Tuesday, November 2, 2010

ARC: The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

Title: The Mockingbirds (ARC)
Author: Daisy Whitney
Publication Date: November 2, 2010
ARC, 339 pages
hardcover, 352 pages

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. - Summary from Goodreads

Meet Alex. Meet the morning after.
The Mockingbirds has a thrilling, mysterious beginning. It starts off with Alex waking up after getting date raped, although not knowing it at the time. She is startled and dizzy. From the moment she realizes she's not in her own bed, Alex manages to lull the reader with her distraught confusion. Alex has a strong voice throughout the whole story, not just of your average, prep school girl, but also that of an independent female character that always has her best interest in mind, even when the pressure of the intimidating, brilliant kids at Themis Academy is on. But the most important decision Alex makes in her high school years is that of when she turns to the Mockingbirds for the most drastic and influencing help she can get.

The Mockingbirds is a student-run organization, completely unknown to the staff at the Academy, yet perhaps the most famous club among the students. Their job is to bring the justice to the students in situations where the school board is just not serious enough to handle it. Date rape, Alex's friends agree, is definitely a serious matter that should not be ignored. Through the Mockingbirds and their system of honor and strong impressions, they have the power to threaten or challenge anyone in the academy that is of wrongdoings, such as date rape. I love the cleverness of the Mockingbirds, and the way the group is run. Being composed of elite students, the set-up is brilliant and well designed, using school messengers and points to alter a students credibility and rights. The reason why it was founded is because high-class schools such as the one Alex attends believe that their students are sweet and innocent, and are too determined to succeed in important areas of life. Any incident of delinquency, and the headmasters will ignore it. Alex's older sister, Casey, created the Mockingbirds in hope that any time a student found themselves in danger or a tough situation, they would have someone to turn to for help that will always be carried through.

The story makes a turn for the better when the Mockingbirds accept Alex's case of accusing Carter, the boy she was with that night, of date rape. They bring him to "court", just like an actual case except this one is just in the dorm laundry room. If Carter is convicted of rape, he must face serious consequences, involving his expulsion from the Themis Academy swim team. It is truly amazing how the Mockingbirds have the power to control his school activities, all while working directly under the schools noses. For Alex, not only is she aware that the truth will prevail, but she also meets plenty of new friends and acquaintances that are supporting her all the way. And to top it off, a romance does blossom between her and her good geek friend, Martin. Martin is supportive of everything Alex does, and being a Mockingbird himself, is threatening his own position of power in the group by being with Alex. I like that part because it adds secrecy between Martin and Alex. It added to the suspense at the final court case and yet still stood strong. Another small, yet main character drastically helped in Alex finding herself is Mrs. Damata, her piano teacher. Alex is an extremely talented pianist, and I enjoyed that part of her because every time she described her playing or anything piano related, I could relate to and follow it too because I play the piano as well. Mrs. Damata went to Julliard, and so she is like a grandmother to Alex, someone who she is able to confide in when discussing music. And other things. Like Carter. And boys. Mrs. Damata is a character who Alex could burst out her feelings to, and she would fully understand. She is the one who helps Alex find her inner strength, and stop doubting herself and her capabilities. Mrs. Damata only appears in the story a handful of times, which did disappoint me a little. I am hoping she will make a strong reappearance in the next book as well.

The ending of The Mockingbirds is a bit predictable, but yet still extremely satisfying. There was a main part that could easily have been suspected which I won't mention, but it still doesn't ruin the "exciting-ness" of the story. Alex's character develops strongly and evenly throughout the book. She discovers how much of a difference she can make upon her life if she follows through with tough decisions that can have strong and lasting impacts on people. The writing could have been a bit more impressive and captivating, but otherwise, Daisy Whitney did an exceptional job with this book to show the importance of finding yourself, and also being aware of rape and date rape.

Lastly, one very important thing I learned from this book:
When it comes to determining a rape, this may be the key component to the accusation.
A no is a no. Not a yes.

4 Beasts


Midnight Bloom said...

Great review! The Mockingbirds sounds sooo good! I tried to buy the book today but it wasn't in any of the stores in my area. So sad. :(

angelatarantula said...

Oh no! It's pretty neat, I would definitely recommend you getting it. Also, stay posted. I may or may not have a contest coming up for a shelf cleanout. The Mockingbirds may be on the list!

Stuck Between The Pages said...

This is the second review I've seen on this book, and after reading your review, I really want to read it now!!! It sounds like a fantastic book!!! I am definitely going to a bookstore ASAP to get it!