Review: The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
Book: The Mockingbirds
Author: Daisy Whitney
Release: November 2010
Source: Personal Library
Purchase: – Barnes & Noble
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 really do not know where to begin. I have put off reviewing this book for a long time, in part because I haven’t felt comfortable “talking” about the general content of the book. I mean, I am a young teen. I know nothing really of the world. I am not an expert on anything let alone something as serious an issue as rape, but I do know that it happens, far more often than I’d care to think about. It is a relevant issue that is a fear of probably every girl I know. We are educated about it in safety classes at school, talked to about it by our parents, told to avoid putting ourselves in situations that could harm us by using the buddy system, not walking alone…etc. But, what about when the violation is by someone that you know, someone that you see every day, or if it happens somewhere that you are supposed to be safe like school? What then?
“Three things I know this second: I have morning breath, I’m naked, and I’m waking up next to a boy I don’t know.” The Mockingbirds page 1
Alex Patrick is a talented musician at a prestigious boarding school. She had hopes of moving on to Juilliard and using her talent for playing the piano to unlock her future. But, after one uncharacteristic night out letting loose with friends, Alex’s once clear and organized life is knocked off course. After waking up in a hazy state next to a boy she barely knows, the next few hours begin to reveal small truths of acts that she wishes she could erase the way some of her memories seem to have been. Alex left home the night before a virgin. The next morning she returns to her dorm in shame. Shame for losing something that she didn’t even give to the one boy she actually loved, and shame for not being able to remember anything.
Her Room mate can tell that something has happened and takes Alex to visit with her sister and some other students that may be able to help…but help with what exactly Alex is doesn’t know. For starters, how can she report what happened if she can’t recall herself. The Mockingbirds are a semi-secret club at her school that have taken upon themselves the duty of protecting those harmed or victimized at school, judging the case and dealing with the accused since the administration chooses to turn a blind eye.
At it’s core this is a really serious and meaningful book that deals with issues that are relevant today. I literally could not turn pages fast enough as I eagerly read what was going on. That being said, I can’t say that I actually liked it. There are some things that I found hard to believe, and it felt like the character of Alex was two different people. Maybe that was intentional on the author’s part, but it seemed like the character the author tried to portray was very different from the character I read about.
An example would be how up until this point we are led to believe that Alex has been a wonderful student that is very focused on her goals, to the point that she had only had one previous boyfriend that she only ever kissed. After she is raped she begins to have an unethical relationship with one of the “Mockingbirds” (who are supposed to remain unbiased) where she is making out with him hot and heavy merely a week or two after her rape. I’m sorry, but that just rubbed me the wrong way. I know I’m not all experienced and stuff but I can’t imagine being violated and having something intimate stolen from me, being in the process of a trial of sorts, the perpetrator smearing me every chance he got and then feeling like it was a good time to start a new relationship with someone that I know I shouldn’t be romantically involved with (at least until after the trial). It just didn’t jibe with what we knew of the character and with how I think most people would act after a traumatizing event (again, I am not an expert).
Another thing that bothered me about the organization of “The Mockingbirds” is how they react after discovering the relationship between Alex and their member, Martin. The Mockingbirds are supposed to have a code of ethics that they adhere to, I mean otherwise what keeps them from misusing the power that they seem to have among the student body. So, when all is said and done there really weren’t any consequences for Martin and Alex breaking the rules. Even though I did kind of like Martin, I didn’t think that it was right he should get off scott-free. He knew the rules and decided he didn’t want to follow them. Not cool Martin.
So, there you have it. The Mockingbirds was an engrossing and page-turning book that deals with important and serious issues but lacks the type of strong characters and message that I think it needed to be amazing. I honestly can’t say that I would recommend this book to a friend unless they were wanting to read different books that focused on a character being raped.