When Alex Patrick was assaulted by another student last year, her elite boarding school wouldn’t do anything about it. This year Alex is head of the Mockingbirds, a secret society of students who police and protect the student body. While she desperately wants to live up to the legacy that’s been given to her, she’s now dealing with a case unlike any the Mockingbirds have seen before.
It isn’t rape. It isn’t bullying. It isn’t hate speech. A far-reaching prescription drug ring has sprung up, and students are using the drugs to cheat. But how do you try a case with no obvious victim? Especially when the facts don’t add up, and each new clue drives a wedge between Alex and the people she loves most: her friends, her boyfriend, and her fellow Mockingbirds.
As Alex unravels the layers of deceit within the school, the administration, and even the student body the Mockingbirds protect, her struggle to navigate the murky waters of vigilante justice may reveal more about herself than she ever expected.
**If you read my review of The Mockingbirds yesterday, welcome back! If not, you go now and do that first**
You know, there may be slight spoilers for The Mockingbirds here but I really don’t think so. It’s the second book in the series but they pretty much stand on their own and I don’t think I could spoil much that isn’t already revealed in the synopsis of this book – namely, Alex is now head of The Mockingbirds and she now has a boyfriend. Who is awesome.
I did like this book. It’s extremely well written and I really like Daisy Whitney’s style. That said, I didn’t it as much as The Mockingbirds BUT I think that’s because I found the crime in the first book so much more serious than this one. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I think cheating and drug dealing are certainly serious business and shouldn’t be allowed. But date rape is just so much more severe to me. So I want to make that very clear up front – even though I liked this book less, it had nothing to do with the writing and everything to do with my own views on the severity of the crimes involved.
I did really love that Alex is still dealing with the fallout from her rape. So often in books/tv/etc. a person becomes the victim of a crime, deals with it for an inordinately short period of time, and then moves right on as if nothing happened and life goes back to sunny and normal. Alex still has issues. She has intimacy problems with her delightfully patient and understanding boyfriend, Martin. She still gets physically sick when she sees her rapist.
To me, this book was very different from The Mockingbirds because while that book was very heavy on the investigation and trial aspects of the situation, The Rivals was more about Alex and how she handles being head of the group. And also, how it affects her relationships with the various people in her life. There was more mystery in this one as well. The first book was very black and white – she is raped and we know from the get-go who the guilty party is. Here, it’s a mystery that The Mockingbirds unravel. It almost strays into girl detective territory. And I have to say, it kind of took me by surprise when the guilty party behind the drug/cheating ring is revealed.
I’m also going to say that I hope there’s a third book because the ending left me feeling wholly unsatisfied. Still, this is a series that is very much worth reading.