105 Ways to Give a Book

School Bells Ringing

’Tis the season of starting at a new school. Especially the dreaded middle school, where everything seems to suddenly change. Today Fuse#8 reviewed a new great girl book on this very topic, Shug. I also reviewed it in June and highly recommend it. But if you’re looking for something new, with a little edge, you might try looking down under for an Australian title.

Being BindyBeing Bindy, by Alyssa Brugman, is the story of a girl heading into eighth grade and suddenly losing her best friend. Janey has been with Bindy since kindergarten, but she is interested in hanging out with the faster — and meaner — Hannah now. After involving Bindy in a outing with boys — a total surprise for Bindy — Janey drops her totally. Bindy finds an unlikely friend in the boy she was unexpectedly paired with, James, and finds some strength and depth in her brother as well. It doesn’t help that her father is finding an interest in Janey’s mother or that Bindy’s own mother is so hard for Bindy to get close to.

It’s a pretty standard girl-losing-best-friend-to-mean-crowd, but the Australian slang gives it a little more juice. It seems so much cooler then our lame American slang. Plus, the author could be making it up and I wouldn’t be the wiser.
“Dobber,” she said.
“I didn’t dob. I didn’t have to. It was obvious that it was you,” I said.
It is also well-written, really capturing the nature of the tween girl. I love this scene very early in the book, as Janey insinuates herself into the “in” crowd:
So we headed over to them and Janey started chatting away. “What have you guys been doing? How did you do in that science test?” And then her bag just casually slipped off her shoulder onto the ground. Janey kept talking as though she hadn’t noticed. “What are you picking for sport? Ice-skating? Really.”

Janey was talking, talking and she bent down a little bit so she could hear what they were saying, and before too long they’d all shimmied up a little bit so she could sit down.

I was left standing at the edge of the court by myself, with my bag on my back, looking like a chump. Janey didn’t even notice. She was too busy yakking it up about sport selections.
I could totally see that scene in front of me, and feel Bindy’s torment. Overall, Being Bindy is an enjoyable, interesting book about growing up, with some family issues thrown in as a little bonus.

1 comment:

Little Willow said...

I really enjoy Brugman's books. Have you read her others yet?