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.
OK, I’ll sum my thoughts up in one sentence…I really, really liked this book. A lot. That’s two sentences. Moving on.
First of all, The Mockingbirds deals with a very serious subject matter: date rape. And it does so in a way that is not at all jokey or less than serious at any time, and for that I was grateful. It’s a frightening subject and Ms. Whitney gives it the gravity it deserves. If you know anyone who is a survivor of rape – date or otherwise – you know that there are a lot of complex issues at play in the aftermath. It’s not only about anger. There is the wondering why it happened. There is the wondering if somehow the victim did something to deserve it (both by the victim and by others). And there’s guilt and fear.
Alex is a great heroine. She’s vulnerable but still strong enough to stand up and ask the Mockingbirds for help. At times it did seem like she was trying too hard to blame herself, but this is apparently normal after being a victim of rape. There was one thing that bothered me – that she didn’t consider it a police matter and didn’t report it because she didn’t want her parents to find out. I do understand it, I just didn’t agree with it.
But the Mockingbirds group…a book about a secret society, hooray! And even better, the secret society is actually good for once. Unlike all of the books about The Skulls and all of those nefarious organizations, The Mockingbirds exist purely to help their fellow students. The school administration turns a blind eye to crime on campus in order to maintain their spotless record (which is ridiculous but I’m sure not unrealistic) and so the students take matters into their own hands.
The book also has a strong supporting cast of characters. T.S. and Maia are awesome friends to Alex. Their support is integral to her not only seeking justice for the crime committed against her, but to healing as well. And Martin. Oh, Martin. What a sweet guy. He’s the perfect compliment to Alex, patient and understanding. Even the jerks are pure jerks.
My favorite part of the book is that the name of the group is a reference to the book To Kill A Mockingbird, which is one of my very favorite books of all time. If you’ve never read it, please do so.
I was also kind of surprised when I got to the end of the book and read a note from the author which stated that the book was based on an actual event from her life. Tons of respect for Daisy Whitney for writing such a heartfelt book about a topic that must hit very close to home for her.
***Please stop back tomorrow for my review of the next book in the series, The Rivals!***