ARC Review: Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey

Bethany Castle gets a new lease on love.

Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey follows Bethany Castle, who wants move away from her staging role in her family’s real estate business by flipping her own house. However, Bethany’s brother has little faith in Bethany’s construction ability. When a reality television show gets wind of their argument, the two participate in a house flipping competition. Unfortunately for Bethany, there’s only one person on her side: Wes Daniels, an annoying (but cute) member of her brother’s crew.

Tools of Engagement (Hot & Hammered, #3)

I didn’t know much of what to expect when I read Tools of Engagement. I know Tessa Bailey is a popular romance author, but I hadn’t read any of her books previously. Although I wasn’t completely sold on all aspects of this book, there were some elements that I really enjoyed.

One of my favorite parts of this book was the main character, Bethany. In many other similar books, Bethany would play the villain as she is pretty and put together all the time. However, I appreciated that Tessa Bailey put her in the focus of this story because readers can see her character more in depth. Bethany struggles with anxiety and the need to be perfect, no matter what. Throughout the novel, Bethany grows significantly by showing more confidence in herself and expressing how she feels to her family and friends who put high expectations on her. I think many readers will relate to Bethany and appreciate her character growth throughout the plot in the book.

As for Bethany’s love interest, Wes, I have mixed feelings. For me, there were aspects about his character that I liked and other that I did not like. Let’s start with what I enjoyed. One of the conflicts in the relationship between Bethany and Wes is the age difference between the two characters (Bethany is 7 years older than Wes who is 23). I appreciate that this book featured a couple with an appropriate age difference as this isn’t typically shown in books. I also appreciated reading about his relationship with his niece, who he takes care of so her mom can get the helps she needs. I thought their relationship was cute and the level of the responsibility that Wes took in this book did make him see more mature.

At the same time, there were some aspects of his character that I just didn’t prefer. Wes can be very possessive with Bethany regarding other males that literally never have even met her. For example, Wes goes to find a crew to work on Bethany’s home remodel. He refuses to get any young men on the crew because he doesn’t want them to flirt with Bethany and instead opts for much older men who struggle to work longer hours on the job site. This isn’t appropriate behavior, whether he is in a relationship with Bethany or not (which he wasn’t when this part of the story occurred). All I know is if I was a 30-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man was acting that way towards me, it wouldn’t be attractive. Also, if I heard about his cowboy hat or read about him calling Bethany “darlin'” one more time, I wouldn’t be able to take it.

As for the construction aspect of the plot, it isn’t too heavily involved in that area. While we have some of the demo and see some of the ending, this aspect of the story was slightly disappointing. Yes, this is a romance, so I did expect that to occupy most of the space, so on that front, it was successful. At the same time, a big chunk of the story is Bethany being more independent, specifically through flipping her own house, so I wish I could have seen a little more of that. I think the most unsatisfying part of this whole novel for me was the ending of the competition because it was very rushed and executed in an unsatisfying way, which is all I can really say without giving any major spoilers.

Also, as a disclaimer this is the third book in the companion series. I haven’t read the first two books in this series, although I’m familiar with their storylines. That being said, not reading the first two books didn’t really hinder my reading experience. I thought the Just Us League, which was probably formed in an earlier book, as well as the background of the family business were described enough that I didn’t feel like I was missing anything from the story.

Overall, Tools of Engagement is a fun romance that was a quick and easy to read. I recommend this book to fans of this companion series as well as any one who enjoys an “enemies” to lover romance. I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recently Received ARCs (from July 2020)

Recently on NetGalley, I found myself getting approved more and more from romance books, but less so for young adult books. However, this month, it seems like the opposite is true: I was approved for a few young adult titles that I’m excited to read and share my thoughts on! Here are some of the books that I was recently approved for:

  • Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao
Rent a Boyfriend

While I wasn’t extremely invested in Gloria Chao’s first book (which I DNF’d around the 50% mark), her next book sounded a little more up my alley. This book has the fake dating trope, which I enjoy, so I am excited to pick this one up.

Rent a Boyfriend follows Chloe, who hires a fake boyfriend to impress her parents.

  • Love & Olives by Jenna Evans Welch
Love & Olives (Love & Gelato, #3)

Love & Olives is by Jenna Evans Welch, the author of Love & Gelato and Love & Luck, both of which I enjoyed, so I knew I had to request this book as soon as it appeared on NetGalley. While I’m never completely drawn in by the plots of these books, I am always completely sucked in by the descriptions of the scenery.

