The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books (November 2, 2010)
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.REVIEW (a tad spoilerish)
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.
The Mockingbird's opens up with one of the most frightening situations around; waking up next to someone and having no knowledge of what happened the night before then knowing that something has gone horribly wrong. Alex Patrick is that girl, waking up next to Carter, a boy she barely knows, and as she presses her mind bits and pieces come forth and she realizes that they had sex. Still confused she leaves his room and goes back to her dorm and after confiding in her friend she realizes that she had unconsensual sex...rape.
Knowing that justice needs to be served Alex's friend leads her to THE MOCKINGBIRDS, a not-so-secret-society that quietly governs the student body when crimes are committed. Alex is not convinced at first that she should engage The Mockingbirds for any assistance, she just wants everything to go away. Then more bits and pieces of that night fall into place and she is soon witness to the rumours that Carter has begun. Scared and traumatized, Alex begins to alter her day to day life avoiding Carter and all things that remind her of that horrible night, even her beloved music serves as a painful reminder and it isn't until she takes control and decides to fight does the tide turn and put her in control.
What I liked about this story is how well Daisy described the emotional turmoil that Alex was going through. The emotional and physical support she recieved was good to witness and the budding romance with Martin, a Mockingbird, provided the contrasting difference between being in control of whom your with and the date-rape.
What I had issue with is the vigilante justice of The Mockingbirds. Although their presence and actions became a source of power for Alex in this story I think that certain actions were of the same bullying nature that they themselves advocated against. When I stopped to think about it, I could not condone it. I believe that Alex should have gone to the authorities, because the sentence that Carter recieved would never have been enough. I was also a bit put off by Alex not going to the doctor and verifying if she had sex or not for never was the mention of pain or blood being present afterwards.
That being said THE MOCKINGBIRDS is a good read, dealing with a subject matter that is difficult with a voice that should be heard.