Monday, September 16, 2013

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
The Mockingbirds #1
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, November 2, 2010
Hardcover, 332 pages
Borrowed from library

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 Patrick is date-raped during her junior year, she has two options: Stay silent and hope someone helps, or enlist the aid of the Mockingbirds-a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of the student body.

In this account of a teenage girl's search for her voice and the courage to use it, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that standing up for someone, especially yourself, is worth the fight.

- Description from

One of my favourite things in the entire world is landing upon a good book by accident. Or at least, without the intention to. And I'm so happy I got to experience this just when my reading was in crisis mode. A string of not so good books plus some not so good books I have to plow through PLUS school made for a very dire reading situation. I desperately needed a breather and what do you know, I found it in this book.

The Mockingbirds doesn't strike me as a book I would love. It deals with a very serious topic - date rape - and though serious topics may not leave me running for the hills, they definitely make me frightened. I'm always thinking about how far the author will delve into the situation: too little and I feel it's shallow, too much and I want to block it out, I feel so uncomfortable because the words are hitting me so hard. And truthfully, it's tough to find that balance of just right in any book dealing with very serious, very important, very real issues. But The Mockingbirds brings that.

The Mockingbirds tells the story of junior Alex who gets date-raped by another student at her school, Themis Academy. And here's where Daisy adds her originality, rather cleverly I might add. Themis isn't your typical school. The administration barely bats an eye at the secret happenings of the students. Someone got killed? Just act like nothing happened. And so obviously, this type of setting is great for misbehaviour. People can do whatever they want and the teachers won't step in. Which is why it's up to the students to make sure everyone's in line. There's a secret group called the Mockingbirds made up of Themis students whose very job is to police the grounds. And when Alex gets date-raped, she turns to the Mockingbirds for help.

I loved getting to see the inner workings of the Mockingbrids. It was so fascinating and incredibly vibrant in the way that it nearly stood out from the page. The impact they have on the students in Themis is wonderful and it's represented in the way Alex begins to develop throughout the story. As she's consulting with them about her situation, we see Alex grow into such a strong figure that it's hard not to be inspired by her.

And that was the best part of this book. Being inspired to DO something when things aren't right. I truly have to extend my thanks to Daisy Whitney for writing such an important book. It's great that teens can educate themselves with books now. You know, once again, I have to be grateful I'm growing up during a time when YA books really do hold power and influence. I feel so much stronger now having just read this book. 

Incredibly moving and just amazing in its entirety, The Mockingbirds is a book you won't want to miss. Highly recommended.


  1. Thank you so much, Annie, for putting this book on my radar (even though the last thing I need to be doing is adding more books to my to-read list, but *shrug*)! I think I'll always hold a special place in my heart for mockingbirds - and mockingjays, for that matter - because they seem to be shunned a lot in fiction, and that must be painful for them.

    "I'm always thinking about how far the author will delve into the situation: too little and I feel it's shallow, too much and I want to block it out" - I get what you mean! I'm okay with serious topics being dealt in books, but it must be incredibly important for the author to get it right in order for me to enjoy the book properly. I'm so glad this wasn't the case here, and that the author balanced things out perfectly.

    I don't know why, but this group of mockingbirds make me feel both sad and happy for them at the same time. It's like... they've been wronged (I don't know how seriously, except in Alex's case) and they have no one higher up they can turn to, but they still have each other. And I think it's beautiful how you were able to see Alex develop through them. This - THIS - is powerful writing.

    One of the best kinds of books teach lessons, so this: "And that was the best part of this book. Being inspired to DO something when things aren't right." really make me want to read the book more. I can see how much THE MOCKINGBIRDS impacted me, and honestly, Daisy Whitney should feel accomplished for being able to make readers feel that way!

    So, I hadn't heard of this book before now, but I can say that I'm very interested in it, though the serious topic it deals with kind of puts me off. Still, so happy you enjoyed it (contemporaries seem to really be stepping up in their game recently!), and I hope to be able to give it a go in the future. Lovely review, Annie!

  2. Yay, I'm happy it sounds interesting! And you're right, it is so sad that such a group needs to be created to enforce the rules! I know people say teenagers need to learn to take initiative and be independent but seriously, it's ridiculous that THEY have to be the ones policing themselves. Hopefully, this doesn't happen in actual schools! I'm sure glad it doesn't at mine!

  3. Mockingbirds, mockingjays - whatever it is, I agree with you! They deserve the attention!

    Especially the mockingbirds in this book. It's such a great feat that they can take matters into their own hands and deal with them so successfully. But it is sad. While it's amazing what the students were able to achieve here, I think it's always nice to feel like someone has your back. And it's terrible that these students don't.

  4. Ooo I had no idea this was about date rape! I've definitely seen it around. It's interesting seeing students take matters into their own hands. I'm very interested in seeing how the Mockingbirds deal with it and handle the situation. Just remembered, is this the Daisy Whitney who wrote When You Were Here? Nonetheless, great review Annie :D Will keep an eye out for this!

  5. Oh, I haven't read When You Were Here yet. I've seen it floating around the blogosphere but haven't paid it any notice until now. I think I'll add it on my TBR...

    Thanks so much Charlotte! :) I'll be keeping an eye for When You Were Here!