Love & Olives follows Liv, who travels to Greece to assist her estranged father with a documentary.

  • You Have a Match by Emma Lord
You Have a Match

I had no idea that Emma Lord, the author of Tweet Cute, was releasing another book this year. While it isn’t my all-time favorite contemporary, I did enjoy Tweet Cute, especially the dialogue between the two main characters. After reading the synopsis of this book on NetGalley and based on my previous reading experience of a book by this author, I requested it right away on NetGalley. Since this author has been pretty popular this year, I wasn’t expecting to get approved, but I was extremely excited when I did!

You Have a Match follows Abby, who learns that she has a sister after taking a DNA test. Abby and her sister decide to meet at a summer camp and figure out why her sister was given up for adoption.

What upcoming releases are you excited to read?

Follow me on…

Twitter

Instagram

Goodreads

**I was sent Rent a Boyfriend, Love & Olives, and You Have a Match as eARCS via NetGalley for free in exchange for an honest review.**

Goodreads Alternative?: The Story Graph

Over the past few weeks on Twitter, I have seen so many posts on two new websites that people are suggesting as an alternative to Goodreads: The Story Graph and the Book Sloth. As someone who loves many features of Goodreads, such as how my Kindle will automatically update that I am reading a book and the community threads, there are other features that are in desperate needs of an update. For example, all of my books recommendations are either inaccurate and do not feature recently released books.

However, I am always willing to try something new, so of course, I immediately created accounts on both The StoryGraph and Book Sloth. It is important to know that these new websites and apps are either in the beta stages or the beginning phases of their launches. As a result, there are many features promised to be developed later on into the future compared to Goodreads which has more permanent fixtures. As a result, when I discuss both the StoryGraph in this post and Book Sloth in a later post, I am going to focus on what I enjoy now and what I hope to see in the future.

What I Like Right Now

One of the most attractive aspects of The StoryGraph for me was the recommendations feature and the graphs that described my personal reading tastes. Upon signing up for this website, each user takes a survey about the books they like to read. You can also import your Goodreads library, which also gives the site an idea of books that you like to read. This also helps you to establish your presence on the site with books you’ve already read. For me, the only hiccup with this feature was in the reads for the year: it duplicated some of the books so it looks like I’ve read more books this year. With the site still in the beginning phases, I could not figure out how to stop the duplication. However, this wasn’t extremely frustrating to me as I know this website is only in the beta phase.

How accurate are the recommendations/reading statistics?

The Ordered for You Page

While I’ve seen many users have success with the Ordered for You page, for me, this feature was hit-or-miss. While there are some books that I saw by authors I have read in the past or books that I heard of that I was possibly interested in, there were quite a few that I thought missed the mark on my tastes. The creator of this site explained that they are still uploading books into their library, so it is possible that as time goes on or if I can just adjust my filters when searching on the ordered for you page.

The Reading Statistics

On the other hand, I was extremely impressed with my reading statistics as I feel it perfectly described by reading tastes. The StoryGraph described my ideal book as a fiction book that is light-hearted, emotional, and funny as well as fast-paced and under 300 pages… which is exactly what I like to read!

The StoryGraph, as its name suggests, provides even more detailed graphs about books you read in terms of mood, pacing, page number, and fiction vs. nonfiction. I know a lot of people in the past have created different tables and and graphs on their own because this is a feature that Goodreads lacks, so I think many book bloggers will be pleased with this feature on the website.

What I Would Like To See In the Future

Easier to Navigate and More Complex Community Features

Currently, there is only a community tab on The StoryGraph. You can see the activity of everyone on the site, or choose just to look at people you follow. Compared to Goodreads, this is a very basic community feature that doesn’t allow much interaction between users. In the future, I hope that The StoryGraph can make the community aspect of this site a little more uder-friendly and extensive.

Easier To Edit Books Read

Like I mentioned a few times in my post, I have had a difficult time navigating and changing books that are added or duplicated. For example, sometimes when I click on my number of books read in a year, it won’t let me see a list of the books that I read in a year. As the website becomes more established, I hope that some more of these little details are worked out to make it easier to edit and change books that I have read.

Overall Thoughts

The StoryGraph promises some interesting features that current book websites lack. That being said, this website is still in the Beta stages, so there are some little details that need to be worked out in order to make the site easier to navigate.

