Occasionally, you come across a book you know you will like. Maybe it’s getting serious buzz, so you become determined to like it, drenching it with some pre-love. Maybe you see a book trailer with really cool music and a hottie playing the main character, and think Ohmotherofdrool I WANT him—err…that book. Some books are so shiny and everpresent and actiony-paranormal-cool and popular all over the Internet that you simply have to have it. IN MY HANDS. Like NOW, people.
This book was not like that.
And it was all the better for it—better because I loved it unexpectedly.
THE MOCKINGBIRDS by Daisy Whitney
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 was a little nervous about reading THE MOCKINGBIRDS. For one thing, there’s no magic. No time travel. And no spunky, sarcastic, trash-talking, slang-flinging main characters. There are no crazy action sequences. No monsters, demons, angels, or shapeshifting whatevers in sight. It’s not like any YA I’ve read recently, especially because it deals with the very difficult subject of date rape.
I couldn’t put the frigging book down. I simply had to know how it would end. I felt so attached to Alex, the main character, like she could be my best friend, my daughter…me. I felt invested in what happened to her—and let’s be honest, that’s hard to come by in books nowadays.
The thing is, the really bad stuff happens even before the book starts. So the reader doesn’t have to face the live action horror—only the aftermath. And while this makes the rape easier to bear, it makes it, well, more difficult—because we get to know Alex, like really get inside her head and fall in love with her, before she relives the rape inside her mind and for others. It’s downright gut-wrenching.
But pure effing genius.
I love that Alex is level-headed and intelligent and put together—but also real. She’s a smart teenager, with normal angst and expectations and dreams, thrust into an unbearable situation. And though I’ve never gone through what she did, the phases of her emotions felt genuine to me. But as much as the date rape monopolizes the premise, it doesn’t monopolize all the action in the book—or even the experience of the reader. Alex continues to live her life, fall in love, worry about normal teen stuff…hope.
Indeed, it’s hope that drives the book—it’s what sucked me in. This is not one of those books where bad things happen and then happen and continue to happen. You don’t get to the last page thinking, WTF? The secret society of The Mockingbirds offers a lot of hope, but most of it comes from inside Alex herself. While they might seek justice on her behalf, it is the strength inside Alex that makes everything okay, no matter what the outcome is. And this is the true beauty, the true gift of THE MOCKINGBIRDS. It is sweet, poignant, gut-twisting, sad, frustrating, funny, and hopeful. It is strength embodied—courage up for grabs.
THE MOCKINGBIRDS will be released November 2, 2010, but is available for pre-order now.