‘Bindi Babes’ Series: 4 Books, 3 Sisters, 1 Irresistible Force
What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Extremely drastic things, that’s what – and extremely hilarious things, too.
In Bindi Babes, by Narinder Dhami (the author of Bend it Like Beckham), Geena, Amber and Jazz, three Sikh kids in the UK, are the irresistible force, and the immovable object they face is their aunty from India. Aunty moves in a year after their mother dies, to ensure the household of a grieving father and kids, who pretend everything is all right, gets back on track.
Everyone thinks Geena, Amber and Jazz have handled their mother’s death beautifully. But they don’t realise the three girls — all of whom are so capable, so reliable, so brilliant, so utterly perfect — have not even begun to grieve. They are so afraid of worsening the pain of losing their mother that they avoid thinking about her at all. Instead, they turn themselves into a formidable team that takes care of their father, their home and themselves, and shows everyone at Coppergate School how self-possessed they are.
So when Aunty arrives from India and begins changing their lives, they can’t stand it. Aunty interferes in everything – their friends, their neighbours, their shopping. There’s no doubt about it at all: Aunty has got to go.
Which means it’s time for some serious strategy… which backfires. So, another strategy … which also backfires. And even more strategy (trying to marry Aunty off)… which backfires dramatically. Is Aunty truly the legendary immovable object? And are Geena, Amber and Jazz only a former irresistible force?
Bindi Babes, to my great joy, is only the first in a series of four books featuring Geena, Amber and Jazz. Somehow they survive Aunty, but that doesn’t mean they stop being a team. It just means that they turn their force on other people – such as a former Bollywood star in the second book, Bollywood Babes. Molly, the former star, is down and out, broke and starving, so the girls bring her home. Where suddenly she regains her ‘I Am A Big Star’ attitude and drives everyone crazy – except men. Even Aunty’s boyfriend falls for her. Not a good idea. Now it’s Aunty who thinks Molly’s got to go.
Fortunately for everyone’s peace of mind and Aunty’s self-esteem, Bollywood rediscovers Molly. But now, in Bhangra Babes, the teens discover boys. Or rather, they discover one boy – and all three want him. They even bet on who’ll ultimately get him. Who will win? It’s hard to say – each one of the girls is as devious as the other, and their best friend, Kim, is no help.
But whoever gets the boy (I’m not telling) can’t really do much with him, because house rules say Geena, Amber and Jazz can’t date until they’re 16 – and even then, they have to be chaperoned by Aunty. So on to Book 4, now, Superstar Babes, in which the girls decide to raise money to name their school library after their mother – via a school version of Who’s In The House? (better known in India as Bigg Boss). They need to raise £10,000 in six weeks. What on Earth will they do to make it?
Even though the Babes novels are set in the UK, there’s much that’s familiar to us in India (except their idea of school uniforms). In fact, the sisters are universal sisters; Geena, Amber and Jazz spend their lives squabbling, but when it’s necessary, they make the best team in the world. And the books are utterly hilarious. What more could preteens to teens want?