped up furniture, lots of groaning and creaking and lets not mention the amount of crushed velvet this house is decorated with!
Yaaaaaaaaaiiiiii!! I bet that Jenny Jeffers girl ran a mile when she saw that!
Well dear reader no….no she didn’t, beacause she needed the money for Christmas! But don’t worry with the help of Mr Hagens “rules” and Jenny’s wild imagination they have it totally covered.
Ohhhhhhhh rules in horror are a dangerous game! Lets hear them then….
Keep all windows and doors locked, curtains closed, imagine you are in a house with ghosts, imagine what they would say and what they would wear… you know the usual. And don’t forget to ignore the howling noise and foot steps around you. Make yourself acquanited with the house cat so you don’t think they are a person grabbing your legs, don’t mindlessly trip over the worn carpet, don’t enter dark unknown rooms you’ve never entered before. But its totally cool to play hide and seek! And on no accounts have any friends or potential love interests around to the house! A big huge Point Horror Babysitter no no!
Well….. theres not that many rules…. how hard can it be?!
Opppppssss I forgot to mention the creepy heavy breathing phonecalls, eerie dark shadows and the folded up theatening notes that make the rules hard to follow!
OMG! WHAT DID THEY SAY!
Our Point Horror girl, Jenny Jeffers, was rather dramatic with her wild imagination wasn’t she?! Or was that just from all the coke she drank throughout the book! This girl must have been on a serious sugar high constantly!
Anyhooo Jenny with her stylish dark brown hair and long bangs that fell over her left eye, long straight nose that her Mom says is her best feature, round black serious eyes, pouting lips, average height and boyish figure….basically her best friend says she looks like Demi Moore! But fear not dear Point Horror lovers she maybe rubbish at volleyball but she is rather partial to staring out a window at every given opportunity as it makes her look smooth, cool and calm.
Her love of reading Stephen King really pays off as she can tell a killer ghost story! Never mind trying to get a six year to sleep this 40 year old was quaking in her Point Horror t-shirt! *turns on The Bangles*.
I can’t go any further without mentioning Jennys over active imagination and inner monologue. There was no way to stop Jenny dreaming up the crazy things she did. Always prefering imaginging things than doing them. And always saying no to things when asked for the first time….well except when being recruited in a mall to babysit for strangers Jenny or being so scared that you runs outside to investigate strange noises….didn’t say no to that first did you Jenny!
Did any one else notice Jennys obsession with Donnys hair?! And her hate for that Grandfather clock….tick tock tick tock….yes thats what old clocks do Jenny……no need to grab it by its dingle ling!
Also what was with Jenny finally calling the police and them being so…..uninterested. Do you want the town police or village police Jenny? Surely you should know! And the police officer fobbing her off, but Jenny says thanks for your help. Oh dear Jenny. Oh dear!
The Love Interest
Oh Chuck, Chuck Chuck…..where do I actually start! Chuck Quinn was our freckled faced, goof ball love interest with his curly blond hair, blue eyes, white teeth and big shoulders making him a powerful man worthy of a football linesman or wrestler and looked like Huck Finn.
Sounds like our usual Point Horror Jock right?!?! Oh how wrong we are!
New to the area he quickly established himself as the class clown, but not even his dimples in his right cheek could bag him a date with Jenny initially where she uses the “I’m studying” excuse….. ouch Chuck, ouch! Don’t you know he lives with his Dad and washes his own jeans Jenny? Hes a keeper (unless you’ve read the sequel…where he basically turns a bit bunny boiler-ish). He can even disect rubber chickens with his large hands don’t you know! But give him a telephone to make a call and he will be qivering in his newly washed jeans! Although give him a sock and he will make a sock puppet! What a man…..
I thought the scenes where he was playing with Donny were adorable though! And his little serious side telling Jenny how much he likes her and was only heavy breathing on the first phonecall because he was nervous….oh bless his little puppet socks *heart eyes*. Why am I like this Point Horror peeps? Why? *Remembers him appearing under the girls table at the beginning* – I take it back!
And what was with his obsession with food! He puts hard-boiled egg slices over his eyes, pizza in his jeans pocket (good luck getting that stain out Mr I wash my own jeans) and there is a questionable scene with a bannana ….WTF?!?
Shout out to when he scared Jenny with the mask…..that will serve her right for checking out her reflection in the window for the millionth time….*evil laugh*
I know he is meant to luck like Huck Finn, but I kepy imaginging him like the guy out of Pitch Perfect and modern family….
Boy obsessed best friend Laura was brilliant! Tiny and light. Short and beautiful with cheek bones like a model, sky blue eyes, creamy white skin, curly straw coloured hair(that fell down to her shoulders like a waterfall?!) and a tiny heart shaped mouth?!?
