Review: The Mockingbirds

I received this book for free from ALA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The MockingbirdsThe Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
Series: The Mockingbirds #1
on November 2, 2010
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 332
Format: ARC
Source: ALA

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.

Daisy Whitney informs the reader in an Afterword to the book that this book is based off of her own experience with date rape. She was raped in college and felt much the way Alex did in this novel. Daisy turned to a college disciplinary committee for justice. The Mockingbirds considers the implications of date rape on the victim very openly. At times, the book was definitely tough to read, because the situation is so awful. I would not ordinarily have chosen this book for myself, but I was really impressed by it. Whitney confronts the issue of date rape without venturing too much into preaching. She also, from her own experience, knows how a girl would really feel in that situation: the anger, the guilt, the self-doubt, the fear.

The name of the book and the group in the school are drawn from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. The justice meant to come from this school society, which dealt with cases of varying severity, was meant to be similar to Atticus Finch and Boo Radley. I really need to reread To Kill a Mockingbird soon, since this is the second book from ALA referencing it and my memories of freshman year of high school are fuzzy at best. The literary reference is appreciated, Ms. Whitney! (Brief note to the publisher: the catchphrase on the cover, ‘Hush little students, don’t say a word…’ seems in bad taste. I am somewhat offended by it in the context of the story.)

The Mockingbirds is evidently the first in a series. I am eagerly looking forward to the next one. Hopefully, a number of the characters will recur (this is one of the series where it could theoretically be an almost entirely different cast), as they were quite likable. I highly recommend this book. It is well-written and full of useful information. This is definitely a good book for teen girls to read, because date rape is real and should not be dismissed. The Mockingbirds comes out next Tuesday, November 2.

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