The Mockingbirds

( 46 )

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
"[Whitney] writes with smooth assurance and a propulsive rhythm as she follows Alex through the Mockingbird's trial process and its accompanying emotional storm of confusion, shame, fear, and finally, empowerment. Authentic and illuminating, this strong debut explores vital teen topics of sex and violence; crime and punishment; ineffectual authority; and the immeasurable, healing influence of friendship and love."
The Guardian

"Extraordinary...Shocking and eye-opening, this book is hard to put down."
Courtney Summers
Praise for The Mockingbirds:

"In The Mockingbirds, Daisy Whitney has written an unflinchingly honest story about the importance of taking a stand and speaking out. An emotionally powerful debut that will leave readers breathless."

Publishers Weekly
First-time author Whitney boldly addresses date rape, vigilantism, and academic politics in an intense and timely novel, set at the elite Themis Academy. The facts about what happened to high school junior Alex after a concert are fuzzy at first. She wakes up naked in a fellow student's bedroom with a hangover and no recollection of how she got there. Bit by bit, the horrors of the previous night come back to her, forcing her to conclude she's had nonconsensual sex with someone she barely knew. Avoiding the boy who took advantage of her during her drunken state doesn't ease her anxiety; neither does the prospect of telling authorities what occurred. Instead of going to the police or to school officials, Alex solicits the aid of the Mockingbirds, a clandestine group of students bent on serving justice. Candid first-person narration expresses Alex's doubts and convictions while raising relevant questions regarding her method of righting a wrong. Besides showing skill in executing suspense and drama, Whitney masterfully evokes the complexity of her protagonist's emotions, particularly her intense longing to feel "normal" again. Ages 15–up. (Nov.)
VOYA - Sean Rapacki
Schools often fail to properly address problems like bullying, hate crimes, and date rape, leaving the victims feeling both isolated and helpless. This novel, which takes place at an elite Rhode Island boarding school, poses a solution for such victims: a clandestine student group that investigates and tries crimes among the student body and delivers justice—of a sort. After a night of excessive drinking, high school junior Alex Patrick wakes up naked in bed with a strange guy, water polo jock Carter Hutchinson. The story that follows involves Alex's gradual acceptance of the fact that she is a victim of date rape and her attempt to seek justice through this unusual group of peers, named the Mockingbirds after the Harper Lee classic. While there are things to dislike about this book, such as a too-pat ending and the suggestion that date rape is a crime not worthy of the official justice system, the intriguing premise—that your peers could judge you and force you to give up that which means the most to you (in Carter's case, water polo) as a punishment—and the well-defined protagonist will draw teen readers to the book. The honesty in the depiction of Alex and her feelings results from the fact that the author herself was a victim of date rape in her freshman year of college, and her authentic voice is extremely compelling. Reviewer: Sean Rapacki
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Alex wakes up in a strange bed, naked, and with a terrible headache, lying next to a boy whose name she doesn't know. A junior at an elite boarding school, she is used to a controlled and nearly perfect life. Among all the talented and special students at Themis Academy, Alex is a standout as a classical musician. How could she have been so stupid as to have sex—for the very first time—with this stranger? It takes several days, and the support of her roommates and friends, for her to piece together the events that led up to that horrible morning. The portrayal of the aftermath of alcohol-fueled sexual assault is particularly well drawn. Alex is confused, disoriented, and deeply shamed, but her friends help her understand that, no matter how drunk she was, sex without consent is rape. There is no help from the school authorities, who have failed to protect students from one another in the past, so Alex turns to the Mockingbirds. This semisecret society is an ingenious student-initiated justice system that holds individuals responsible for their actions. Just like in the world outside, the wheels of justice turn slowly, but ultimately Alex has the satisfaction of holding her assailant to account. Particularly poignant is Alex's growing relationship with a kind and caring boy who helps her regain her equilibrium and look to the future. Written with a deep awareness of post-trauma experience and a keen ear for high school dialogue, this novel makes an impassioned case for youth taking responsibility for the actions of their peers.—Carolyn Lehman, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA
Kirkus Reviews

