The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

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 was so excited to read this book. I've heard so many great things about it from people, so I had to see for myself what the deal was about. Plus, you got me with anything at all that has to do with To Kill A Mockingbird. That's one of my all-time favorite reads. And the tagline for this book? Epic. So, everything about this book looked good from the outside. But once I started reading? Oh, it was even better! So good!

The story centers around the main character Alex, who at the beginning of the novel is date-raped. Now, rape is such a tough topic to address, but the way Daisy Whitney did it was truly brilliant and eye opening. The constant fear someone who's been date-raped feels. Seeing Alex lose sense of the things she loves. Alex plays the piano, and those scenes after where she really expresses herself through the music were some of my favorites in the book. And I loved watching Alex's character develop throughout the book as she gets stronger.

The Mockingbirds are a student-led group, started because the administration at Themis Academy thinks all their students are perfect and there's no concrete disciplinary system. So it's up to the Mockingbirds to right the wrongs. It was so fascinating, how complex the system was, how official it had seemed for a group of high school students. When Alex decides to come forward, this group takes on her case. 
All the characters were done so well. T.S. and Maia were just so there for Alex whenever she needed them. And they were nicely developed on their own aw well. Martin was so sweet and supportive. I loved that he wanted to be a biologist, and his appealing geekiness, and just seeing him and Alex's relationship grow. And the antagonist--the rapist, Carter was extremely well done too. I HATED him. And it was all just so realistic, nothing felt forced or unnatural.

And the writing in general was just the kind of writing that now makes any future book by Whitney on my to-read list. It's so raw, honest, and real, and from a point of view not often shown in YA Fiction with such clarity and perspective. The authors note at the end was extremely insightful and poignant as well, because the author drew from her own experience--she was date-raped in college. Which made so much sense after I finished--because with a perspective and voice that real, it's horrible, but still not surprising, that the author went through this too. 
I think that The Mockingbirds is a book that should go on everyone's must-read list. It's poignant and touching, and a read that really makes you think after you finish it. It sends a powerful message that even reaches beyond its young adult target group in my opinion. It was great. I can not wait for the sequel to come out, The Rivals!


Paige said...

Great review!
I've been debating on reading this one for a while, and now I think I will! It sounds really interesting.

Anonymous said...

I read this.... maybe Christmas break last year, and it was amazing. I need to reread it before I read the sequel!

A Backwards Story said...

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is what first hooked me as well! And yes, LOVE the tagline! I am so, so glad you enjoyed this book. I cannot WAIT for THE RIVALS to return to Themis. I am a fan of everything Daisy Whitney will write. Day One Buy!