Monday, December 13, 2010

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

Published: November 2, 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

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.

My Review: The Mockingbirds is on my Contemps Reading Challenge, so that is why I chose to read it. Plus, I've read mixed reviews, and as always I like to make my own call see and see what I think of it. I'll be honest, I've been struggling a little with writing this review. Why? Because there was a huge part of this book that I didn't quite enjoy. Because of that, I've had trouble writing my reasoning. For those of you who haven't read The Mockingbirds, it's about a young girl, Alex who is in high school. She is out one night, gets drunk, and gets date-raped. She doesn't remember anything at first, but things slowly keep coming back to her. Because of this, she turns to an almost secretive group, The Mockingbirds, at her school. The Mockingbirds are basically the school police, the school court, and justice system, since the teachers pretend the students are perfect, and do not need to enforce rules or anything of that nature. The part of the book that I didn't enjoy and couldn't wrap my head around was the whole idea of Themis Academy (the school in which Alex attends) not having any clue as to what is going on at the school. And the students are aware of this, hence the beginning of The Mockingbirds. For some reason, I have a very hard time imagining this whole situation. I think that in real life, teachers are aware of things happening (whether they want to be or not). I don't know - maybe it's just me, but I remember being in high school and thinking that they teachers knew too much, and I mean, they would be aware of an 'undercover' / 'underground' court system happening in their school.
But getting to terms with the oblivious teachers and students who can be lawyers and try cases in high school (and have students obey trial rules and consequences), the rest of the book was okay.
Alex, the main character is a strong girl and I like her a lot because of that reason. She has to deal with the very unfortunate mishap of being a victim of date-rape (without ANY adult support), but after coming to terms with it, she is an even stronger female character who I think many of us can gain strength from. She shows us that speaking out can be tough, but in the end, it can be worth it. 
Alex was the only character that really stuck out and made an impression. The writing in The Mockingbirds was well done, and it was fairly obvious from early on that this book was drawn from Daisy Whitneys own personal experience. I believe that Daisy was so courageous to be able to write about that experience, I'm sure it couldn't have been easy. But I cannot get past the the lack of adult acknowledgment and support to enjoy this book as much as I was hoping.
Needless to say, I'm glad that I only borrowed this book from the library. I don't imagine I'll re-read this any time in the near future. Though I do plan to keep an eye out for more novels from Whitney, as I like her writing style, and I truly just think that this novel was not my cup of tea. BUT - I do think that some will enjoy this book, and I encourage them to pick it up and read.

1 comment:

Misha said...

"The part of the book that I didn't enjoy and couldn't wrap my head around was the whole idea of Themis Academy (the school in which Alex attends) not having any clue as to what is going on at the school."

I completely agree. The so-called "undercover" organization didn't seem so undercover at all.

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