Whitney, who brought a successful case against a man who date-raped her in college, here sets a date rape and its aftermath on the campus of an elite boarding school. After Alex wakes up disoriented in a strange boy's bedroom, her roommate and sister convince her to go to the Mockingbirds, an underground student group dedicated to justice. As Alex's case against the thoroughly slimy Carter progresses and her memories of the night return, her emotions run a realistic gamut from shame to self-doubt to fury. However, the story's simplicity is troubling. Everyone but Carter and his villainous friends easily believes Alex's accusations—a rare boon for a rape survivor—and the school's obliviousness to student wrongdoing is implausible. Students use elements of To Kill a Mockingbird as code, but the references feel gimmicky and forced, particularly because the original Mockingbirdrape trial is a grave miscarriage of justice. Hits a few high notes—including a consensual, caring and mutually desirous relationship between Alex and a Mockingbird—but ultimately disappointing. (Fiction. 15 & up)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316090544
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 1/2/2012
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 287,481
  • Age range: 15 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Daisy Whitney is a new-media producer, a reporter, and an internationally known web show creator, and The Mockingbirds was her debut novel. She graduated from Brown University and lives in San Francisco, California, with her fabulous husband, fantastic kids, and adorable dog.
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Read an Excerpt

The Mockingbirds


By Whitney, Daisy

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Copyright © 2010 Whitney, Daisy
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780316090537

Chapter One

First Time

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.

And there’s a fourth thing now. It’s ridiculously bright in my room. I drape my forearm over my eyes, blocking out the morning sun beating in through my windows, when it hits me—a fifth thing.

These are not my windows.

Which means this is not my bed.

My head pounds as I turn to look at this boy whose name I don’t remember. He’s still asleep, his chest moving up and down in time to an invisible metronome. I scan his features, his nose, his lips, searching for something, anything that rings a bell. A clue to connect me to him. But remembering last night is like looking through frosted glass. I see nothing. But I can hear one word, loud and clear.

Leave.

The word repeats in my head.

Leave.

It’s beating louder, commanding me to get out of this bed, to get out of this room.

Get out. Get out. Get out.

My heart hammers and my head hurts and there’s this taste in my mouth, this dry, parched taste, this heavy taste of a night I don’t remember with… I squeeze my eyes shut. This can’t be this hard. What’s his name?

Remember, Goddamn it, remember.

Carver.

His name is Carver.

Deep breath. There, no need to panic, no need to be all crazy-dramatic. I’ve got his name. Another breath. The rest will come back to me. It will all make sense, so much sense I’ll be laughing about it any second. I won’t be able to stop laughing, because I’m sure there’s some perfectly reasonable explanation.

As I look at the matted bedsheets twisting around this boy and me, snaking across his naked waist, curling around my exposed chest, a draft rushes through the room, bringing a fresh chill with it. That must be it. It’s chilly… it’s cold… it’s January. Maybe it was snowing—we went sledding, I took a spill, changed out of my ice-cold clothes, and then crashed here in Carver’s room.

No, it’s Carter.

Definitely Carter.

I’m naked in bed with a boy and I can’t even get his name right.

This boy, this bed, this room, me—we are like clumsy fingers on the piano, crashing across the wrong keys, and over the jarring music I hear that one word again.

Leave.

I slide closer to the edge of this too-small twin bed and dangle my naked feet until they touch the standard-issue Themis Academy carpeting—a Persian rug. His is crimson and tan with interlocking diamonds. I don’t want to see a carpet like this again. Ever. I stand up slowly so the bed won’t creak.

Then I grab my clothes from the floor, collecting underwear, jeans, tank top, purple sweater, pink socks, and black boots, all scattered on the diamonds of the carpet. I’m cold without them, freezing even, and I’d really like to cover up my breasts. I spot my bra in the indentation of a cheap red pleather beanbag. My adorable, cute, black-and-white polka-dot bra thrown carelessly onto the worst piece of furniture ever invented.

He threw my bra.

The room tilts, like I’m on one of those fun-house walkways, angling back and forth. Only it’s not fun, because fun houses never are.

They’re distorted.

I snatch my bra, pulling it close to me, and get dressed quickly. As I yank up my socks, I notice a trash can teeming with Diet Coke cans. Carter doesn’t even recycle? Way to pick a winner, Alex. Then I freeze, seeing something worse, far worse. Two condom wrappers on top of his garbage, each one ripped down the middle, each one empty.

