Review: The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

“An honest look at date rape and the feelings and fall out after the fact.”

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Title:The Mockingbirds
Author:Whitney, Daisy
Publisher:Little Brown
Pages:352

From Goodreads: 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 loved mostly everything about The Mockingbirds. The writing was superior. The subject matter was one that needs to be talked about and the characters were drawn very well. Even the smallest character in the book had a fantastic voice. The rape scenes were believable and scary. The black outs from the drinking caused the character to remember her rape in bits and I loved that aspect of the book.

I think this book in time will be looked to and taught in classes around the country. I do believe the subject matter makes it important immediately and I think that there are a lot of things to learn from Whitney’s story.

Daisy Whitney is courageous. She wrote this story from her own experiences in college when the idea of what date rape is was still forming and being fought over in committees at our nation’s finest collegiate establishments. Daisy gives young girls courage and hope in this book but I did have one major problem with the story. The next part of this review may contain spoilers. Beware.

At first I thought The Mockingbirds were a great addition to the story. A secret group set up by the main character’s older sister in hopes of fending off and discouraging bullying of any kind by dispensing with a court like mandate and justice under the noses of the school administration. The administration believed that no child in their academy could do anything wrong so there was no need to have a zero tolerance policy in place.

I thought this element brought action and a feeling of empowerment to the story. That feeling lasted a few pages until The Mockingbirds decided to take on the case of rape. There was an initial meeting where Alex explains the circumstances of her date rape. They Mockingbirds then decide to take on her case.

Before the case is even tried, The Mockingbirds begin to exact justice on the rapist. He was not innocent until proven guilty. They docked his points to leave campus and even went as far as to take away his birthday cake. All on the word of the girl who had been raped. They wrote his name in a book which I saw as bullying and said if he is found not guilty he gets his points back and his name erased.

I have a firm belief in innocent until proven guilty and the vigilante bullying in the name of justice ruined a huge chunk of Whitney’s book for me. Yes we as the reader know he was a rapist, yes he got what he deserved but the characters were unsure or couldn’t be sure until the case was heard so by rendering punishment without giving him the opportunity to say his piece or defend himself the book took on a bitter taste. It seemed childish and vindictive when it was meant to be empowering.

I urge you to read The Mockingbirds and make your own decisions. If you like Speak you will enjoy reading Whitney’s The Mockingbirds.

FTC Disclosure: I picked this book up off the floor at BEA. It was free. I like free.

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