Saturday, December 18, 2010

THE MOCKINGBIRDS by Daisy Whitney

Author: Daisy Whitney
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: November 2, 2010
Number of Pages: 332
How I Got It: Won it from The Contemps Challenge


THE MOCKINGBIRDS is one of those books that is so powerful for young adults to read, but deals with a very sensitive topic. In the same way that SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson brought the topic of date rape and it's psychological impact on a high school girl to adolescents eleven years ago, Daisy Whitney is doing it now in a more straight-forward way in her debut novel, THE MOCKINGBIRDS. To then find out that the author herself has personal experience with this, makes it all the more clear how true and accurate the portrayal of Alex's experiences in the aftermath of this horrifying experience are throughout this novel. At the start of the book Alex wakes up next to a boy she doesn't know and isn't able to remember how she got there. As she goes through that day trying to figure out and remember what happened to her, it becomes apparent that she was incapacitated and date raped. At her boarding school, where the adults trust the students to behave honorably because they are so exceptional in all they do, she has no adults to turn to for help, especially because she herself isn't sure of what happened. So, with the help and support of her close and loyal friends, she debates about turning to The Mockingbirds, a secret society made up of students who have decided to police and judge their own and right the wrongs fellow students commit. Alex's journey to find her truth and path is searingly honest and provides a powerful example of struggling to discover one's own truth and sense of right and wrong, and what one will do to find it.

I read this book in one day - I just wasn't able to put it down because Alex's story is so engrossing and captivating, providing a powerful message for young adults. It provides an interesting look at how those who want to stand up for others and do the right thing can organize a system to police themselves that works. It sends a strong message that "the absence of a no does not mean yes." It touches on bullying issues as well, and shows another way of looking at high school students: if they know what others are doing is wrong, what are they willing to do about it? At Themis Academy, The Mockingbirds are willing to do what it takes to call out those who have wronged others and support the victims in every way. Whitney's writing style drew me in, made me interested in the story and what was happening, and gave me clues along the way that propelled the story forward along with my desire to read it. She wrote smart, real characters with real friendships and struggles and desires. This book has main and secondary characters who were written so I honestly cared about them, wanted to know more about them, wanted to root for them, and would love to hang out with them.

This book is about doing the right thing, finding yourself and your inner strength and beliefs by standing up for yourself and others, becoming stronger in knowing the truth and fighting for it, and surrounding yourself with ones you love who would stand up for and support you when you need them. I think the book speaks for itself: "Maybe, ultimately, that's what we're all aspiring to - to have our own sense of right and wrong and to act on it."

This is without a doubt one of the best books I've read this year, any year really, and I highly recommend that you read it!
5 STARS for THE MOCKINGBIRDS
I look forward to reading more by Daisy Whitney! In fact, book 2 in The Mockingbirds is coming out in fall 2011 - it will definitely be on my to-read list!

Other Books You Might Like: SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson and THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDEAU-BANKS by e. Lockhart 

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