I close my eyes. I must be seeing things. It’s the morning, it’s hazy, the sun is far too bright.

But when I open my eyes the wrappers are still here, Carter’s still here, I’m still here. And nothing adds up the way I want it to. I zip up my boots in a flash, obeying the voice in my head shouting Leave now! Carter’s still sleeping, his mouth hanging open unattractively. Small lines of white crust have formed on the corners of his lips. His blond hair is sticking up in all kinds of directions.

I step gingerly across the carpet, spying a small black bag near the closet door that looks as if it holds shaving lotion and stuff boys use. I don’t want to open it and know what else is in there—tweezers? Do boys use tweezers? I don’t want to know what they’d tweeze—but I hate the way my mouth tastes right now, because it tastes like last night. I grab my coat, then crouch down by the black bag and slowly undo the zipper, tooth by metal tooth. I hold my breath, look back at Carter. He shifts, flips to his other side.

Don’t wake up. Don’t wake up. Don’t wake up.

I reach a hand into the bag, feel around for a tube of toothpaste. I pull it out, uncap it, squirt some onto my index finger. I scrub it across my teeth, erasing the sour taste, erasing the evidence, and drop the tube into the bag, the cap falling next to it. And at that moment Carter wakes up.

“Hey…,” he says, not even groggily. He’s just awake, plain and simple.

“Hey,” I mumble. I don’t usually mumble. No one is a mumbler at Themis Academy.

He rubs his chin with the palm of his hand.

A hand that touched me.

I wonder if I thought he was good-looking last night. In the morning he’s not. He has white-blond hair, a sharp nose, pale eyes. Maybe he was funny is all I can think. Maybe he made me laugh. Maybe he’s a riot and I laughed so hard my sides hurt. I place my right hand on my waist, hunting for the physical evidence.

He raises an eyebrow, almost winks at me. Something about the gesture reminds me of a politician. “So, did you have a good time last night?”

Let’s see: I’m tiptoeing across your room, praying you won’t wake up, can barely remember your name. Yeah, I had an epic night, just fantastic. Care to tell me what transpired between, say, midnight and, oh, ten minutes ago? Wait, don’t bother. Let’s just pretend this never happened and we’ll never mention it again. Cool?

He leans back on the bed, rests his head on the pillow. “Want to go again?”

I narrow my eyes at him, crush my lips together, shake my head quickly. He thinks I’m easy.

“I have to study,” I answer, taking a step backward toward the door.

“On a Saturday morning?”

Everyone at Themis studies on Saturdays, yes, even on Saturday mornings.

I nod. Another step.

“But term just started two days ago.”

“Crazy teachers giving out homework already,” I say, managing two steps this time. What, you don’t have homework yet? Are you in the slow track? I want to say.

But he’s not in the slow track. There is no slow track here. I wonder if Carter is in any of my classes.… Then I do the math. A junior class of two hundred, the odds are this won’t be the last I see of him.

If I were a conductor, I would wave the baton and make all this vanish.

“Know what you mean,” he says. “Spanish teacher assigned some massive essay already. I haven’t started it yet.”

That’s one class where I’ll be spared. I take French. Dieu merci.

“I gotta go.”

“Okay, well, I’ll call you,” he says, making some sort of stupid phone-to-the-head gesture. Then he practically jumps out of bed. I jerk my head away because he’s still naked and I don’t want to know what he looks like naked. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice him reach for his boxers. He pulls them on as I wrap my palm around the doorknob, gripping it tightly.

I desperately want to leave, but I need to know for sure. “So, uh, I have to ask.” I stop, barely able to choke out the words. “Did we…?” I can’t bring myself to say them.

He smiles, looking as if he would beat his chest with his fists if he were maybe one species less evolved.

“Yeah, twice. After we saw the band. It was great.” He looks triumphant.

But I feel like I just tasted tinfoil by mistake, the awful accidental taste that makes you want to spit it out. I pull the door open and do the one thing I should have done last night.

Leave.

Because you’re supposed to remember your first time.

