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The Mockingbirds Hardcover – November 2, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1St Edition edition (November 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316090530
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316090537
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #383,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

“Silence does not equal consent. . . . The only thing that means yes is yes.” When Alex, a junior at Themis, a New England boarding school, wakes up naked in a boy’s bed, she doesn’t immediately realize what has happened during the previous drunken night. As fragmented memories return, though, she begins to understand that what happened was date rape. With the encouragement of her friends and older sister, Alex submits her case to the Mockingbirds, an underground justice system inspired by Harper Lee’s classic novel, in which Themis students investigate and try crimes committed against other students. Whitney, whose author’s note discusses her own teenage experience of date rape and its aftermath, is a seasoned journalist, and she writes with smooth assurance and a propulsive rhythm as she follows Alex through the Mockingbird’s trial process and its accompanying emotional storm of confusion, shame, fear, and finally, empowerment. Authentic and illuminating, this strong debut explores vital teen topics of sex and violence; crime and punishment; ineffectual authority; and the immeasurable, healing influence of friendship and love. Grades 9-12. --Gillian Engberg

Review

Praise for The Mockingbirds:
"First-time author Whitney boldly addresses date rape, vigilantism, and academic politics in an intense and timely novel... Besides showing skill in executing suspense and drama, Whitney masterfully evokes the complexity of her protagonist's emotions, particularly her intense longing to feel 'normal' again."
Publishers Weekly (Starred review)

"[Whitney] writes with smooth assurance and a propulsive rhythm as she follows Alex through the Mockingbird's trial process and its accompanying emotional storm of confusion, shame, fear, and finally, empowerment. Authentic and illuminating, this strong debut explores vital teen topics of sex and violence; crime and punishment; ineffectual authority; and the immeasurable, healing influence of friendship and love."— Booklist

"Extraordinary...Shocking and eye-opening, this book is hard to put down."—The Guardian

"Puts a compelling and ingenious twist on everything you think you know about sex, violence, victimhood, justice--and the true meaning of power."
Gayle Foreman, author of If I Stay

"Raw and riveting. Deserves a place of honor...alongside it's soul sister, Speak."—Justina Chen, author of North of Beautiful

"In The Mockingbirds, Daisy Whitney has written an unflinchingly honest story about the importance of taking a stand and speaking out. An emotionally powerful debut that will leave readers breathless."—Courtney Summers, author of Cracked Up to Be

More About the Author

Daisy Whitney is the author of the award-winning novel THE MOCKINGBIRDS and its sequel THE RIVALS. When she's not inventing fictional worlds, she writes and reports on new media, TV and advertising for a range of publications and news outlets. She graduated from Brown University and lives in San Francisco, California, with her fabulous husband, fantastic kids, and adorable dogs. Her third novel, WHEN YOU WERE HERE, is a standalone YA and will release in Spring 2013, also to be published by Little, Brown. In addition, her young adult modern fantasy novel STARRY NIGHTS will release in Fall 2013 from Bloomsbury. You can follow her writing blog and media adventures at DaisyWhitney.com.

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Customer Reviews

Two things I really enjoyed from the book are The Mockingbirds and Alex.
Ivy
Daisy Whitney has written a great debut novel that I'm sure a lot of people will feel very strongly about and will certainly relate to its main character.
cynthia (A Blog about Nothing)
I hope this is a book that will inspire teenage girls to speak out and is definitely one I would recommend that older teens read.
Kristen M. Harvey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on September 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
They say to write what you know and the author's blurb says Daisy Whitney was date-raped in college. That is probably why her portrayal of the aftermath of a rape feels very real. This is the author's debut novel and it is worth reading.

After drinking too much and waking up in the room of a boy she barely knows, Alex feels extreme guilt and shame. But she listens to her friends when they convince her that even if she did drink too much, it doesn't make it okay for a boy to have sex with her while she's passed out. Alex's rapist, Carter, is a popular water polo athlete at Themis Academy. He and his friends snicker about her in class and in the common areas until Alex ends up eating her meals in her room and taking different routes to her classes. But Alex has good friends, especially her new friend Martin, who stand by her and make sure she always has an escort to classes and sometimes bring her food in her dorm room.

