The Good, the Bad, and the Bossy
The Good, the Bad, and the Bossy

Series: Best Babysitters Ever Vol. 2   

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Annotation: Being a boss isn't all it's cracked up to be. Just when Malia, Dot, and Bree (a.k.a. the Best Babysitters Ever) corner the Playa Del Mar babysitting market, their lives get even busier.
Catalog Number: #182754
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 292 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-328-85090-0
ISBN 13: 978-1-328-85090-4
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2018051355
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Kirkus Reviews
In this follow-up to Best Babysitters Ever (2019), Malia, Bree, and Dot need money to go see their favorite pop star in concert. Problem is, these middle schoolers don't have time to increase their babysitting service hours to earn it.Malia is forced into an internship with her evil older sister and an even more demanding boss. Bree has just adopted a ferocious cat that she has to watch at all times to prevent it from destroying the entire house. Dot has to get ready for the big science fair. To solve their concert fundraising problem, Malia comes up with the idea to subcontract to "satellite" sitters who can babysit in their place while paying them a percentage. After training their new recruits, the girls soon realize it's more complicated than they imagined. With third-person perspective shifting chapter by chapter, the girls struggle with their responsibilities while slowly regretting their decision as they discover that the satellite sitters threaten to replace their bosses in the hearts of their charges. With lessons smoothly woven into the storytelling—Bree's cat's psychotherapist has advice that applies amazingly well to humans, for instance—the narrative neatly balances humor and wisdom. The book's cover shows Malia to be black, Dot to be white, and Bree to have light brown skin and long, dark hair.This smart, humorous tale should inspire girls to dream big, experiment, and problem-solve through challenges. (Fiction. 10-12)
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Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal
Reading Level: 5.0
Interest Level: 4-7
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.4 / points:12.0 / quiz:Q77085
Lexile: 720L
Guided Reading Level: V

