Monday, April 11, 2011

The Mockingbirds

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 is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds–a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl’s struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone–especially yourself– you fight for it.

Beth says 4 Stars...
I wasn't sure about this book initially, but decided to give it a try since it's one of the novels in The Contemps Challenge. I'm very glad I did, which makes me love this challenge even more. Without it I never would have picked this up and missed out on an interesting debut novel. The main issue I thought would come up was the subject matter, as date rape isn't something to be treated lightly. Whitney handled it beautifully, and brought up many points I hadn't dreamed to think of. It didn't just deal with the obviously painful aftermath, but instead emphasized more subtle points. The one that really sticks with me is how Alex became afraid to go into the cafeteria because that's a place where she would run into her attacker. I also found it interesting the detail placed into the Mockingbirds system and its processes. I also agree with the statements made in the book about how administrations can turn a blind eye to the wrongs of students, as they shouldn't be capable of doing wrong.

Alex morphed into a fantastic character who carried both strength and fragility in spades. Her ordeal broke her, and she allowed herself to hurt before dusting off and changing her situation. However, she never made an about face, so her changes were gradual and never felt forced. The rest of the cast didn't flesh out nearly so well, which was the main weakness of the novel. There was nothing severely wrong with any others, but they couldn't jump of the page and lacked the three dimensionality of Alex.

Overall this book definitely surpassed my expectations, something I always appreciate. I'd recommend this to people who have any sort of fleeting interest in realistic fiction, or someone who's lived in a residential/boarding school environment. The poignant portrayal of the fallout of date rape in a closed environment is not to be missed, especially for someone living at school.