Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Murder of Bindy MacKenzie

The Murder of Bindy MacKenzie
by Jaclyn Moriarty
Companion book to The Year of Secret Assignments

Bindy Mackenzie is the smartest girl at Ashbury High. She memorizes class outlines to help her teachers. She records transcripts of everything said around her. She offers helpful critiques for her fellow students. And she wears crazy nail polish to show she's a free spirit.

But then Bindy's life begins to fall apart. She can't stop feeling sleepy and she fails an exam for the first time ever. And--worst of all--she just doesn't care. What could be the cause of all these strange events? Is it conspiracy? Is it madness? Is it . . . murder?

Lots of people hate Bindy Mackenzie--but who would actually want to kill her? The answer is in Bindy's transcripts. The detectives are her fellow students. But Bindy has made every one of them into an enemy . . . and time is running out. (description from

As with The Year of Secret Assignments Moriarty's companion book is made up of letters...or in this case, memos. Here there are also emails, philosophical musings, and Bindy's favorite pastime...transcripts. I love getting to learn a story through people's written interactions. I think it's really interesting and fascinating in the modern world with so many possible forms of written interaction.

In fact, when I "read" this book, it was actually as an audio book and this is one case where I really feel that you get more out of reading the text. There were parts where the narrator had to emphasize words in strange ways in order to let the listener know that something was different in the written form, but she could not explain it. It definitely felt in spots like you were missing a whole layer to the story. I actually ended up picking up the book afterwards to flip through and visually explore the text.

Anyway, the story ended up being fascinating. After I got past my slight confusion at the beginning of the text and after I got past Bindy's slightly overbearing personality, I got totally sucked into the plot. As more and more was revealed about Bindy's life, her relationship with fellow students, her secrets, I became enthralled. From the outside, I was as put off as her fellow classmates, but once I'd gotten her back story, once she'd opened up, I actually empathized a lot with Bindy. I remember quite a few times that my reactions to classmates and groups were just the same as hers. I hope I wasn't quite as superior sounding!

With the way that Bindy appears to be slowly losing her mind - a stress induced condition - it was really, really intriguing to consider the possibility that Bindy might actually be in danger. That someone wants to kill her. I loved how it all wound together in the end. The way that her classmates and family end up helping Bindy was really satisfying, too. Very well done.

Full disclosure: Audio book received to review for SLJ

No comments:

Post a Comment