Chapter One


Sometimes, if she tried really hard, Malia Twiggs could remember a time when she thought boogers were gross. It's not that she currently liked boogers--she hadn't gotten an entirely new personality or anything--but in the months since starting her own babysitting club, she had definitely learned to make peace with them. It was amazing, really, the limitless boundaries of personal growth.
      "Don't worry about a thing!" Malia yelled, waving across the yard to her best friends and fellow babysitters, Bree Robinson and Dot Marino. "I've got this situation under control."
      The situation at hand was a crying Jonah Gregory, their four-year-old babysitting charge who had just tripped while chasing a butterfly. The damage seemed to be two skinned knees and a lot of tears but, thankfully, nothing else.
      Bree offered a little salute and Dot nodded before they turned their attention back to the other three Gregory children.
      Malia calmly guided Jonah across the yard and into the house. As a now-experienced babysitter, she knew exactly how to clean and bandage his scraped knees, tell a goofy joke to put an end to the tears, and, yes, do away with his crying-induced snot.
      "BUT IT HUWTS!" yelled Jonah, who could not yet pronounce the r sound.
      "I know it hurts, but look how brave you are," Malia said, expertly applying a Band-Aid emblazoned with smiling cartoon rabbits. "And now that you're all patched up, I have a surprise for you."
      Jonah continued to pout.
      "You get to have ice cream!"
      At the mention of a frozen treat, Jonah's small, chubby face visibly brightened.
      Babysitting had taught Malia many things, including how easily little children could be bribed with snacks, how willing they were to believe whatever an older person told them, and, last but certainly not least, how nice it was to buy things with your own money. But on a deeper level, babysitting had shown her what it meant to transform. One day, you could be a regular seventh-grader with no crisis management skills whatsoever, and then, before you knew it, there you were: herding four children around a home, all while making grilled cheeses, breaking up a fight, and negotiating nap time like it was nothing. For Malia (who, before the club, had always struggled with school and sports and every activity known to man), being good at something felt really, really nice.
      Malia and Jonah made their way back to the yard.
      "What? How come you get ice cream?" yelled eight-year-old Fawn, the oldest Gregory child, upon seeing Jonah's chocolate-dipped cone. She angrily crossed her arms.
      "YEAH!" echoed Plum and Piper, the six-year-old Gregory twins. "Not fair!"
      "Don't worry, I brought enough for everyone," said Malia, holding the box aloft.
      "Not so fast. Everyone has to sit down before they can have some," said Bree with authority. As one of five siblings, Bree was an expert at dealing with little kids and generally navigating chaos. Immediately, everyone sat, and Dot distributed the cones.
      Malia also remembered a time--around the same point when boogers were enough to trigger a meltdown--when a gig like this would have driven her and her friends over the edge. But now they could watch four children and actually enjoy doing it.
      As the small ones devoured their ice cream, Malia craned her neck to peer over the chain-link fence, trying to catch a glimpse of the neighbors. The house next door was small and blue, with a gray-shingled roof and some spindly evergreen trees dotting the backyard. To most anyone, it looked like a regular old house. But to Malia, it was a place of endless wonder.
      It wasn't the home itself that was magical, but the people who lived there, particularly one Connor Kelly (aka the only boy worth loving). That house was the place where he woke up each morning and played video games and ate waffles. Connor's jeans--the very same jeans he casually stuck his hands in the pockets of--were somewhere inside, along with his backpack and his T-shirts and his bike and his toothbrush. The toothbrush that touched his beautiful smile. Malia shivered. It was almost too much to handle.
      "Any sightings?" asked Dot.
      "Not yet," said Malia. But there was still hope.
      For years, Malia had watched Connor float through the halls of Playa del Mar's public school system the same way her older sister watched the shoe sales at the local mall--with a laser focus. But now, thanks to the Gregory gig, the unthinkable had happened: Malia could observe him in his natural habitat. That is, if he ever came outside.
      "MOM!" yelled the Gregory twins, at the sound of a car in the driveway.
      Mrs. Gregory appeared at the gate, where a peaceful, controlled scene awaited her. This was the magic of babysitting. By this point, Jonah's accident seemed like a distant memory. Any traces of sugar had been discarded. This was a skill they had learned over time--the ways of the artful cleanup. In the early days, the parents might return home to find their children spinning wildly, like sugar-addled tops. But today, all Mrs. Gregory saw were the smiling faces of her four beloved children and the three somewhat older children who had kept them alive and relatively happy for the last few hours.
      "I'll definitely be calling you again soon," said Mrs. Gregory as she counted out a stack of crisp bills. "My sister invited me to a luncheon next weekend, and we'll need someone to watch the kids."
      "Of course!" Malia said.
      "We'd love to," Bree added, nodding so vigorously that her dangling iridescent gemstone earrings twinkled in the light.
      As the girls started down the driveway, Malia saw something from the corner of her eye. It was orange. It was moving. OH MY GOD IT WAS HIM.
      The orange blob was none other than Connor Kelly, sauntering down his front lawn. The only thing standing between them was the Gregorys' chain-link fence (and about a stratosphere's worth of middle school politics, but really, who was counting?). Malia couldn't breathe. Her excitement level was like she'd seen a pop star and a movie star and a YouTube star and an actual star from the sky, all at the same time.
