Book: THE MOCKINGBIRDS
Author: DAISY WHITNEY
Genre: YA CONTEMPORARY
Published: November 2010, LITTLE, BROWN BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS
From Good Reads:
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...
THE MOCKINGBIRDS was one of the first books this season that I pretty much knew the entire plot before I read the story. I tend to find out as little as possible about the books that I want to read for review, so that I won't be unduly influenced one way or the other. But, the premise of THE MOCKINGBIRDS was too much for me to pass up. I truly wanted to read the book. Unfortunately, I was slightly disappointed by the feeling I was left with, at the completion of the novel.
For one thing, I never fully connected with the main character, Alex. I know that she was probably drugged and date-raped. Of course, this is an ugly, and far too common occurrence for young, female college students. But, her attitude from start to finish made her a hard character to sympathize with. She herself, seemed totally detached from the events. I wanted her to be a stronger character than she was, and I wanted her to make a statement! I wanted her to be a mix of Veronica Mars, investigating the details of the attack to find the truth! and Jodie Foster from The Accused, facing her attackers!
Or even on the flip side, Melinda from Speak having the courage to call the police, and then making a powerful weapon out of silence, but finding her voice in the end! And yes, I know that the two former plots were in movies, but they were still the standard up to which I held THE MOCKINGBIRDS. And, though the bar was set high, I somehow fixed in my mind that this book would meet that standard. But, it didn't.
While I applaud the idea of The Mockingbirds- a group that seeks justice for those who would not otherwise get it- the group ONLY seemed to seek justice and not truth. The other students were allowed to vote on whether the boy's crimes should be considered, but not on whether he actually committed the crime. I do think that rape is a serious crime, and the victims should never have to go silent, or the perpetrators not be made to account for their actions.
I also applaud Daisy Whitney, a date-rape victim herself, for overcoming this type of ordeal, and also having the temerity to be able to put pen to paper, and exorcise her own demons. Having a character that is able to take back her own power is a fantastic standard to set, and I think it is an important premise to broadcast, not just to the YA community, but also to any female that might have to encounter or suffer through this situation.
3.5/5 for plot
2.5/5 for characters
3.5/5 for language
My Rating: 9.5/15 Worth Trying (2.75 stars)