Alternate title: The Babysitters’ Summer Reading Takeover
Sunkissed salutations, Bookwyrms! If you’ve been following my TikTok and Insta adventures (links in the sidebar or footer), you’ll know it’s been a beach bum kind of summer here in La-La Land.
I spent a week with my family in Naples, Florida, being a literal Ocean Girl, sipping Hawaiian cold brew s’mochas and eating conch fritters at a Samantha-Brown-recommended seafood joint.*
I also did some literal beach reading because I’m a self-respecting water-breathing Bookwyrm, thankyouverymuch.
Ok, so only one of these was technically read on an actual beach (see above), but a sunny front porch in the Midwest in July is basically the same thing.
Anyhoo, welcome to Monday Minis — a new segment I just came up with while writing the previous paragraph, in which I do a bunch of mini reviews on a Monday!
[insert Zelda achievement fanfare]
for the canon-BSC books.
BSC # 44: Dawn and the Big Sleepover.
The BSC organizes a fundraiser to help a Zuni community in New Mexico after their school burns down. The girls promise the kids of Stonybrook a giant slumber party as a reward. Shenanigans ensue when some kids try to sell their parents’ stuff without asking, and a backyard carnival gets a liiiittle out of hand when Bizarro Barney shows up, but of course everything gets straightened out and the slumber party is exactly as chaotic fun as you’d expect.
Also, Haley Braddock dabbles in fortune telling and Mallory busts some super-cringe stereotypes.
BSC #13, 14, and 15
Stacey’s dad gets transferred back to New York and somehow Stacey’s not shouting from the rooftops even though Being From New York is one of her Top Five Things.** Turns out, she’s gotten pretty attached to Stonybrook and the BSC, and her favorite kid client, Charlotte, who’s finally coming out of her shell because of Stacey’s friendship.
To cheer Stacey up, the BSC and all of their kid clients throw her a going away party that’s basically a grade-school field day, with egg races and whatnot, and it’s beautiful and heartwarming and just plain Good Clean Babysitting Fun.
After Stacey leaves, the BSC gets immediately swamped with jobs. They invite 11-year-old Mallory — the oldest of the (in)famous Pike siblings, who’s already basically an unpaid BSC intern — to join. But then they give her a bunch of ridiculously hard tests to prove she’s as Med School Ready as they aren’t, and obnoxiously micromanage her during a trial job, so she starts her own babysitting club with new girl Jessica Ramsey, who just moved into Stacey’s old house.
The BSC, riding high on their power trip, freaks out over two sixth-graders babysitting their own siblings (Mal and Jessi’s parents are their first and only clients), and issues a verbal Cease and Desist. To which Mallory respectfully says Make Us. Luckily, the BSC regains their chill, apologizes to Mal and Jessi, and hires them both as junior members.
Subplot: The kids in Mal’s class are racist AF and some of the neighbors show their inner WASPs, but luckily the Johanssens are true honeybees (it’s a BSCC Podcast reference 😉), and Charlotte Johanssen becomes insta-besties with Jessi’s little sister, Becca.
All is well in the beehive now, with Mal and Jessi covering the daytime jobs so the older BSC members can do more evening gigs. But Dawn is secretly jealous that Kristy gave the newest new girls a fancy induction ceremony, so when the Powers That Be decide to infect Stonybrook’s 5-8 year olds with pageant fever, she inexplicably jumps on board to prove she’s a Great Sitter Too by making sure one of her kid clients wins.
I’m just saying, Netflix Dawn would never.
Also, the kid clients in question are sisters.
Like…. Dawn. Seriously, Dawn. Why.
But anyway, I guess she’s also thrown off her social justice game by her little brother’s decision to move back to California, where their dad lives. It’s a very relatably emotional subplot, with understandable reactions from everyone involved.
As for the pageant plot, most of the parents are actually pretty responsible about the whole thing. They warn their kids that they might not win, and that some contestants might be snotty to them, and we love you and we’re proud of you no matter what and may Ann have mercy on your souls if you still want to do this…
And the overall drama is pretty darn wholesome, thankfully. The other Babysitters reveal they were also trying to prove their kid-wrangling skills, the girl with objectively the most talent gets second or third place but is thrilled because she gets a toy store shopping spree while the first-place winner has to prepare for the next Hunger Games, and the Babysitters all agree that pageants are a bunch of toxic patriarchal bullfrog (except for Mal and Jessi, who knew that all along and were rolling their eyes in the background the whole time).
Finally, I was extremely entertained by Caroline Cala’s Californian BSC parody,
BAD Best Babysitters (Ever). Best friends Malia, Dot, and Bree decide to steal emulate Kristy’s Great Idea (a tattered OG copy of which Malia finds in a box of library discards) so they can earn money for a totally lit birthday party-that-will-finally-get-them-some-social-cred / show up that one B*tchier Than Thou older sister who keeps hogging all the parental praise / help people and gain leadership skills.
It’s like a modern-day version of the We ❤️ Kids Club (the BSC’s original California counterpart), but more junk-food-friendly and even less organized. And it’s exactly what The Babysitters Coven should’ve been: Feel. Good. BSC. Irreverencing. Shenanigans.
Seriously, it’s heartwarmingly unhinged.
Tell me about your Summer Reading Adventures, Bookwyrms! Did you do any official bookish challenges? I’m proud to say I reached Crab Level (1600 points) in my library’s ocean-themed Summer Learning Program!
This involved not only hours of paperback-diving, but also a bit of gardening, picnicking, forest-bathing, playground playing, carnival fooding, and pajama-staying-inning. Because SUMMER FTW, BABY!!!
** Stacey’s Top Five Things are:
- Being from New York
- Having diabetes
- Being The Worst (sometimes)
Netflix BSC GIF from primogif.