Author’s Note Though The Mockingbirds is entirely fictional, I feel close to Alex. Like her, I was date-raped when I was a teenager. It happened in the fall of 1990, just a few months into my freshman year at Brown University. Even now, I can still picture that night with a harsh kind of clarity. I can still remember how it felt to walk the long way to class and avoid the cafeteria at all costs so I wouldn’t run into him. My entire schedule was dictated by staying far away from one boy. I didn’t want to spend the next four years of college living in fear, so I decided to do something about it. I pressed charges through the University Disciplinary Committee. It wasn’t an easy choice or an easy road. In fact, my case was one of the first heard at Brown after a very contentious time when it seemed to many that the school had looked the other way. Back then, many universities were largely ignoring women who were date-raped. Most schools didn’t have systems in place to hear cases. Awareness programs didn’t even register on their radar screens. Naturally, many students at colleges all around the country were angry. Some women refused to stay silent. At Brown, women who had been date-raped started writing down the names of the perpetrators on a bathroom wall in the university library. But they didn’t stop there. They went to the administration and demanded that the university step up. The New York Times even wrote about their efforts. It’s amazing what a group of vocal students, the image of a long list of names of rapists on a bathroom wall, and a national newspaper article can do! Brown began changing its own processes and procedures for handling date-rape cases, and I was able to file charges in this newly revised system, which operated a lot like a traditional court. Both students called witnesses and presented their sides to the disciplinary council through an “advocate,” who acted as a lawyer. The system was similar to the one in The Mockingbirds except for one big difference: The administration knew of and supported the process. Cases were heard in one of the university buildings, rather than in a basement laundry room. My case was tried one winter evening, and I testified in front of the council and in front of the boy. The committee ruled in my favor, and he was suspended for a semester. I felt safe again. So did other women who went on to press charges. I know because I heard from them. One night during my junior year, I got a phone call from a girl who’d been through the same thing. We met in her room and sat on the carpet while she told me what happened the night she was date-raped—the chilling effect it had on her studies, and what was said during the trial itself. It was as if we could finish each other’s sentences. I decided to keep speaking up. I wrote about my experiences for the school newspaper, and I heard from even more women who’d been date-raped and from others who hadn’t but who were glad the school was finally listening and acting. Other universities took notice of what happened at Brown and also started changing their policies and systems for handling date rape. Things are different now, and schools are doing a better job of protecting women. Looking back nearly twenty years later, I know my experience speaking up and listening to others was critical to my own healing and, eventually, forgiveness. As you can probably tell, I’m a big believer in speaking up, but I am also keenly aware of how it can feel to believe you have no options—to have to resort to writing on the walls. The Mockingbirds is inspired by one of my favorite books, to kill a Mockingbird, and born of that feeling of powerlessness I once felt. What if no one can protect us? What if the school can’t help us? Can we help ourselves? Can we do the right thing? I’d like to think the answer is yes.



Continues...

Excerpted from The Mockingbirds by Whitney, Daisy Copyright © 2010 by Whitney, Daisy. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 46 )
Rating Distribution

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(26)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 46 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    Amazing.

    This is definitely not a boarding school I'd ever recomend to anyone. Alex has been date raped by another student and goes to the Mockingbirds, a group Alex's sister had started her senior year due to a girl committing suicide because of bullying. The guy who raped her denies it, spreads rumors that she was begging for it, and treats Alex as if she's easy. Alex begins to avoid the risk of seeing him as she takes the long way to classes, avoids the caf, and spends a majority of her time playing piano in the music hall while waiting for the Mockingbirds to try her case. As time goes on throughout the book, she begins to remember more about the night she was raped, being too drunk and passed out for most of the event. At the trial held in a laundry room, the Mockingbird council must decide if Carter date raped Alex.
    This book mentions To Kill a Mockingbird many times, and it fits in so well. I'd recomend this to almost anyone. This has been one of the best books I've read. And if you enjoy this one, read The Rivals, also. It continues on from this book to where Alex is the leader. It's very good.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Lilac Wolf and Stuff Review

    Funny little story - you all know I do reviews here, hunting down publishers to get review copies. I'm at the Salvation Army with my boys and I find an "Advanced Reading Copy - NOT FOR SALE" for $0.49. The title reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird, and this is referenced in this book quite often. My cover has a redish tint to it, and I have to say I like that better than the blue. But that's the only difference.

