Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Jessi and the Troublemaker by Ann M. Martin - Review by Carlyn

For those new to the blog, I collect Babysitter Club books for the nostalgia. In this book, eleven year old Jessi Ramsey babysits Danielle. Danielle is a character from a previous book. She had cancer but is now in remission. After being sick for so long, Danielle engages in reckless behaviour as she is eager to get into all the fun she missed. The babysitters think that Danielle is out of control and wonder whether they should tell her parents.

The Babysitter book series features seven babysitters who all have their own distinct personality and each book focuses on one of the girls. Jessi is supposed to have a special bond with Danielle yet she doesn’t use her influence to talk to Danielle at all. Whenever an incident happened with Danielle, the babysitters just patiently told them to clean up whatever mess Danielle and her friends made. The girls eventually do say something to the parents but the parents are unfazed. Everyone is so happy that Danielle is in remission that they let her get away with things.

In fairness, I understand the babysitters’ hesitancy because they are still children themselves. The babysitters are aged between 11-13 years. In our time, most people wouldn’t leave children between those ages in charge of other children. The books were written in late 80s-90s where children had a lot more freedom.

It is not until Danielle does something that gets people hurt that her parents finally see she needs boundaries.  Danielle’s friends hate her afterwards because they get in trouble too. The kid logic was amusing to read, as the kids thought Danielle should be the only one in trouble because it was her idea. I used to have the same logic when I was a kid. I did not understand that if you went along with something, you were just as guilty too. So one of the babysitters pointed out what all parents say, which is “If your friend jumped off a bridge would you do it too?” Then everything is resolved.

There’s also a second story involving Jessi’s aunt. Jessi and her sister Becca eavesdrop on their aunt and think she’s going to get remarried. They think their aunt is going to have a surprise wedding so they plan their outfits and buy a present in preparation. I thought that subplot was cute and something out of an 80s sitcom.

This book was not one of my favourites out of the series. It was alright. What I did like was that it was nice to have a character from a previous book return. There are some books in the series which have special themes or issues such as diabetes, cancer, racism, death etc and this book is one of their special themed books. Mostly characters in these books are never mentioned again so I was surprised to see this book. 

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