Follow me on…

Twitter

Instagram

Goodreads

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Events that I Would Like to Go to Someday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is book events/festivals that I would like to go to some day. Since I am a huge homebody, I don’t really like to go to huge events or festivals. Consequently, I decided to include some fictional book events/activities or author signings that I would like to visit:

  • Sarah J. Maas Author Signing
A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)
  • Camping in the California forests (Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett)
Starry Eyes
  • See Romeo and Juliet performed live (Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberly and Austin Siegemund-Brocka)
Always Never Yours
  • Sarah Dessen Author Signing
The Moon and More
  • Eat at Big League Burgers and Girl Cheesin’ (Tweet Cute by Emma Lord)
Tweet Cute
  • Go boating (Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett)
Chasing Lucky
  • Spend the summer at a lake house (The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen)
The Rest of the Story
  • Flip a house (Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey)
Tools of Engagement (Hot & Hammered, #3)
  • Go to a book signing for January and August (Beach Read by Emily Henry)
Beach Read
  • Meg Cabot Author Signing
The Princess Diaries (The Princess Diaries, #1)

What book events/festivals would you like to visit?

Follow me on…

Twitter

Instagram

Goodreads

Smile by Raina Telgemeier Review

The message in this book will make you smile.

Smile by Raina Telgemeier is a graphic novel memoir inspired by the author’s experience as a middle school student who received extensive dental work after an accident that took out her two front teeth. After the accient, Raina loses a lot of self-confidence, but as she grows older, she becomes more confident in herself and learns what is truly important.

Smile

I remember when this book came out around ten years ago because I literally saw it everywhere. I don’t remember graphic novels being as huge at the time, and as someone who strictly read contemporary YA at the time, I never picked it up. Now that I’m older, I have expanded my reading, and recently, I’ve been trying to pick up more books targeted for middle grade.

In the past few years, I’ve read quite a few graphic novels that I enjoyed, like El Deafo by Cece Bell and Best Friends by Shannon Hale, both of which are graphic novel memoirs. I was pleasantly surprised that Smile is also a graphic novel memoir, as I didn’t know this when it became popular so long ago. While Smile isn’t my favorite graphic novel, I still think it has a valuable message as well as relatable characters for the graphic novel’s target audience.

As someone who has never had braces, or any major dental work besides removing my wisdom teeth, I appreciated how Telgemeier explained a lot of the dental work that she received in this book. While I’ve seen other people get braces, I have never personally felt the physical pain that they can cause or how they may affect how someone feels about their appearance. I think Telgemeier’s explanations, especially regarding her emotions on her appearance, makes the book relatable to many readers. Even if you have never had braces, in middle school there are a lot of people who feel self conscious about how they look for a multitude of reasons, and it is comforting to read that you’re not the only person who felt that way.

I also enjoyed how Raina grew as a person throughout her experience with braces and as a student in middle school. At the beginning of the graphic novel, Raina’s “friends” frequently make fun of her and walk all over her. However, as she grows older and gains more confidence, she stands up for herself and becomes more comfortable in her skin. Even though this book doesn’t take place in 2020, it is still a relevant message that is important for young readers to hear.

Overall, Smile is a quick read with a relatable and positive message for young readers. While it wasn’t my favorite graphic novel, it is still a solid story, especially for the target audience. I give Smile three out of five stars and I look forward to checking out more graphic novels by this author.

Summer Lovin’ Book Tag

Since summer vacation is about halfway over, I thought it would be the perfect time to complete the Summer Lovin’ Book Tag. I am not sure who started this tag, but if you know, please tell me in the comments so I can give them credit. Here are my answers:

  • Start of Summer: Pick a book with an attention-grabbing first line
Beach Read

This book didn’t have a memorable first line, however, I do think the first chapter did a great job of introducing the main character and pulling me in with a strong voice. While I wasn’t a huge fan of the rest of the novel, I did think the first chapter was strong.

Beach Read follows January, a romance writer, who spends the summer at her recently deceased father’s beach home in Michigan where she encounters August, a literary fiction writer and former college rival. After they run into each other, January and August hold a competition to see how can write better in the other’s genre.

  • Too Hot to Go Out: Pick a book for a day in
Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle, #1)

Aurora Rising is a long book, so it is the perfect book to spend the day inside reading. I really enjoyed Aurora Rising for the fun cast of characters and Guardians of the Galaxy-esque style story, however, I was less impressed with the sequel, Aurora Burning, released earlier this year.

