Thursday, November 4, 2010

Review: The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

Tags: YA, date rape, boarding school


When Alex gets date-raped at her prestigious Themis Academy, there’s no one in the jaded administration that she feels comfortable turning to. So instead, she brings her case to the Mockingbirds, a student-run justice system.


A book as impactful as Daisy Whitney’s debut novel comes along only once every few years. THE MOCKINGBIRDS is at once tender and empowering, clear-cut and sensitive. It’s the kind of book that needs to be read by everyone, yet doesn’t scrimp in the important qualities that make up good literature.

I would say read this for the mere fact that EVERYONE should be educated about the personal and societal consequences of date rape, but it’s also more than that. Yes, the book’s subject is one that everyone should be aware of: through Alex’s story, we learn about the rights of the survivor, the emotional maelstrom in the aftermath, and even the guilt and self-hatred that survivors falsely put upon themselves. But all of this is done in a smart, non-preachy manner. It’s really Alex’s story, Themis Academy’s story, and not just a pedagogical tool with interchangeable characters and side plots. Everything comes together in a way that makes it cohesive not just within the story world.

THE MOCKINGBIRDS makes its impact not just by its important subject but also by Daisy Whitney’s writing style. All too often a book will try to make an impact with an explosive issue, forgetting, in the process, to still develop characters and write in a way that makes us readers care and invest. THE MOCKINGBIRDS does not force us to wade through unnecessary descriptions or artificial relationships: each and every character has a role, has a story, and helps Alex. The book deals with its difficult subject in a no-nonsense manner, and while this can sometimes make Alex feel a little underdeveloped, so all-encompassing her date-rape case seems to be, it also makes her the “everygirl,” one whom readers will be able to relate to and empathize with, regardless of our own experiences.

THE MOCKINGBIRDS is one of those books that should be assigned reading for all teens. If everyone could be educated about date rape through Alex’s experience, the world could truly be a better place.

Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Plot: 5/5

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Cover discussion: 4 out of 5 - I think it looks incredibly classy. I initially didn't like the color change from red to the current blue, but after seeing it in person, it doesn't even matter; it's perfect the way it is. :)

Little, Brown / Nov. 2, 2010 / Hardcover / 339pp. / $16.99

ARC picked up at BEA.


  1. Wow fantastic review! This does sound like something every teenager should read. Can't wait to pick up my ARC!

  2. I've been reading a lot of great reviews about this. Can't wait to read it. :)

  3. For some reason I try and stay away from "issue" books, but this one sounds like it's a whole lot more than that. It just sounds really good, and I can't wait to pick it up.

  4. this book is next on my "to read" list. i can't wait! thanks for the awesome review steph, it makes me all the more eager for the book :)

  5. Welp, I'm convinced! Thanks for another great review!

  6. I've been seeing this one and wondering about it. You've convinced me. Damn you, Steph, for your convincing powers! :)

  7. I'm getting this for Christmas and i cannot wait. It sounds like a very important book.

  8. I can't wait to read this. I've heard great reviews about it. Awesome review!

  9. I can't wait to read this one. I hate how rape is often reduced to a quick plot point when it can be addressed effectively.

  10. You don't comment on what you thought of the Mockingbirds policy and treatment of the accused.

    I had huge issues with that in this story. I = reviewed it just the other day.

  11. This is one of the best of the year in my opinion. While I didn't necessarily agree with the vigilanteism I did think it was a very thought provoking read. So many different discussions to be prompted from this book.

  12. Whitney flawlessly weaves together this honest and raw story with beautiful prose, touches of humor, and more than a few gut-wrenching scenes. I laughed, I cried, I cried some more, but in the end, I felt good. I felt changed and not many books can do that to a person. I'm not going to lie, The Mockingbirds may be a little difficult to read for some people, but once the book is closed, it will have been more than worth it.


Hello! I'm so excited to read what you have to say. Due to high amounts of spam, I'm forced to disabled anonymous comments for the time being. Sorry for any inconvenience this causes, and I hope you can understand and still appreciate the content here!


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