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Bindi Babes    by Narinder Dhami order for
Bindi Babes
by Narinder Dhami
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2004 (2003)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio
* *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Sisters Amber (12), Jazz (11), and Geena (14) Dhillon are called the 'bindi babes' by classmates and friends. They are the coolest, best dressed, and most popular students (with both teachers and peers) at Coppergate Secondary School in London. Their Mum died a year ago; the girls miss her, but they've gone on with their lives. Dad is now more absorbed in his work, including on weekends. He spoils his daughters with most of what they ask for, such as the latest designer labels, up-to-date sneakers, pierced ears, take-in food, and cell phones.

Dad arrives home from his job early one evening to inform the trio that he has invited their 'Auntie' from India to come live with them. The arrangement is not copacetic with the sisters, who get into a frenzy of 'oh no's', she'll just interfere, and we'll just become 'average'. Amber, Jazz, and Geena hatch various schemes to irritate Auntie, but she is always one step ahead of them. Their most brilliant idea is to marry-off Auntie. They plan to get into trouble at school, forcing Dad and Auntie to visit the headmaster. The girls target handsome teacher, Mr. Arora, to meet Auntie, who then will marry and be gone from their home!

At school assembly, Mr. Grimwade, head of the lower school, announces that school inspectors are scheduled to visit Coppergate. Grimwade adds, 'Remember, we are all part of the great community ... I shall personally make it my mission... to seek out and destroy anyone who steps out of line while the inspectors are here,' specifically eyeing troublemaker George Botley. (George makes a pest of himself by taunting peers with snails, worms, and stink bombs.) The teachers and students conceive a special production for inspection day ... and the 'bindi babes' have a few plans of their own.

Narinder Dhami's story presents three well-behaved, and well-intentioned sisters who eventually come to a realization of Auntie's goodwill towards them and their friends. Bindi Babes, an amusing read about sisterhood and the stifled sadness of a traumatic loss, also teaches that there's more to life than designer labels. Among the author's writing credits is the book (made into a movie), Bend It Like Beckham.

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