06 November 2010

The Mockingbirds: Daisy Whitney

The Mockingbirds (The Mockingbirds, #1)The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This isn't as powerful as Speak, but it raises some good questions about date rape, responsibility and ethics. We start the Morning After, with Alex waking up in an unfamiliar room, unsure of what happened and how she got there. Turns out, she drank too much and went back to Carter's room and, well...

Alex' reaction - the confusion, shame, disappointment in herself - rings true, as does her desire to not report what happened and to simply avoid being in any situation where people might know about it (including going to the dining hall). Because she's at Themis Academy, there's a real sense that it's either the police or nothing, as the school's administration won't step in. However, there's one other route: the Mockingbirds, a "secret" group (secret in the sense that everyone knows they exist, but no one knows exactly who they are) dedicated to justice. Alex tells them about her date rape, and they agree to help her.

The part that interested me most about this was the fact that it seems that no one goes against the Mockingbirds. Carter could have simply said "no, not going to deal with a student group" and gone on with life (albeit one with decreasing privileges as the Mockingbirds lessen his points). But it seems that the students recognize the need for some sort of court that can impose justice when needed. The justice exacted is usually in the form of the guilty party losing the thing they love most (in Carter's case, water polo). While most students don't think that school administrations give out appropriate punishments, I wonder if they'd prefer something like this (student led, student policed).

I vacillated between 3 and 4 stars because I thought Alex' reaction to her rape (and confusion about what date rape is) and the Mockingbird's sense of right/wrong and punishment were interesting ideas students would respond to, and the sense that it's just not realistic to expect that a group like the Mockingbirds could get the respect and obedience that it does.

ARC provided by publisher.

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  1. Was there a connection to the book To Kill a Mockingbird? I've wondered this every time I've seen the title.

    I'm stopping by from the Saturday Book Review Tour.

  2. Anne, yes, there was a connection: the group was set up based on the theme of justice in the book. That explanation is tossed off in a paragraph or so (in other words, buried).

  3. What is the climax, falling action, resolution, and conclusion of this book>???