Aurora Rising follows Aurora, who wakes up 200 years after she was cryogenically frozen on her way to a space colony. In the future, Aurora learns that the government is keeping the colony a secret for unknown reasons.

  • Summer Road Trip: Pick a book you’d take on the road
Starry Eyes

Starry Eyes doesn’t feature a road trip, but it does feature a hiking trip with some breathtaking descriptions of the scenery. While I’m not the biggest fan of aspects in Jenn Bennett’s earlier works, I always appreciate her attention to detail in the setting.

In Starry Eyes, Zorie and Lennon, once best friends and now enemies, go on a camping trip with friends. When abandoned by their friends, Zorie and Lennon decide to hike in the California forests to reach a stargazing event.

  • Ice Tea Goodness: Pick a book with a cold setting
Tweet Cute

I don’t think it is necessarily cold in this book, but it does take place in New York City, which does get cold and this book did release this past January. That being said, Tweet Cute is a fun contemporary that is perfect to read any time of the year.

Tweet Cute follows Pepper and Jack, the daughter and son of rival business owners, who battle it out on Twitter after the chain restaurant owned by Pepper’s family steals a recipe from the small business of Jack’s family.

  • Nasty Sunburn: A book you really disliked (so far) this year
The Wedding Party (The Wedding Date, #3)

I had high hopes for The Wedding Party because I read The Proposal the year before and really enjoyed it for being a realistic romance. Unfortunately for me, I was disappointed by the inconsistent characters, underdeveloped romance, and all-over-the-place plot in this one.

The Wedding Party follows Maddie and Theo after they are chosen to be in a mutual friend’s wedding party. Although Maddie and Theo claim to dislike each other, they start a secret relationship.

  • Sizzling Summer Reads: Recommend one of your favorite books (this year)
Always Never Yours

I am not someone who typically enjoys books about acting or plays, so I was pleasantly surprised when this became one of my earliest five star reads this year. I especially appreciated the main character in this book, who was extremely outgoing and bold.

Always Never Yours follows Megan Harper, who inadvertently lands the lead role in her school’s production of Romeo and Juliet. However, Megan more identifies with Rosaline, as she always dates guys right before they find their true loves.

What activity do you love to do in the summer?

From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks Review

From the desk of Brittany, I give this book five out of five stars.

From the Desk of Zoe Washington follows Zoe Washington, a middle student and aspiring baker, who receives a letter from her father in prison on her twelfth birthday. Zoe’s never communicated with her father, so in secret, Zoe starts sending him letters. When Zoe’s father tells her he is innocent in a letter, Zoe becomes determined to find evidence that will overturn the guilty verdict.

From the Desk of Zoe Washington

As I mentioned in my Front Desk review earlier this month, I love middle grade that perfectly balances tough topics with a lot of heart. Like with Front Desk, From the Desk of Zoe Washington also presented readers with difficult, relevant issues, with a spunky protagonist who stands up for other people.

One aspect of this book that I think this author nailed was how she discussed the prison system in this country and how many innocent people are imprisoned every year due to factors outside of their control. For example, Zoe’s father couldn’t afford a lawyer when he was convicted, so the state appointed him one. Consequently, the lawyer wasn’t invested in Zoe’s case, to the point where he wouldn’t track down a witness to confirm her father’s alibi. As a result, her father was wrongfully convicted of murder. Marks exposes readers of all ages to a relevant issue in our country, which can generate conversations surrounding this topic for readers of all ages.

Another aspect of middle grade that I enjoy is a spunky protagonist with a lot of heart, which is the perfect description of Zoe. Although Zoe has experienced racism, she never knew that it extended into the prison system in our country. Once Zoe learns about this issue, she will do whatever it takes to stand up for what is right. Additionally, Zoe wants to be a famous baker. Even though no Black girl has ever won a baking competition on television, she puts in hard work to achieve her dream by helping out at a local bakery. I think many readers will admire Zoe’s determination to reach her dreams and her persistence help other people.

Overall, From the Desk of Zoe Washington was another great middle grade book that I’ve read this year. I give this book five out of five stars.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Make Me Smile

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is books that make me smile. I am someone who loves to read fun, light-hearted contemporary books, so I am never short on books that make me smile. Here are some of my favorites:

  • P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
P.S. I Like You

P.S. I Like You is like your favorite, feel-good high school movie. Even though it is a little cliche and tropey, it is still easy to read and fun. P.S. I Like You follows Lily, who writes letters back and forth to a classmate who responds to lyrics that she writes on her desk in science class.