    One reviewer at Amazon criticized the quote on the cover which says "Hush little students, don't say a word..." and says that this made him expect a thriller. So not too surprising to see where his disappointment came from. And I think he makes a valid point, it takes away from the actual plot of the story.

    Alex wakes up in a boys room, with no idea how she got there, where her clothes went or even who the boy is. It does come to her slowly through the story. But basically she got really drunk and was date raped. I loved how Alex's friends gave her unwavering support and helped her get help.

    I hated that the school was useless. The teachers want the school to be full of the best of the best so they ignore anything bad that happens. The students take matters into their own hands by creating a group that doles out justice among the students. It has amazing checks and balances and both parties agree to take the punishment whatever the outcome.

    I really, really loved the teacher that told her that it didn't matter if she had the time of her life with Carter, she was too drunk to give consent and what he did was wrong. I don't think teenage girls should read this, I think ALL teenagers should read this. I don't think we do enough to teach personal responsibility. Carter thought since they were making out prior that she wanted it. Even though she said she wanted to go home, even when she tried to push him off. She was too drunk to fight back and his only defense was that she didn't say "no." Well she didn't say anything, she was mostly sleeping.

    I also found it amazing to find the author herself is a victim of date rape. Something that is really the hardest form of rape to prove and prosecute. I think this book is a great addition to the fight.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Law & Order: teen sex crime adjudicated by secret high school society!

    The students at Themis Academy, a boarding school for exceptional high school aged kids, are above average; and Alex fits the profile. Gifted musically above any of her fellow juniors, she is expected to go far and hopes for eventual acceptance at Julliard in New York. So when she wakes up the morning after attending a concert to find herself in bed with a stranger with which she had obviously had sex, she doesn't know what to think, to feel, or even whom to blame. Yes, she had indulged in alcohol, something unusual for her; yes, she had danced and flirted with a boy she'd never met and had eventually gone with him to his room. But things are fuzzy after that, and not only can she not remember losing her virginity, she can't recall whether she'd said yes...or no. So begins Daisy Whitney's excellent precautionary tale of a good girl to whom a bad thing happens with extraordinary ease. Alex's life changes in one evening. And since the faculty at Themis Academy wear blinders and can't see any of their gifted students behaving in a less than civil manner, who can a girl go to for help? Fortunately, Alex's big sister had been instrumental in forming just the sort of group that can help win justice for Themis students. It takes a walk of shame the morning after, stares and whispers and growing rumors about what really happened that night along with the support of her roommates to convince Alex that what happened to her was a crime and not her fault. The Mockingbirds is a not-so-secret society that hears claims, investigates and judges cases brought between students at the academy. And because peer pressure and reputation is everything to young people, when they administer a sentence, it is swiftly carried out. Whitney does a great, non-preachy job of stirring Alex through her returning memories of that fateful night and revealing the self-doubt of many a date-rape victim. It's also a great lesson in discovering that although one is young, a person can still fight for justice for oneself and others. There's also a budding romance between Alex and her nerd-extraordinaire friend, Martin, that shows that rape doesn't stamp out the possibility of love. This sensitive yet sensible teen novel should be on the reading list of every parent, teacher, counsellor, and principal as well as that of both teen girls and boys. Especially instructive to girls is the warning about drinking too much in the company of people you barely know and to boys, the never over-emphasized warning that no means NO!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 20, 2010

    Powerful and Moving!

    I'm hoping I can get more put into this review than AH!! I Loved it!! Fan girl SQUEE!!
    Maybe now that I got that out of my system I can write something coherent ;)

    The Mockingbirds begins with Alex waking up in a room that is not hers, in a bed that's not hers, completely naked, and beside a guy she doesn't remember going home with. As she rushes to gather her clothes and get out of the room he wakes up and informs her that they had sex, twice. As Alex does the walk of shame back to her dorm, wearing the same clothes she wore the night before, she wonders how someone could loose their virginity and not remember it.

