I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
Series: The Mockingbirds #1
Published by Hachette Digital, Inc. on 2010-11-02
Genres: Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Sexual Abuse, Social Issues, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon
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.
The premise of The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney is that Alex is a student at posh Themis Academy. At Themis, students do not face repercussions for engaging in bad deeds. Instead, by virtue of being a student at Themis, the students are simply trusted to be honorable. However, the reality is that not everyone is honorable, thus the students start a secret group called The Mockingbirds, who act as a cross between Atticus Finch and Boo Radley to police the student body. When Alex is date raped, she turns to the Mockingbirds, as there is nothing the teachers can do for her, or so it seems.
For me, the Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney was a one-sitting book. The plot was fascinating, as we unearth the details of what happened to Alex little by little. I liked that we weren’t given everything upfront. I thought the issue of rape was portrayed with sensitivity. I liked that there was a distinct lack of victim blaming. No one said to Alex, that because she had imbibed it was her fault. To be quite honest, I think a bit of sensitivity is needed in writing about rape. Like, I think the author should never ever engage in victim blaming. Nor should rape ever be glorified — i.e. she was raped, but enjoyed it and is in love with her rapist?! Uh, what? Well, I guess that doesn’t exactly happen in the books I read. So good call, YA authors.
The writing style is unburdened by purple prose. Daisy Whitney gets her point across quite well, and in a way which I think will appeal to reluctant readers. Don’t get me twisted, I love purplely prose, however, sometimes I think when a book is unencumbered, you get to the heart of the story faster.
Finally, the characters. I think Alex made some stupid choices, like not going to the police and not getting a rape kit PLUS taking a shower right after. However, she’s a teenager, she doesn’t know those things. Plus, I found her love of classical music and piano playing to be quite endearing. Sorry, but I like a good musical person. I did like her roommates, the actual Mockingbirds, and her love interest. I mean, they weren’t douche-y or anything, and the support system they presented was excellent.
I think The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney is a worthy read, especially to people who may have been sexually assaulted, after all 1 in every 4 adolescent girls and 1 in every 7 adolescent boys will be raped. Therefore, these reads which actually talk about sexual assault are SO important, especially when they affirm it is not the victim’s fault.
Finally, I will say, as someone qualified to make this last statement (I’m a certified rape crisis counselor and currently serve as an educator for a domestic violence agency), if you are sexually assaulted PLEASE get help. Get a rape kit done. Call your local domestic violence agency, there are people there who will help you for free, and act as an advocate for you. Someone from the agency can accompany you to the hospital. You don’t have to deal with it alone. If you are raped and plan on doing a rape kit, don’t shower. Don’t pee. If you need to change put your clothes in a non-plastic bag. Insurance typically covers the rape kit. If you don’t have insurance, there’s a crimes victims board which will pay for it. Also, should you decide not to get the kit done or press charges or report the rape, you can get free counseling through your local domestic violence agency. People are there to help you.
Finally, thanks to Daisy Whitney and Little, Brown I have 5 copies of the Mockingbirds to give away, to US addresses only. To enter, just leave a comment. Ends 11/14.
Thanks to Novel Noise for graciously letting me be a host during this tour. You can check out the other tour stops here.
Finally, there’s this awesome promotion for the Mockingbirds on youtube called The Mockingbirds Diaries, and I have the first episode below for you to watch:
Disclosure: Book received for review at BEA.