Being Bindy, by Alyssa Brugman

Bindy and Janey have been friends forever. So when Janey starts acting strangely, Bindy has no idea what she’s in for. Suddenly Janey wants to hang out with Hannah more than with Bindy. That wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t seem to want to make Bindy look bad in front of the whole school.

Bindy can barely recognise her best friend any more. Janey is suddenly into boys, makeup, shirt skirts – even drugs. Bindy still likes to watch the cartoons and play noughts and crosses. Bindy’s dad is no help. He suggests that perhaps it is time for Bindy to broaden her horizons. Her mum is no use either – their regular weekends together are becoming more and more strained.

When Bindy’s dad starts seeing Janey’s mum things become even more complicated. What if they move in together? Bindy would have to share a room with Janey – her ex-best friend.

Being Bindy is funny, sad and moving – but most of all it is very real. The problems faced by Bindy and Janey will touch a nerve with teenage girls. Author Alyssa Brugman doesn’t preach and doesn’t provide easy answers. There is nothing as simple as happily-ever-after – but there is a feeling of hope which makes the novel uplifting but not unrealistic.

This is Brugman’s third novel for young adult readers, although this one is aimed at a slightly younger audience than the previous two. What it does have in common with her earlier offerings is Brugman’s superb blend of insight and writing skill.

Being Bindy, by Alyssa Brugman
Allen & Unwin, 2004