    This is such a powerful book. We are taken through the journey along with Alex as she struggles with what's happened to her. As she avoids the cafeteria so that she doesn't have to see him, or hear him telling his friends how she was easy. She walks the long way to classes to avoid running into him. We're with her as she struggles with whether she should tell anyone, whether she should stand up for herself. And we are with her when she finds her voice and finally stands up for herself, and other girls like her, and decides to *SPEAK LOUDLY*.

    This book was very emotional, but it's written so well that you feel like you're living her struggle along with her. I was laughing and crying and screaming in outrage while reading this. This book helps me realize that we all need to speak up when bad things happen, whether for ourselves or for someone else, and help cause a change to be made. We can all do something! This book is wonderful for teens and adults alike, and I hope everyone rushes out to buy a copy ASAP!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2013

    Mockingbirds

    I checked this book out and finished it in one day. At first I thought it was a little gross (im 13!) But it became very absorbing and I was sucked in to its whirlwind of drama. Its a real page turner/ tapper!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2012

    great book!!!!!!

    This is a fantastic book. It is amazingly realistic and has realistic problems. You will feel as if you are living this characters life as you go through her whole journey.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2013

    Beautiful and haunting!

    This book takes a shockingly unfortunate circumstance and deals out justice most people never receive. Thoughtful, poignant, and heart-breakingly honest. If you liked the Lovely Bones, you will love this.

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  • Posted February 15, 2013

    I really, really enjoyed this book. Look forward to reading the

    I really, really enjoyed this book. Look forward to reading the sequel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2012

    Anon

    I really liked this book. However, I felt that the dialog was somewhat "cheesy" in a few places. The author did a nice job with being descriptive. I could picture the campus etc. I believe both genders would benefit from reading this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2012

    Wow

    Wow i couldent stop reading my eyes were like glued to the page!!!!!
    (: ROCK ON!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2012

    has problems in its message

    I'm of two minds on this book, that deals with a date rape on a boarding school campus. At first I thought the writing was brilliant: the pain and emotion the main character, Alex, felt due to the rape was real and raw. However the continuation of the story and the student body's vigilante court trial was unrealistic and bothered me on some levels. In the author's note at the end, she writes about having gone through a date rape so she knows what she is talking about in this. She also writes that her date rape case, which happened at Brown University, was one of the first the campus took seriously and prosecuted within its judicial system. I think she was trying to recreate a similar atmosphere of students refusing to be quiet about an important issue that the school wasn't taking seriously enough. However, in the fictional case, the school is so incompetent and turns a blind eye that the students must devise their own system for trying such cases, without any involvement from teachers, administration or parents. In fact, capable adults are pretty much entirely absent. I know many teenagers don't feel that any adult could ever help them with their problems, but the situation in this book is unbelievable. There is only one sympathetic teacher to whom the main character eventually turns pretty much after the students have tried the case.

    My parental evaluation: this book has some similarities with Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, but that book is in my opinion, far superior, though I think Alex's reaction to what happened was far more realistic. Alex blames herself, feels guilty, but doesn't cut herself off from everybody. However, the description of the rape in Mockingbirds is more graphic. There is some crude language. One implied lesson to be taught from both books is that getting drunk is really not smart and can lead to situations between men and women where no or yes are easily confused. The book also seems to say that adults are incompetent imbeciles who can't help a teen in trouble.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2012

    I think people can learn a lot from this book. The theme behind

    I think people can learn a lot from this book. The theme behind the book is a really good one that everyone should learn. I really liked the thought of the students helping other students but I think that in real life they needed to go to the police because some problems students can't handle and rape is one that needs to go to the police. I loves the Characters in the book i thought they were interesting and the author did a great job of making people care about them. I also read the sequel and loved it!

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  • Posted June 28, 2012

    I didn't know what this book was about when I grabbed it at BEA.

