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Literature / The Murder Of Bindy Mackenzie

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I have never spoken to Bindy, but I am sure that behind her extremely annoying personality she is a beautiful human being.
A bit too smart.
You can't help who you are, Bindy, and maybe you will change this year? Good luck with Year 11. I think you will change.
Bindy wears her hair weird even tho people talk about it behind her back. I'd change my hair, but that's Bindy for you, she's got guts.
She's a fast typist.
Well, what can you say about Bindy? Hmm. Did somebody say the word 'SMART'???? Bindy! You have words in your head that would be too long to fit in anyone else's head! Because you have SUCH A HUGE HEAD!! Just kidding!! (kind of)
Bindy Mackenzie talks like a horse.
Bindy Mackenzie's Name Game
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The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie (originally released in Australia as The Betrayal of Bindy Mackenzie and also released in the UK as Becoming Bindy Mackenzie) is a young-adult novel written by Jaclyn Moriarty. This novel is the third in Jaclyn Moriarty's Ashbury-Brookfield series, following Feeling Sorry for Celia and The Year of Secret Assignments, and preceding The Ghosts of Ashbury High. Like the others, it is an Epistolary Novel, written in the form of letters, emails, Philosophical Musings, etc.

Bindy Mackenzie is the best student at Ashbury High. She's just entering Year 11, and expects it to be the most important year so far of her academic career. She isn't pleased to have an hour of her time taken up each week with 'FAD' - 'Friendship and Development', meant to serve as a 'life raft' for students through the year. Bindy finds herself in a group with fellow students she doesn't exactly fit in with, including:

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  • Briony Atkins: a cripplingly shy girl.
  • Sergio Sabanote : a dark and mysterious boy with a burn scar on his cheek.
  • Tony Mazzerati: Class clown type.
  • Astrid Bexonville: a popular girl who Bindy resents.
  • Emily Thompson: co-protagonist of The Year of Secret Assignments, who Bindy regards as a drama queen.
  • Elizabeth Clarry: protagonist of Feeling Sorry for Celia, who Bindy knows as an athlete.
  • Finnegan Blonde: a new student from Queensland, who Bindy is partnered with as 'buddies' within the group. He is the only one of Bindy's FAD group she likes.

The group is asked to perform the 'Name Game', where each of them writes something anonymously about each other. Bindy's is unpleasant, and she snaps. She plans to take revenge on her FAD group, by exposing the ugliness of their souls - this plan goes awry, especially given Bindy's gradually deteriorating physical and mental health...

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Tropes:

  • Animal Motifs: Bindy associates the FAD group with venemous/poisonous animals as part of her revenge plan. Later, while trying to atone, she associates them with more positive ones.
    • Emily: A komodo dragon. later, a northern hairy-nosed wombat.
    • Briony: A sea-cucumber. later, a fly river turtle.
    • Toby: A cane toad. later, a woodpecker.
    • Elizabeth: A Queen Alexandra's birdwing butterfly. later, a Camargue horse.
    • Sergio: A platypus. subverted later - she calls him an extraordinary young man.
    • Astrid: A sea wasp. Bindy never actually chooses a positive animal for her.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing / Evil All Along: Try.
  • Broken Ace: Bindy becomes this over the the course of the novel.
  • Character Development: By the end of the novel, Bindy has come to terms with the fact that she is a teenager, that her parents are separating, and that, despite her intelligence, she doesn't have all the answers. And that's OK.
  • Chekhov's Armoury: Damn near everything, from the old books on etiquette Bindy keeps quoting from, to Maureen taking a holiday, proves to be relevant.
    • Bindy has a habit of transcribing and saving every conversation that takes place in her general vicinity, and these files make up a good part of the novel. This habit is what made her a murder target.
  • Coming-of-Age Story:
  • Denser and Wackier: the previous two novels had some dense wackiness, but still more or less revolved around realistic high school problems. The climax of this one revolves around an cybercrime gang poisoning a teenage schoolgirl.
  • Happy Ending: Bindy survives her poisoning, only being in a week-long coma, and Try is slated to serve 7 years in jail.
  • Heel Realization: Partway through the novel, Bindy realises how arrogant and condescending she's been to her classmates for a long time.
  • Parental Abandonment: Bindy is currently living with her aunt and uncle as her parents have moved into the city without her.
  • Perspective Flip: We see Bindy's perspective on the whole "Matthew Dunlop" incident from The Year of Secret Assignments.
  • Pet's Homage Name: Bindy actually suggests this as a study tip.
    BINDY MACKENZIE'S STUDY TIPS #6
    Rename your pets.
    Say you have a dog and a goldfish?
    Rename your dog Nicholas II.
    Every time you see him, say, "Hello there, Tsar Nicholas! Thinking about the 1825 Decembrists' Revolt and the 1861 Emancipation of the Serfs and how they affected your reign? How about Alexander II, eh? Swimming around in the aquarium there? What do you think of him?
  • Verbal Tic: Bindy peppers her speech with the word "nay." Turns out that's what the "talks like a horse" thing was about.
  • Wham Episode: The last 100 or so pages, which is when the book starts kicking into high gear by means of action and emotion when Bindy starts suffering from her arsenic poisoning.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Bindy and Toby.

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