At Themis Academy, the students are held to high standards. The problem is, the academy seems to think that just being accepted into the school makes the students above reproach. The students don't feel like there is any real justice system. That's why, years earlier, Alex's own sister created a secret group called The Mockingbirds. Their name comes from To Kill a Mockingbird. The group consists of students of all grades and has built-in checks and balances to assure fairness. They listen to evidence and declare the defendant guilty or innocent. This system can only work, of course, if both parties agree to accept the ruling of the Mockingbirds.

Alex's roommates convince her to take her case to the Mockingbirds. In the weeks leading up to the trial Alex becomes close to Martin, her roommate's boyfriend's roommate.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By P. Bigelow VINE VOICE on September 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Daisy Whitney's debut novel is an outstanding YA novel that addresses the issue of date rape.

The story is set at a boarding high school and features Alex, a junior music major whose one goal is to attend Julliard. The morning after she attends a concert with her friends, she wakes up in the bed of Carter, a member of the water polo team, and has no memory of how she got there or of what happened. It soon becomes evident that Carter had sex with her. Mortified that she had sex with a stranger and can't remember it, Alex confides in her roommates. They put the name of date rape to what happened to her. They also urge her to seek out the Mockingbirds, a student group that metes out punishment to those found guilty of breaking the school's code of conduct.

Whitney unfolds Alex's story slowly. The reader is privy to Alex's thoughts and, her memories as they slowly begin to return, usually at the worst possible times. Alex, at first, just wants to forget what happen that night, but eventually comes to understand that that she can't forget the events that occurred. To make matters worse, she must deal with the whispers of her fellow students as Carter spreads his lies about her. She must also endure her self doubts about who she is and how this could have happened. As the last bit of her memory returns, she is horrified. An understanding teacher helps her come to grips with what Carter did was wrong because Alex had not consented to what happened. As she and the Mockingbirds move forward to the trial of Carter for date rape, Alex begins to understand that not saying no doesn't mean yes.

While this story is about Alex and the effects of rape, it is also a story of the Mockingbirds and how they understand the mores of a high school campus.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By T. shaw on October 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Mockingbirds deals with a tough subject matter in date rape, but I'm glad I read it because first time author Daisy Whitney handles the subject matter with sensitivity, skill and honesty, while introducing us to a cast of well developed teen characters. It's really a story about justice as the main character Alex, hesitant to go to the authorities, seeks the assistance of a secret student society called The Mockingbirds which investigates student complaints and holds trials. In the end, what Alex really needs perhaps more than justice is regaining her sense of self, something she struggles with throughout the book as she also has to get through her junior year at an elite high school. I particularly liked the very carefully handled romantic subplot that played out post-rape and how Alex tries to overcome what has happened to her. Also the detail presented in Alex seeking solace in her music, she's an accomplished pianist, was quite lovely and touching.
The writing is tight, the plot moves along quickly and I think it's one of those YA books that will cross over to many adult female readers. This also has the feel of a potential series the way the ending is set up. It earns a five stars from me as I rated it in relation to how quickly I wanted to finish it based on the writing engaging me, how original I thought the story was and how it stacked up to other YA novels.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lawral Wornek on October 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Starting the morning after that night, The Mockingbirds is an intense book. The reader, like Alex, starts out not knowing what's going on and, with her, pieces that night together over the course of the entire book. It isn't until almost the end that Alex remembers the entire night, or as much as she's ever going to, and by then she's come to terms with a lot of it and had some time to heal. It's still horrible, clearly, but presenting the rape in that way, in short pieces over the course of the book, takes away the shock and some of the horror of it. It's not graphic, though it may still be triggering for some people.

Alex's big conflict for most of the book is accepting what happened to her as rape. She has loads and loads of guilt about being drunk enough to be taken to the room of a guy she didn't know. If she can't remember getting to his room or even large chunks of the party before hand, maybe she's also simply not remembering that she wanted to have and enjoyed having sex with him. While she knows this isn't true, the dirty and used feeling won't let her actually think that, she knows she has to prove that she wasn't "asking for it," something no sexual assault victim should ever have to do. It's bad enough hearing other people recount her drunken exploits of that night in front of the Mockingbirds while she's building her case; she could never explain her drinking and other bad decisions to the cops, her parents, or the administration of Themis Academy. It takes her a really long time to really believe that though she made bad decisions, being raped was never her fault, but that point is eventually made very clear for Alex (and the reader) by her friends, the Themis Academy Honor Code, and during her trial.

Still, this doesn't read like a problem novel.
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