Thursday, April 19, 2012

Review: The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

Title: The Mockingbirds
Author: Daisy Whitney
Publisher: Little, Brown for Young Readers
Release date: November 2nd 2010
Pages: 332
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Bought
Find out more: Amazon | Goodreads

Goodreads description:
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.
First sentence:
Three things I know this second: I have morning breath, I'm naked, and I'm waking up next to a boy I don't know.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Why did I wait so long to read this book? It's been on my wishlist forever. I'd heard so, so many great things about The Mockingbirds, so I knew I was going to love it. And I did!

Everything about this book is just right. I loved Daisy Whitney's writing style! It gives such a great voice to our main character Alex. I just love Alex - her way of thinking is so unique! I can't explain it, I just love how her character sucked me right in. Her emotions are well-written. I liked being there alongside Alex on her emotional journey; how one minute, everything is fine, and the next something reminds her of what happened and she breaks down. The suspense of Alex not immediately remembering is great - I loved finding out what happened in bits and pieces. Sometimes she's angry, and sometimes she's questioning whether what she's doing is right. Her emotionas are portrayed really well and realistically - probably because Daisy Whitney was date-raped herself, as it says in the author's note. It's impressive how she found the courage to speak out and write an entire book on the issue!

The secondary characters are amazing. I loved the friendship dynamic between Alex, T.S. and Maia, and I like how each of them has a distinct personality. And then there's Martin. I loved Martin! He's just so sweet, and Alex and Martin together are adorable. I really liked the romance but appreciated that it wasn't turned into the main storyline. Mel, who I don't want to say too much about, is a great character, too. I love how each character has a passion - reading about Alex's piano playing, Casey and T.S.'s soccer, Maia's debate, Martin's bird research added a lot to the characters and the story, too.

The idea for the Mockingbirds is so great. I loved reading about how the whole organization works, and it has reminded me that I really, really need to read To Kill a Mockingbird. One thing I didn't get, though, is why Alex knows so little about the Mockingbirds. The role the Mockingbirds play for the average student isn't exactly clear. At times, for example during the vote, it seems like every student knows about the Mockingbirds, but at the same time, Alex knew almost nothing about them before she decided to ask the Mockingbirds for help, which I thought was strange, especially since her sister created the group.

I love when books take place at boarding schools. I know I often complain about how family isn't present enough in YA, but for some reason, I don't mind if it's at boarding school - I just love the whole atmosphere of boarding schools. I thought the descriptions of how the school doesn't do anything to protect their students were a little overdone, though. I get that the teachers at Themis believe their perfect students could never do anything wrong, but I just thought that was repeated and emphasized a little too much. With something like bullying, sure, I can see a school ignoring an issue like that, but rape? I can't imagine how, if Alex had gone to the administration, they wouldn't have done anything. I wish there would have been some development in the school's position in all of this. But maybe that will happen in The Rivals.

I have to say I'm not that big a fan of the new covers. I really liked the old cover for The Mockingbirds - it's simple, and I like how the bird relates to the story. I don't really like the cover for the paperback, but I decided to buy this one instead of the hardcover one because it'll match the cover for The Rivals.

With a lovable main character you can't help but feel for, a great writing style, and unique secondary charcters, The Mockingbirds is a powerful story of learning to stand up for yourself; it  realistically and honestly addresses a difficult topic. I have to get my hands on a copy of The Rivals as soon as possible!

If you've read this book, what did you think?


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