She didn’t care what people thought, she did what she felt like which included always embarrassing Jenny, talking about boys a lot, dating a different boy every weekend etc etc . She was the popular, impulsive and bold character but was actually quite cool and not a bitch. She’d been friends with Jenny for so long she didn’t have to laugh at her jokes anymore…..or help her from being stalked by a crazy person and scared half to death! Good job Laura…..good job! Although she was used to Jenny’s wild imagination and no way to stop Jenny dreaming up crazy things so I guess we can forgive her.
Our little lively and active, Ghostbuster addict and hide and seek loving six year old boy Donny with his blond/pure white straight and shiny hair like a golden bowl, round cheeks, big blue eyes…..he was adorable! Give him a tv commercial or a scary movie to watch and he will be happy…..and basically not scared half to death from watching Polterguiest at the age of 6! How Donny?! How?! That film scares me to this day so much I have to sleep with the light on not ask for more scary stories! Any way moving on …..
With all this cuteness how on earth could Jenny think that sweet little Donny was making the heavy breathing phone calls from inside the house….any one would think he was Eli from the sequel! Although Donny knows some bad words you know…..
Then theres good looking (not my words blame Jenny) Mr Mike Hagen with his dark short hair thinning at the front, small grey steel eyes that were always darting around, broad chest, sqaure jaw, big wide powerful shoulders and hands, tall frame (so much so that he has to stoop under door ways even with his slight limp) and very red ears and cheeks. He was a creep right from the beginning. What was with him always taking Jennys jacket upstairs to his creepy little closest with his creepy little newspaper clippings……ewwwwwwww. With Jenny passing it off as being nervous….I just call it being a creep Jenny… but don’t you worry he will constantly tell you to keep the doors locked and windows shut you know to keep you safe as he is not a stalking the babysitter because he is a bitter about babysitters type of person…. you just carry on getting lifts home in the middle of the night with him. And what about when he slaps Jenny……not cool pyscho babysitter stalker…. not cool!
Then we have our linguistic major, Mrs Mary Hagen with her small face, rimless glasses, short curley brown hair, large brown eyes and a whole homey down to earth look. She was determined to go to ALL the parties like shes partying 1999 style. In fact we could learn a lot from good old Mary….employee a babysitter you meet at the Mall, find out your babysitter has been scared to death in your house, followed, received creepy calls but nothing can stop this party animal! Just lock the doors Jenny you will be fine. Momma needs her socialising!
Our red herring of the hour “Willers” or should I say Lieutenant Lewis….dum dum duuuuuuuummmmm. Thats right, the shifty looking creepy neighbour in his lumber jack plaid wool shirt that smelt of old cigars, stubbly black beard, bent nose, greased back hair, bushy black eye brows and deep gravelly voice was actually an undercover policeman! Although something tells me that his fashion and scent may not have been part of the act! He was always nearby….and that is escpecially handy when you are being dragged to a quarry to your death!
Quick shout out to casual Point Horror gang and Laura’s fancy men Bob Tanner and last minute.com addition of Eugene.
And also Jennys Mom who even with a creep in a ski mask breaking into homes and beating up babysitters was still happy for her daughter to carry on regardless. First she moans about Jenny being back so late, then when Jenny said she is quiting her Mom tells her off saying its a bad habit not sticking to things! So who else thinks Mrs Jeffers and Mr Hagen were having a secret affair and the plot really was to play some pranks on Jenny to push the brink of quitting as a test…. just me with my over active imagination? What has Jenny done to me?!
Fashion Faux Pas
Well I spotted a few….lets say 90’s styles. There was a jean jacket, charcoal grey suit, a maroon and white sweat shirt, red leather slippers and a white peasant blouse and dark wrap around skirt!
And…..G I Joe Pajamas!!!!
Also I can’t pass over a shout out to a pink and black swatch and Chucks polka dot 501s! I don’t know what these are but this is what google throws up!
Not necessarily disaters but they made me laugh out loud!
“What was that animal darting through the hedges? Was it a deer? No. Just a rock. Don’t start seeing things Jenny, she told herself, laughing at her vivid imagination.“
You don’t say Jenny…. you don’t say!
“I frightened myself, thats all. Next time I’ll be cool.”
I don’t think so Jenny ……
“What was that in the front yard? Were they squirrels? The squirrels seemed to be holding paws. There were four or five of them dancing in a circle faster and faster, first in one direction then the other. Jenny relaised they werent squirrels they were leaves blowing round and round”
Jenny lied when she said she said next time she would be cool….
“Maybe the parents are weird. Maybe they belong to some sort of secret cult and when I find out about it the keep me locked up in the besement for the rest of my lift so I can’t tell anyone”
Well this is Point Horror….anything could happen Jenny!
