The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
Little, Brown and Company, 2010
Book Source: Public Library
Alex, a gifted music student, has had an incredibly horrible experience just a few days after returning to the campus of her progressive private school. While attending a concert off campus, her and some friends play a drinking game, and the next thing she knows, she's naked in the bed of a strange boy. What happened that night?
The school administration believes that its students can do no wrong, and Alex immediately knows that they will not help her. She turns to a group of students known as The Mockingbirds, a secret society dedicated to keeping the peace among the students. This story is Alex's account of what happened before, during, and after her fight for justice.
Judging by the cover...: A quick glance at the cover would have you believe that this is a quiet, calm book. Until you read the tag line at the top, that is. "Hush little students, don't say a word..." The understated cover serves its purpose perfectly, lulling the reader into a false sense of security and then slamming them over the head with a disturbing crime.
- Secret Society - Ever since reading The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E. Lockhart, these clandestine groups of students have fascinated me. The Mockingbirds are there to police the student body, which makes them even cooler. Does anyone want to start one with me?
- Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird - My family has a strong attachment to this book (my mom even named her dog Scout), and I was thrilled to see that it influenced The Mockingbirds. From Boo Radley to Atticus Finch, The Mockingbirds mete out justice in a way that would make Lee proud.
- A Nod to the Queen City - As a Buffalo girl, I would have to be comatose to not be proud that my beloved Buffalo Sabres made an appearance. The friendliest city in the country needs more shout outs like that. (And now I'm craving chicken wings, darn it!)
Overall (out of 5): 3.75
Alex deserves a medal for being such a strong girl in the face of an evil frat boy wannabe and his friends. All I wanted to do while reading the book was to give her a hug, but I'm sure that she would think I was pitying her. One day she'll come to terms with what happened, but in the meantime, she has some kickbutt friends and an awesome sister to help her get there.
For the story to progress the way it does, however, the adults in the story were painted as ignorant buffoons. For any girl reading the story who had experienced the same events as Alex, it might convince her to not seek help from an adult. At least Whitney gave us one redeeming teacher, Ms. Damata, but her appearance and help comes too late for it to do any good. It's almost as if Whitney added her at the last minute.
Recommendation: This book is not for pleasure reading. But if you're willing to help Alex walk down her road, I encourage you to pick it up. I would not recommend this to someone who had just recently been through the same experience, but it would be a good story to spread date rape awareness and spark a debate about what constitutes consent.
Similar Books: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.