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Friday, 11 February 2011

Review: The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

Title: The Mockingbirds
Author: Daisy Whitney
Publisher: Little Brown Young Readers
Publication Date: 2 Dec 2010

Source: UK Book Tours

Synopsis: From Amazon
Some schools have honour codes.

Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.
Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school where the students are exceptional, the faculty trust that everyone does the right thing, and the administration sees only what it wants to see - perfection.
So when Alex spends a drunken-night with a male student and awakes to evidence of a sexual encounter she can't remember, she doesn't know where to turn for help. As she slowly comes to terms with the fact that she was date raped, she enlists the help of the Mockingbirds - a secret society of her peers whose mission is to right the wrongs that the faculty and administration don't even know exist.
In standing up to her attacker, Alex discovers a strength she never knew she had and begins to understand that if you love something or someone - especially yourself - it's worth fighting for.

From the information about the author this book has been written on personal experience making it all the more powerful, emotional and compelling. I did find it quite upsetting as I kept picturing my daughters at that age being put in the same situation, I am sure I would commit a very serious crime if that occurred.

Written in 1st person narrative from Alex’s perspective. A gifted musician she has been a model student and a chaste girlfriend, saving herself for the right time. The emotions evoked from the very start are very powerful; devastating/heart-breaking are the words that come to mind giving a sense of loss and an overwhelming sadness.

The lack of remorse on the behalf of Carter (the egotistical male chauvinistic pig) was a brutal and striking contrast to the emotions Alex has to confront following the ‘incident’. The narrative shows the drastic results of excess alcohol consumption, leading to impaired mental and discussion making capabilities which can so easily be manipulated by unscrupulous people. The whole idea of Carter taking advantage of Alex was sickening. It was surprising and rather alarming at the depiction of so many girls finding themselves in similar circumstances.

The story portrays the way in which girls are very quick to blame themselves for things that happen. It made me wonder if this behavior is indoctrinated, or are we really the weaker sex. The flashbacks to the night of the ‘incident’ are written in italics adding focus and impact to the description.

The writing style flows beautifully with a strong, powerful vocalization of the reactions of all parties to the ‘incident’. The phrase ‘bad things happen to good people’ kept running through my mind. Waves of emotions poured from the pages; powerfully Alex’s feeling of being dirty and trying to wash it away on the outside while wishing you could do the same on the inside.

Alex was lucky enough to have wonderfully supportive friends and sister, making Alex luckier than a lot of people.

Although I adored Martin as the love interest (minus the owl dissection) I did have my concerns with the romance woven into the story. Martin is kind, gentle, caring, considerate and HOT. However, for me it was too soon for Alex to be starting a relationship although you can see that they are meant to be together. I am see-sawing about this aspect.

Through the progression of the story Alex becomes an icon/heroine for women’s rights at her school. I liked how The Mockingbirds trial was undertaken; if only the guilty could be as easily tripped up in real life.

For me the ending was fantastic, opening up a whole new beginning for Alex. I am a big believer in ‘pay it forward’ it must be the optimist in me. It also shows that although bad things do happen this should not be the only thing to define us; there is more to life than that if we take the time to look for it.

Part of the YA Contemps challenge


  1. I have heard such good things about this book. Very powerful story though and having young girls too, I imagine it will have a similar effect on me!

  2. I've heard this is very good! Definitely sounds like a powerful read!

  3. I really liked this one. I didn't think it was too soon for her to move on. I'm not sure there'd ever be the 'right' time for her to go forward. It is a very powerful and really brings out interesting things to think about.

  4. I've got this too read. From the sounds of it I'm going to feel a lot like you re my daughter. Great review Emma x

  5. Alex sounds a great character. I have this book on my tbr bookshelf. I love the premise of the kids sorting out trouble themselves. I'm not sure about major stuff, but definitely smaller stuff.

    Hope you have a good weekend.

  6. What a beautiful review Emma. I can imagine that it must both be a powerful and upsetting read. Makes one think that it must have been incredibly hard for the author to write this book. I love your review so much Em, that I think I'd love to use it for my next newsletter if it's ok with you?


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