    I didn't know what this book was about when I grabbed it at BEA. I kinda like not knowing what I'm getting into when reading a book. But I must say that I was blown away with this story. There were a few clunky moments with the writing, but we'll chalk it up to first-time writeritis. But I will say this, Daisy Whitney is a kick-ass writer. And the story she tells is one that teens should read. Heck, parents should read because date rape is a problem in high school and college. As we send our teens out to the real world after they graduate high school, who will watch them?
    Alex Patrick goes to Themis Academy. A close and tight-knit community. Every student there, according to the teachers and administrators, are intrinsically good. There is no discipline in the school. So a few years ago, Alex's older sister, Casey, created the Mockingbirds to self-police the students. Too many students were staying quiet when they were being bullied, raped, or just a simple cheating case. During a Friday night concert, Alex has too much to drink, hangs out with Carter. Ends up back in his room and wakes up the next morning, naked and not sure what has happened. As she starts piecing together the evening, she realizes that she never agreed to have sex and she's not exactly sure what has happened. In talking to her roommate, TS, Alex realizes that the possibility is that she has been date raped. She is presented with a dilemma: stay quiet and allow this to happen again, or get The Mockingbirds involved to help her come to terms with what has happened. Because a date-rape case has never come before The Mockingbirds, they must get the student body to ratify the code before they will take the case. They must vote on:
    Sexual assault is against the standards to which Themis students hold themselves. Sexual assualt is sexual contact (not just intercourse) where on of the parties has not given or cannot give active verbal consent, i.e., uttered a clear "yes" to the action. If a person does not say "no" that does not mean he or she said "yes". Silence does not equal consent. Silence could mean fear, confusion, inebriation. The only thing that means yes is a yes. A lack of yes is a no. The Mockingbirds, Pg 268.
    From there, Alex starts the arduous journey of clearing her name and proving that a sexual assault occurred when she was not in her right mind. There were times when you're not sure what exactly happened and whether if Alex was misremembering things. With the help of The Mockingbirds and a sweet boy named, Martin. Alex realizes that The Mockingbirds are working in her favor to help her. She just has to let them to help. I absolutely loved the definition of what describes a sexual assault. So from the book I took it verbatim. If anything like this happens to you, please do not be ashamed and tell your parents, a confidante, guidance counselor. They are there to help you. This book is here to help you realize that you are not alone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2012

    Amazing

    This book has a little bit for everyone. At first I hesitated to buy it, but i am very glad that I decided to get it. One of.the most addictive books I have ever read!

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  • Posted March 19, 2012

    I am not sure how I can write a review that truly captures how p

    I am not sure how I can write a review that truly captures how powerful this book was. The Mockingbirds is about standing up for yourself and being willing to fight for it.

    Now thankfully I have never been date-raped but I think if I were I would react the same way Alex did in the beginning. She didn’t want to tell anyone because she thought they would look down on her, and that she would forever be seen as “that girl who was date-raped.”

    Another reason Alex doesn’t want to tell is because she doesn’t remember it so she is not positive whether she gave consent or not. This is a huge deal, thousands of girls every year use that reason as the reason they don’t report/tell someone. Whitney paints the picture of a lost and confused girl absolutely perfectly. Unfortunately that is because it happened to her. After you read The Mockingbirds make sure to read the author note. It really solidified for me the feelings I had about the book.

    The secondary characters in The Mockingbirds were really strong and I wish we had gotten to know them better, but I did like how we got to learn more about Anna as the book progressed.

    I highly recommend this book to everyone. I think it is important to have books that bring up these issues and empower girls through them.

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  • Posted February 14, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderfully Moving

    The Mockingbirds starts out with Alex waking up from a bad night of drinking and she's naked, in a guys bed, and she does not remember anything, other than she wants to get away. So begins a powerful book on date rape and the struggle to take back your life. The boarding school turns a blind eye to the whole thing which is sad. They are so concerned with how the school looks on the outside, but inside its just a mess. Thats why there are the Mockingbirds, a student run police force that helps keep order. I like Alex a lot. She is someone you feel good about rooting for. You want to stand up there with her and help her get justice. But this book also deals with how Alex feels about herself and how she tries to give her feelings a chance with another guy.
    The good thing is she recovers, she makes a stand and wins, but you see snippets of other girls at her school who come to her, telling her that she's not the only one, that there are others out there. That knowledge gives Alex power because she's not only taking a stand in her case, she's helping others do the exact same.
    Its not something for younger readers, but for someone in high school, it should be required reading. Just so girls can see that its not okay what happened and that there is help out there.

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  • Posted August 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful

    The idea that students have to discipline themselves is intriguing, and Whitney executed that unquestionably well in this page-turner. Sometimes when a chapter ended and I needed to go do something else, I would just keep reading. I had to.

