by Daisy Whitney
Pub. Date: Nov. 2nd 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Synopsis: 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 really loved reading this book. I liked Alex as a narrator and think that Daisy Whitney did a great job portraying how your memory after a blackout slowly pieces back together after days. I'd only imagine that if you were trying to block out an event, like a rape, it would take you even longer to recall the events of the night. I like how little triggers slowly unraveled more and more of the story. I really felt for Alex as a character because she had to see her rapist almost everyday. She had a class with him and if that weren't bad enough, he actually tried to make contact with her. Alex may not seem like the strongest character, but when you really think about the inner turmoil she went through every day and think about the fact that she chose not to leave the school, you realize that she is pretty tough. I don't know if I could have gone through what she went through. If her character wasn't interesting enough, there are some amazing supporting characters.
The magic in this book for me was not any of the individual characters, but The Mockingbirds- the secret organization that was built to bring justice to the wronged of Themis Academy. I really loved seeing how the group functioned and the power they had over the lives of the students. They didn't abuse this power, but used it so that students they were accusing took them seriously. I give props to Whitney for not going over the top with the wrath of The Mockingbirds. She kept The Mockingbirds's antics realistic making the story believable. I bet it was pretty hard not to go over the top making them into some kind of A-Team or Justice League whose purpose was to protect the Themis student body no matter what the cost.
Part of the reason I think I enjoyed this book so much is that I know people in college who had similar experiences and found the administration to be unhelpful, to say the least, so I loved reading about a group that helped students when the administration failed to take notice. I know that date rape is taken seriously at many schools, but some administrations would rather shame girls into retracting charges then having to report accurate statistics of rapes happening on their campuses. Okay, I'll get off my soapbox.
"The Mockingbirds" is a wonderful story with great characters and an interesting plot. It portrays the shocking truth how great schools can turn a blind eye to the suffering of students to protect the administrations best interests. I would definitely recommend this book, but I would warn that it does deal with disturbing topics. Even though the book could be more in your face, the reader does get a fairly graphic description of the rape. It wasn't violent, but it is still hard to read.
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