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The Mockingbirds Paperback – January 2, 2012
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"[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
"Puts a compelling and ingenious twist on everything you think you know about sex, violence, victimhood, justice--and the true meaning of power."―Gayle Forman, author of If I Stay
"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
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
After Alex is date raped at the prestigious Themis boarding school, she seeks help from The Mockingbirds, a student run, a secret underground justice group. With the help of her friends, The Mockingbirds, her sister and a potential love interest, Alex struggles to reclaim her sense of self and safety.
THE MOCKINGBIRDS isn't your typical date rape novel. Alex tells her roommate immediately after the incident, who immediately calls it rape, avoiding the secrecy of many stories where the victim/survivor keeps the assault to herself, suffering in silence for half or most of the book. That alone was very empowering. As Alex grew from a meek, passive girl into a true survivor over the course of the story, she became more nuanced and layered. I enjoyed the supporting characters, though they lacked depth and complexity.
Daisy Whitney has a pleasant, readable writing style. Her words didn't wow me, but they kept me interested. Her writing was best in creating the tension of Alex's memories and flashbacks. While the whole concept of the not so secret Mockingbirds was fun and engaging, I wish there had been some discussion of going through legal or school channels. The potential consequence of being forced to quit the water polo team for the crime of rape is woefully inadequate. Whitney, a date rape survivor, exaggerated the deterrent effect of The Mockingbird punishment on the perp and other potential perps. I didn't really buy into the concept of those who commit crimes and misdemeanors accepting the authority of The Mockingbirds.
I recommend this novel because it takes date rape seriously and Alex, for the most part, avoids the cliché of blaming herself I've seen in so many other books. However, neither the characters nor the story are particularly memorable and I doubt they'll stay in my head for long.
THEMES: date rape, boarding school, secret societies, drinking, romance
Most Recent Customer Reviews
***I received this book as a gift
I wanted to love The Mockingbirds because the story deals with serious issues that are not only relevant to teens but... Read more
4/5 stars because it didn't blow my mind but it was still a freaking excellent book. It just wasn't a super favorite of all time changed my life status. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Abby S
I love it! It is very well written and gives a lot of insight in to the different lives people lead.Published 20 months ago by Lois
I had heard nothing but good about this book and decided that I needed to give it a go. I recommend that you stop whatever you're doing right now, and find a way to get your hands... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Erica Coslop
The Mockingbirds is the story about a teenage high school student at an “elite” boarding school who is date raped one night after she gets drunk. Read morePublished on May 13, 2014 by Jennifer L Brinkle
The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney tells a story of a secret society within a boarding school. How cool is that? Read morePublished on April 17, 2014 by Sam Couture Reviews
Not an easy subject to deal with and especially with a YA novel. But beautifully handled. Read more
Good young adult book that deals with some important issues. Could lead to good group discussions for a book club.Published on November 13, 2012 by JDogg
I'm of two minds on this book, that deals with a date rape on a boarding school campus. At first I thought the writing was brilliant: the pain and emotion the main character, Alex,... Read morePublished on August 9, 2012 by K. Sue