Point Horror: “The Babysitter,” by R.L. Stine (1989)

R.L. Stine is a notoriously formulaic author, and the majority of the narrative structure he follows in his young adult horror books seems to have originated in this Point Horror series entry. All his usual tricks are here: The well-established atmosphere, the page-turning suspense filled with red herrings and false alarms, and the responsible, thoughtful protagonist. It’s rather obvious who the villain is throughout the novel, but somehow it makes the book more effective, adding an element of ever-present menace to the character’s interactions with protagonist Jenny. The climax is one of Point Horror’s most famous, and it’s not hard to see why, given its ominous denouement and its surprisingly dark roots. One of the most satisfying of the series.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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