Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review: The Mockingbirds

The Mockingbirds
Author: Daisy Whitney
Published: January 2, 2012
Paperback, 332 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

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.

For someone who can't even think about the possibility of being raped, I certainly read a lot of books revolving around it. I am always drawn to books about girls who have been through something terrible and come out on top in the end. Sometimes they win in a small way, but other times, like in The Mockingbirds, they get all the justice they could want. Yes, no matter what happens, there is still the fact that the assault occurred, but there are ways to help you sleep at night, and Alex certainly got hers.

This book jumped right into it. We don't see the event happen, just the aftermath. Alex doesn't remember anything when she wakes up in a dorm that isn't her own. She listens to the guy she wakes up beside when he says they had a great night together. It isn't until she gets home when she realizes something is wrong. It's hard for her to admit what happened, and when she finally finds the strength, her sister suggests The Mockingbirds, a secret society inside the school that holds trials for cases that the school board chooses to ignore. Frightened, Alex agrees and is soon transported into the underbelly of her school. Suddenly her fear is replaced with bravery and she's ready to stand up for what happened and make sure the man who did this to her pays.

What I liked most is that even though she novel revolves around rape and a trial about it, it doesn't seem preachy. We find out the information about what happened that night throughout the book with Alex, feeling the pain of thinking it's her own fault for drinking too much, and the fear when she passes him in the hall. The Mockingbirds are a great touch. Named after To Kill a Mockingbird, they fight for justice in a school that decides it doesn't need to. The more Alex discovers, the more I rooted her for to get to the end where she feels safe enough to go out at night. The scariest thing about being assaulted is the fear of moving on with your life. Yes, there is no way to get over it in a night, but justice and knowing that the person who did this to you has been outed, would certainly help me sleep at night. The Mockingbirds protect the student body and help everyone feel safe. I think every school needs a society like this. 

The plot was fast paced enough to make me want to keep reading. The bits and pieces of Alex's night staggers throughout the pages crept into me just like they did her. This book stood apart from the other books about rape that I've read. Even though they all have the same major theme, Alex's story sounded real and believable. She was not attacked, she was date raped, and something like that is more likely to happen to a girl in college or university. Whitney approached it in the best way possible. Alex's story has happened to many girls, including the author, and the more we write about it, the more these girls will be strong enough to stand up and get the justice they deserved. No one should have to fear this happening to them, but if it does, they should know it's safe to tell someone about it. 

“In this moment I'm not defined by the other things, the things that happened to me, the things I didn't choose. This is the part of me that defines for all time, for always. The thing I choose completely.”

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