Book Title: The Mockingbirds
Author: Daisy Whitney
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Original publication date: November 2 2010
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format/pages: Hardcover 352 Pages
Format read: ARC
Date read: August 14 2010
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
Book description from the publisher:
Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.
Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way–the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds–a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.
In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl’s struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone–especially yourself–you fight for it.
I read an ARC of The Mockingbirds over the Summer and the story has stayed with me since then. Tackling the difficult subject matter of date rape, The Mockingbirds is a thoughtful and powerful read. I think the story is so compelling because it’s so easy to relate to the protagonist, Alex. This story about date rape and standing up for yourself felt very raw and honest and and like this situation could happen to anyone. I was immediately hooked on the story with the opening sentences.
The book presents the circumstances regarding the rape and the aftermath. Alex deals with a lot of guilt and shame about the date rape, and questions whether it even qualified as rape. When talking to her friends she starts to come to terms with the fact that she was date raped. Rather than going to the police or alerting the school authorities, she is referred to the school’s student run justice system called The Mockingbirds. Their name is inspired by To Kill A Mockingbird and the group strives to live up to their name by speaking up against injustices and being honorable. Readers of the Harper Lee book (I haven’t read it..yet) may notice references to the novel through the actions of The Mockingbirds. The Mockingbirds hold an investigation and trial in the case of the date rape. It is a fascinating process seeing the handling of the case by the students, and seeing Alex deal with the experience.
Throughout the book Alex is trying to process and heal from the rape while seeking justice. She has a great group of friends as a support network, and a special Mockingbird friend named Martin. Alex is a gifted pianist and I liked seeing the music incorporated into the story. There is some romance in the book between Martin and Alex. I saw that as hopeful and another part of Alex’s healing process to open herself up to romance after her attack.
The Mockingbirds is a well written, thought provoking and intense debut from Daisy Whitney. I would recommend this book to anyone high school age and up. The Mockingbirds has a positive message and I will pass the book along to my daughter someday. I look forward to reading Ms. Whitney’s next book. And also finally reading To Kill A Mockingbird.