    A moving story about a date-raped girl and how she discovers how to use her voice-The Mockingbirds did not disappoint. Real love, real issues, real justice. You won't want to miss the enthralling contemporary novel that is this book.

    Powerful and potent-The Mockingbirds is a story to which everyone can relate and love.

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  • Posted July 20, 2011

    Page-turner!

    This book was great and made me want to read more; the imagery was awesome!

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  • Posted July 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderfully written!

    The Mockingbirds is about date rape. The story begins with Alex waking up naked in Carter's room with no memory of what happened the previous night. With her friends' help, she goes to The Mockingbirds, a secret student run police force. The Mockingbirds are The Law amongst the students. In addition to taking Alex's case on, they help protect her from Carter.
    Alex begins the story a victim of a terrible crime. Over the course of the book, she slowly regains power over her life. She even acknowledges the fact that she's letting the rape take over her life. Her schedule, eating habits, and personal life were all dictated by Carter. The Mockingbirds helped her get over all of that.
    Martin, a member of the Mockingbirds, really helped Alex. Even though he somewhat blamed himself for what happened to Alex. Actually, many of Alex's friends blamed themselves for what happened to her, even though it was no one's fault but Carter's. Martin was so sweet. I really liked how the romance in this book wasn't overpowering. The rape and Alex's transformation were the main points in the plot. The romance was more of a compliment to the story; it wasn't necessary but at the same time it was much appreciated. Of course, their relationship wasn't easy. Alex was raped, so its only natural for her to be hesitant about having a relationship with a guy. However, since Martin and Alex were good friends before she was raped, it wasn't as difficult as it could have been if he was just some guy that asked her out.
    The Mockingbirds was so wonderfully written! The dialogue was never awkward or choppy; it flowed nicely. The plot was well developed and it too was well paced. My favorite part, though, was not the plot but the actual writing. Ms. Whitney's own experience clearly influenced her writing. By writing The Mockingbirds through Alex's point of view, the reader can feel what Alex feels on a much more personal level than if she had written it in 3rd person. Ms. Whitney also uses quotes and draws inspiration from To Kill a Mockingbird. After reading The Mockingbirds, I want to go back and re-read To Kill a Mockingbird.
    The Mockingbirds is a thought provoking novel involving rape and a girl's decision to take a stand. I was reluctant to read it at first, mostly because I'm not a huge fan of serious books. I read to get away from all that. But I couldn't help the fact that almost every review I read praised the book to the point where I said, "I might as well." So far I've read the book twice, and loved it both times.

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  • Posted June 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Marta Morrison for TeensReadToo

    Gold Star Award Winner! What happens if one night you imbibe too much alcohol - and when you pass out someone rapes you? This is what happens to Alex. She is attending a private school and studies music. One January morning, she awakens to find herself in a bed and a room where she has never been before. She is naked and there is a strange guy in the bed with her. She sees opened condom packages and then realizes what has happened, though she cannot remember the details. She can't even remember the guy's name. Alex quickly gets dressed and goes back to her room on campus. From there she tells her roommates and one of them insists that she speak with her older sister. They want her to go to the police, but Alex doesn't see that as an option. She doesn't remember what happened and she knows that she was out of her mind drunk the night before. She doesn't want her parents involved because she doesn't want to go home, and I don't think there is a lot of trust between them. Her sister, who is an alum of her school, tells her to go to a secret organization of students which she coincidentally started years ago. This organization, called The Mockingbirds, handles justice at the school. Alex makes her complaint to The Mockingbirds and the rest of the story is how she stays strong and is able to get some justice against this boy. I really loved this story. It was well-written and the characters were likable. It kept me interested. I do believe that Alex should have gone to the police, or at least to an adult on campus, but the reality of it is that many girls don't ever report this type of crime to anyone. They suffer through and never stand up. That is the important lesson here. If something like this happens to you, you need to stand up and fight for justice. Since the author actually was date raped in college and stood up at a time when date rape was not a believable crime, I believe this mirrors some of what she went through and faced. I really believe that THE MOCKINGBIRDS is a very important book that teens should have to read and discuss.

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