  • The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
The Unexpected Everything

The Unexpected Everything is a cute summer read with a fun cast of characters and really cute dogs! Morgan Matson always writes great coming-of-age stories, so if you enjoy that type of story, you will appreciate the character development within this book. The Unexpected Everything follows Andi who takes a job walking dogs when her summer internship falls through due to her father’s potential involvement in a political scandal.

  • The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
The Truth About Forever

The Truth About Forever has a memorable cast of characters with a lot of heart. It makes me smile to see how Macy grows as a character and watching her family come back together after the death of her father. The Truth About Forever follows Macy, who lives a very controlled life after her father’s death when she encounters a catering company full of imperfectly perfect friends.

  • A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)

This is the first fantasy book on my list, but I had to include it because I found myself smiling so many times during the interactions between Feyre and Rhysand. A Court of Mist and Fury is the second book in the A Court of Thorn and Roses series where Feyre, a poor human, is taken captive by a faerie after she shoots and kills a faerie disguised as a wolf.

  • Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West
Love, Life, and the List (Love, Life, and the List, #1)

All of my favorite Kasie West’s books make me smile, and while this one is a little more angsty than most, happy endings always make me smile. I also smiled when the main character, Abby, finally stood up for herself to Cooper. Love, Life, and the List follows aspiring artist Abby who creates a list to gain more life experience in order to improve her art which she completes with her best friend Cooper, a boy that she likes but her doesn’t like her back.

  • Cress by Marissa Meyer
Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)

Cress and Thorne are two of my favorite characters from The Lunar Chronicles, so of course, the story that focuses on their story would have to be one of my favorites in the series. I especially liked one of the ending scenes in this book, which made me smile, because it came full circle from a line earlier in the book. Cress is part of The Lunar Chronicles which follows Cinder, who is part cyborg, after she is forced to participate in a study by her evil stepmother to cure a deadly plague.

  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)

Like with P.S. I Like You, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the perfect high school romantic comedy. The movie version of this book especially makes me smile because it is a great adaptation of the original story. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before follows Lara Jean, a shy high school student whose secret love letters get sent out to boys at her school.

  • This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
This Lullaby

There are so many aspects of This Lullaby that make me smile. I enjoy Dexter’s character and how Remy and Dexter compliment each other so well in a relationship. This Lullaby follows Remy, whose relationship rules are threatened when she meets Dexter, a sweet and clumsy musician.

  • Secrets of My Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita
Secrets of My Hollywood Life (Secrets of My Hollywood Life, #1)

When I was younger, I absolutely loved this series by Jen Calonita. Not only does the writing make me smile, but like many other books on this list, it was like reading a high school romantic comedy movie. Secrets of My Hollywood Life follows Kaitlin Burke, a famous actress who goes undercover as a normal teenager in high school.

  • It’s a Mall World After All by Janette Rallison
It's a Mall World After All

No matter how many times I read this book, I find myself laughing every single time, which I don’t typically do in books. It’s a Mall World After All follows Charlotte, who spies on her best friend’s boyfriend when she suspects him of cheating, but she keeps running into the boyfriend’s annoying, but cute best friend who is also her rival.

What are some books that make you smile?

Follow me on…

Twitter

Instagram

Goodreads

Kindle Book Haul (July 2020)

Over the past few months, I have downloaded several books to pass the time that I’ve been spending at home. Here’s what I downloaded (any book with a book review on my blog will be linked to the book’s title):

  • How to Draw Manga: Basics and Beyond by Manga University
How to Draw Manga: Basics and Beyond!

Over quarantine, I started watching a lot of drawing videos because I recently got an iPad and downloaded Procreate, a digit art app. While I was having fun exploring the app and corresponding tag on Instagram, I was struggling to draw pieces that I liked.

As a result, I searched for drawing books on Amazon and this fit the style that I wanted to learn to draw more successfully. This book definitely helped me with proportions as well as learning how to draw some specific aspects of this style. While I can’t say that I reference this book every time I draw, it was beneficial for me to download. However, I do think I would have preferred a print version, as it is difficult to navigate on my Kindle and difficult to switch back and forth while I’m drawing on my iPad.

