The Betrayal of Bindy MacKenzie
Jaclyn Moriarty
465 pages, published 2006

My strategy is simple. First, I will contact the highest authority and expose the travesty, nay the crime, of Friendship and Development. Second, I will gradually decipher the true nature of each of the Venomous Seven, and will hold up a mirror to their souls. (The blood-curdling screams that will follow!) (It will do them good.) Third, I will attend the next Friendship and Development class and I will speak the truth. Words that have been left unsaid throughout my life will roll like a rich red carpet from my tongue!

I can scarcely wait. (13)

The Betrayal of Bindy MacKenzie is the third book in Jaclyn Moriarty's loose trilogy (preceeded/companioned by Feeling Sorry for Celia and Finding Cassie Crazy) and, I'd have to say, probably the best of the lot.

Bindy MacKenzie is most dedicated of students. She receives (unfailingly) the best grade on every assessment, she tops every class, and is even "generous" enough to offer study tips to her fellow classmates to help them along in their own studies even though, she admits to herself, it's not likely to help much.

Being as conscientious as she is, the inclusion of a new 'Friendship and Development' class to be run during her free (by that she means study) periods, is not well received - as she quite firmly (and repeatedly) inform the Board of Studies. Assigned to a group of students she would never normally socialise with - those she comes to refer to as the 'Venemous Seven' - Bindy is forced to come realise everyone's true perceptions of her. Strangely enough, not everyone seems to appreciate her generosity and dedication to the education of herself and her peers.

Then Bindy's world starts to fall apart. Suddenly she's not feeling herself (but she simply just doesn't have time to be ill), her grades start to slip, and her life is taken up by her revenge on, and later redemption with, her FAD group. But what is the cause of all this? Is someone out to get Bindy?

Jaclyn Moriarty's unusal narrative style always guarantees a fun read. Except this time, told almost entirely through the diary/memo/'philosophical musings' of the one character, Bindy MacKenzie, the reader is faced with the strange experience of reading the book through the voice of a character who, for most of the book, is entirely unlikeable. Bindy MacKenzie is short tempered, vindictive and somewhat arrogant; there are times when you just want to shake her ... but at the same time you can't help but want to read on. Gradually you are given further insights into her upbringing and environment that make you understand a little more how she has come to be how she is but even so, it's no real wonder that she has difficulty making friends. Overall a really enjoyable read - highly recommended, a must for Jaclyn Moriarty fans or those who enjoy unusual narrative. 4/5

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