      "Hi!" Malia said, so softly she barely heard it herself. It reminded her of how sometimes, when she ordered at the school cafeteria, some boy would place his order at the exact same moment as she did, but speak way louder, and no one would hear her voice.
      "Hi?" Malia squeaked, a little louder.
      Connor didn't seem to notice.
      "Hi!" Malia said, at a volume that was unfortunately loud. This time Connor looked up.
      "Oh, hey," he said, brushing his floppy hair off his forehead.
      A bird chirped. Malia swore the sun began to shine a little brighter. Or was she just about to pass out? HOW WAS HE REAL?
      "Um, okay," Malia said.
      "Okay what?" Connor said.
      "You know, just saying hi. Hi!"
      "Hi," said Connor.
      In her frequent daydreams of this situation, Malia was bursting with topics to discuss with imaginary Connor. But now, faced with real Connor, she couldn't think of a single thing to say. She glanced awkwardly down at her sneaker. Luckily, Connor interrupted the silence.
      "So, I just found out I'm going to a concert," he said.
      "Right now?" Malia asked. Maybe she could go, too.
      "No, in three weeks," he said. "Veronica's coming to the Arts Center."
      Malia gasped. Veronica (simply "Veronica," no last name necessary) was the biggest superstar imaginable. In the past year, she and her blue hair had skyrocketed to fame unlike anything ever witnessed before. Even Bree had virtually abandoned her love for Taylor Swift when faced with the glory of Veronica.
      "Oh! Yeah, me too," said Malia. The lie escaped before she could realize what was happening.
      Truth be told, Malia had never really caught Veronica fever. She thought Veronica was just okay, with her endless rotating wardrobe and her larger-than-life concerts. But Malia vowed then and there that no matter what it took, she would be at that show. It was the event of a lifetime--not because of Veronica, but because of Connor.
      "Yeah, Charlotte's dad got a box for the concert, and everyone is going," said Connor. "Aidan, Bobby, Violet, Mo . . ."
      "And me!" said Malia, with perhaps a bit too much force. "So I'll definitely see you there."
      "Yeah. Sounds great," said Connor, sweeping his floppy hair away from his perfectly sun-kissed forehead.
      "I can't wait! I mean, to see Veronica. I mean, of course." Malia started walking backward, away from the fence. "Enjoy the rest of your day!" As she tried to scurry away before any more words could escape her mouth, she stumbled over a tiny shrub. She quickly popped back up and retreated in a manner that she hoped looked very calm but feared looked rather rushed and awkward. Malia returned to the sidewalk where her friends were waiting and hoped she wasn't blushing too hard.
      They walked in silence for another block, until they were sure it was safe.
      "Oh my god," Malia stage-whispered. She thought she might hyperventilate.
      "Are you okay?" Dot asked.
      "You guys. There is a Veronica concert in two weeks, and Connor is going," Malia practically exploded.
      Bree stopped in her tracks. "VERONICA?"
      "Clearly, we have to go," Malia concluded.
      "Veronica?" Bree repeated. "Is coming. Here?" She clutched her chest, like she had just been told something very profound.
      "Yes, she's giving a huge concert at the Arts Center," Dot said matter-of-factly. "It was announced weeks ago."
      "THE Veronica. In Playa del Mar." Bree was still trying to make sense of this.
      "I think she's incredibly overhyped." Dot sighed. "I mean, I appreciate how she tries to stand for female empowerment, but her songs are very formulaic."
      "But you listen to her," said Malia, shooting Dot a look. She knew for a fact that it was true.
      "I like to stay up-to-date on popular culture," Dot argued. "I am not, technically, a fan."
      "Yes, and everyone will be there," Malia added. "Including us."
      "We have to go! How much are tickets? How do we buy them? Can we do this now?" Bree spoke, rapid-fire.
      "The concert will probably have a decent concession stand," Dot conceded.
      "And it will give me so much to talk about with Connor," Malia said wistfully. "Something to really connect over."
      "How close do you think we can get? WHAT IF I COULD HUG HER OR EVEN JUST TOUCH HER HAND?" Bree continued to talk at a heightened volume.
      "That's exactly how I feel about Connor," Malia said.
      "Malia." Bree stopped in her tracks, and grabbed Malia by the shoulders. "We are talking about VERONICA. Like, an actual angel that is coming to our town to grace us with her presence. This is so much bigger than Connor."
      "I'll never understand what you see in him," said Dot. "He seems very . . . one-dimensional."
      "He doesn't even have any pets," Bree added.
      Malia just sighed. Ordinarily, her friends were always on the same page, but when it came to matters of the heart, Malia was used to being on her own. Love was so far beyond reason. It was meant to be experienced, not understood.
      First, though, she would have to experience this concert. Malia didn't care what it took. She would babysit every day--heck, she would babysit every hour--until that concert rolled around. She was going to be there, and it was going to be amazing.

Excerpted from The Good, the Bad, and the Bossy by Caroline Cala
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Being a boss isn't all it's cracked up to be in the second book of the Best Babysitters Ever series. Perfect for fans of Rachel Vail and Sarah Mlynowski. Just when Malia, Dot, and Bree (aka the Best Babysitters Ever) corner the Playa Del Mar babysitting market, their lives get even busier. Malia's evil older sister ropes her into a thankless internship. Dot must win the science fair. And Bree's brand new cat turns out to be a holy terror. Meow! Malia is frustrated by the group's lack of commitment until she has an idea so great it rivals the creation of the club in the first place: they can hire new babysitters and take a cut of their wages! It's all of the money, and less of the babysitting. This plan is too perfect to fail. Until--spoiler alert--it does, in the most hilarious way possible.

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