Front Desk (Front Desk, #1)

Front Desk has received many positive reviews and I’ve been interested in reading it for awhile. I’ve been looking forward to picking up middle grade again, so I decided to download it. As I expected, I really enjoyed this middle grade novel and look forward to reading the next installment in the series.

Front Desk follows Mia Tang, an immigrant to the United States from China, who moves with her parents to California where they manage a hotel under a mean owner. Through her experiences as the hotel, Mia learns to stand up for herself and others when she sees discrimination. She also refuses to give up on her dream, which is to become a writer.

Beach Read

I heard nothing but positive review about Beach Read, which was marketed as a summer romance about two rival writers who challenge each other to write in the other’s preferred genre. I definitely suffered from expectations vs. reality for this read because it is very different in tone than the synopsis and marketing suggests, as it much darker and serious than expected. As a result, this book was only an average read for me.

Starry Eyes

I picked up Starry Eyes because the main characters go camping and I wanted something summery, but not beachy to read. This is one of Jenn Bennett’s earlier books and I much prefer her later books, so there were some elements in this book that fell flat for me. However, I was looking for a very atmospheric read, which this book delivered.

Starry Eyes follows ex-best friends Zorie and Lennon who get roped into a camping trip with some frenemies. When abandoned on the trip by the others, Zorie and Lennon decide to hike their way to a stargazing event through the California wilderness.

  • Live by Sadie Robertson
Live

This is an advice style book by Sadie Robertson. In these types of books, she usually discusses situations that she’s faced in her life and how her Christian faith has played a role in those situations. I do have the other advice style books she has written, so I decided to pick this one up as well.

  • The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise
The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise

I’ve seen the cover of this book as well as a few positive reviews of this book, although I do not know much about it. From reading the synopsis, there are some elements that I will probably like, such as a rag tag crew of characters. However, it also gives me Kate DeCamillo feelings, which is a style that I’m not really a fan of, so I don’t know what my expectations are regarding this book. That being said, I usually really like books that I least expect, which makes me excited to read this one.

This book follows Coyote, who tries to secretly get her father to drive them back to where she used to live, which is also where her mom and sisters died in an accident, before their neighborhood is demolished.

What books have you hauled recently?

Follow me on…

Twitter

Instagram

Goodreads

The Baby-Sitter’s Club Netflix Series Review

Need a new show to watch?

Netflix’s newest books-to-movie adaptation, the 10-episode The Baby-Sitter’s Club serves as the perfect modern adaptation of the beloved children’s book series. When Kristy’s mom needs a sitter, but can’t find one, she comes up with a great idea: one place for parents to call where they can reach several babysitters at once. The series follows Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, Stacey, and Dawn as they take on challenging babysitting jobs and major life changes during their middle school years.

Was the series adapted well?

Whenever a book is adapted into a movie or television series, readers always wonder how everything they love about their favorite series will translate onto the big screen. The Baby-Sitter’s Club, a series that lasted between 1986 and 2000, brought excitement to many readers when the series was announced, as well as many questions. Could this series reach a modern audience?

This Netflix series perfectly balanced playing homage to the original characters and storylines of the original series, but also updating the characters and the content for a modern audience. Every character maintains true to their personality in the book, especially how they react to current events, such as activism. Every episode of the series, each thirty minutes long, follows one of the original series (however, I can’t remember if episodes 9 and 10 appear anywhere in The BSC timeline) with slight plot changes to make the series more relevant.

How is the casting?

There are few book-to-movie adaptation where I can say every single member of the casting is spot-on. In fact, the only time where I’ve ever thought the casting was near perfect was The Hunger Games franchise. Like with The Hunger Games, the casting for this Netflix show set the bar high for other book-to-movie adaptation.

Every actor, from the main members of the BSC to the side characters like Karen and Kristy’s stepfather, completely embodied their role and brought the characters from the book to life. As each episode balances humor and emotion well, every actor balances the humor and emotion of their characters as well. For me, each character felt like a real person, not like someone just playing a part on a television show. I also appreciated that Netflix diversified the cast of main characters.

My Last Thoughts

This book-to-movie adaptation will please fans of the original series, as well as children in the show’s target audience. I can see the original Baby-Sitter’s Club series, as well as the graphic novels, growing in popularity after the release of this series and many young children wanting to be like the characters on this show. I give this series five out of five stars.