All of her books have been a little hard for me to get into I have to reach a certain point in the story before I am totally immersed. Now I have to say: While Bindy isn't my favourite in the Ashbury series, I am still very, very glad I read it. From the outside, Bindy is a very hard character to like. I loved seeing Bindy change throughout the year, discover new things about her character and learn her story through past diary entries.
1/3 of the way through, you're rooting for Bindy and frowning upon the other characters that we loved in the other books. It's got all this misery in it, see, and yet still manages to make you smile like an idiot.
Now imagine reading 491 pages of Lea Michele's diary. I loved the first two books in the Ashbury series. I have no respect for it.What I didn't like was the minutiae of her life carefully transcribed on the 200 pages prior. Full disclosure: I've only watched two episodes of Glee, both times against my will. In fairness to Lea Michele, I thought everyone was annoying.
4.5 stars As Bindy would say, I devoured this book. What I loved about this book was that it didn't perpetuate the negative you-must-change-everything-about-yourself-to-get-what-you-want message, but it was realistic about Bindy's flawed, unlikeable but oddly endearing personality: it didn't make her (m)any friends. I know that Jaclyn Moriarty doesn't redo this until Dreaming of Amelia, but I miss her multiple narrators, especially her boys! :D): Bindy is such a full-on narrator, so idiosyncratic and relentless, and that is very enjoyable, but such an extreme personality. However, while Bindy is extremely endearing to the reader, Moriarty is also a great writer for showing us exactly why her classmates dislike her so much. While I was desperately flipping to the next page, I couldn't help saying to myself "would you want to be friends with Bindy Mackenzie?" The truth is, although we are similar in many ways, at the start of the book, I would not. However, contributing towards that half-star off perfect score, I couldn't feel for Astrid. This section of the book more than earned the half-star, but because of issues mentioned above, I can't really give this the perfect five. Wow. The last section of the book was 5-star all the way with me, because it literally had me a) rocking backwards and forwards in fear for Bindy; b) gasping at the brilliance of every plot twist; c) panicking about what was going to happen next; d) going "JACLYN MORIARTY I WANT TO DANCE AROUND IN YOUR BRAIN FOR YOUR INTELLIGENCE/BRILLIANCE/WRITING TALENT." When Bindy was writing the letter to Finnegan, I was screaming for her. The supporting cast really came into their own (save for Astrid), and I LOVED it when Sergio *climbed the school* to try and save Bindy.
"The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie" is my favorite Moriarty novel so far. I am looking forward to the next Moriarty novel which is out this year and, surprise-surprise, set in Ashbury High and has many of my old favorites in it.
And I liked it - and especially Bindy - although it was completely lacking Moriarty's trademark humor, the healthy dose of romance I normaly crave in each and every young adult book, and - with the exception from the end and a few letter responses from teachers, parents and officials - the use of multiple points of view, which you quickly start taking for granted after having read one or two of Jaclyn Moriarty's funnily gleaming literary gems. Note on the series: I have not read the Ashbury books in the chronological order and I don't think you have to. I will go and order The Spell Book of Listen Taylor, because it feels like a crime not to read a book that the author has published.
I love-love-love Jaclyn Moriarty but this book...
Also, the epistolary style she used to such great effect in her other books doesn't work here because we're reading just Bindy's writings almost exclusively until near the end of the book, which feels pointless - why not just use a standard narrative if all we're getting is Bindy's own musings?
With this installment in the Ashbury/Brookfield Series, Moriarty follows the tale of Bindy Mackenzie, a top student whose life is slowly turning upside down. For another, there's a strange new class called Friendship and Development (FAD) in which Bindy is stuck with the Venomous Seven. Sadly, what really prevented me from giving this book a higher rating - despite the fact that I teared up during a scene or two and completely LOVED the growth arc of this novel - was the "murder" plot. I feel as if this is a very natural direction for many teens to take and loved that Bindy's isolation from everything - even school, which she formerly excelled in - was a part of this novel. I do think Feeling Sorry for Celia is a slightly stronger story overall - and I loved seeing Elizabeth re-appear in this novel and witnessing the direction her story arc took was enriching - but The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie is certainly a worthy piece of YA Fiction.
The children's librarian at my library has been recommending this for months, and it finally floated to the top of my to-read pile. She constantly types on her laptop-transcripts of conversations of the people around her, philosophical musings and a general record of what's going on in her life. The format of this book took some getting used to-it's Bindy's transcripts, philosophical musings and memos for a large chunk of the book, until she is later on the receiving end of the memos.