“Oh I don’t know. He’s such a goof”. “He’s funny,” Laura said. “He’s a total nutcase,” Jenny agreed. “Did you see him in the lunchroom today when he put the hardboiled egg slices over his eyes? He was a riot.”
One guess who this is about! Whatever floats your boat Laura!
“He had come over to her house to study on Tuesday night. Jenny’s Mom had thought he was really terrific too. Sure, he did some pretty gross things with a bunch of bananas he found on the kitchen table – but he wouldn’t be Chuck if he didn’t clown around some of the time”
Do I want to know? Do I really want to know? I can’t beleive this clifhanger to beat all cliffhangers! OMG!
“Its funny how all of the trendy words and phrases, you know, works like awesome, drift down to the six year olds about two years after they’ve gone out of style”
Checks how many times I use the word awesome in 2021! *shocked face*
“So did you mmpfell the mmpphh about the mmmmmmmphh?”
Laura knows how to pull the boys!
“We could get up early and go and watch cars being washed at the Kwik Wash. We could pretend it was one of those beach movies”
What the actual Laura?!?
“She picked up a pack of bright magnenta press-on fingernails. What do you think? You just press these on and instant cool! Instant weird you mean Jenny said”
2021 would blow Jenny and Laura mind!
“Look at these, Jenny. Who would wear socks with little pigs on them?”
*Looks down at feet* I feel personally attacked by this sentence!
“A clay animation festival! Neat!”
Chuck knows how to treat a lady on the first date!
“Calling the police has helped a lot. That officer has been so calm and reassuring. And it made her feel good”
“More loud breathing. Whoever it was was sort of groaning into the phone now.”
“She reached for the phone again, and as she did it seemed to explode in her hand”
The phone peeps…. the phone! *wink*
“I don’t want the Hagens to think I get hysterical and can’t handle stupid little things”
I present evidence to the court… The Babysitter…guilty!
“I feel a little light, thats all. You know kind of feathery”
Light as a feather. Stiff as a boaThen she heard a sickening crash, like a full carton of eggs hitting the sidewalk”
YES! I love a Stiney egg cracking death!
“I don’t think I’ll live in such a fantasy world anymore, letting my imagination run away with me all the time. The real world is interesting enough!”
Shall we see what happens in the subsequent sequels Jenny before we start making promises we can’t keep?!
Lets end it there!
1 off page death….Mr and Mrs Hagens little girl who died of an undisclosed “accident” whilst being babysat which sent Mr Hagen all wild and angry against babysitters!
And 1 well deserved end of book death……or is he?!? We never saw the body!!!
But other than that only then mention of a couple of attacks on babysitters who had been hospitalised in this Stiney effort!
Is it scary?
I found all the creepyness, atmosphere and the tension scary and there is just something about the urban legend of a babysitter being stalked that gives it that scary creepy unknown element. So yes I would say it was scary and I can remember reading this is a teen and being terrified!
Also shout out to Mr Hagen staring down at Jenny and Chuck snogging on the couch in a creepy scary kind of way! *SHIVERS*
I tell you what else was scary! The shout out to the VCR, walkman and tapes….. the scary part being how these are now vintage….does that make me vintage too?!?
Did the best friend do it?
Little old Laura??!! No way!!!! Not in this Point Horror! We actually get an adult who did it in the Point Horror!
Some Mild Peril?
I would say an abandoned quarry with the threat of being pushed to your untimely death counts as mild peril. And the whole Mr Hagen car scene was quite frightening….although Jenny still has time to check out her reflection in the car window on numerous occasions!
Also that game of Hide and Seek where Jenny was looking for Donny and he jumped out……that was enought to make anyone go Yaaaaaaiiii!
Actually that bus driver was pure peril in itself! Crazy driving!
Is it any good?
The Babysitter was the start of Point Horror here in the UK. To me it is a classic and always will be! Who can ever forget that cover on the shelves and that excitement of reading the blurb. I loved it back then and I love it now!
Where / how did Mr Hagen get his limp?!
Over to you!
As well as your thoughts on the book here are some questions to consider.
- Thoughts on Chuck?
- Give me your best Jenny imagination story
- Which character would you have pushed over the quarry?
- The Babysitter – A classic?
- What did Chuck do with those bananas?!
I found some alternative covers with thanks to google….some more creepy than others!
Want more The Babysitter? Check out these fab Podcasts!
Or looking to buy Point Horror check out Welcome To Point Horror – I highly recommend!
Feel free to pop me a comment using the reply button at the top of the page
Want to explore previous #PointHorrorBookClub posts? I’ve got you! Head to the main page here
Thanks for joining and don’t answer the phone…companys coming…..