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The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
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The Mockingbirds (edition 2010)

by Daisy Whitney

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3895227,583 (3.96)6
Member:RonnieMac_ox
Title:The Mockingbirds
Authors:Daisy Whitney
Info:Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2010), Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney (Author)

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Showing 1-5 of 52 (next | show all)
Here’s the thing with The Mockingbirds: It’s a brave book that tackles the subject of date rape very well. I thought Whitney was a great writer and all of the aspects of this book that dealt with the event of rape and what happened after, as well as the accompanying emotions, were incredibly well done and heartbreaking. If that was the story Whitney had decided to tell, I would have really liked this book. It would have been hard to digest, but I would have invested in Alex’s(the main character) story.

Where this book went drastically downhill for me was in the inclusion of The Mockingbirds, which was problematic as a reader since that’s the main focus of the story. The thing with the Mockingbird group–the student-led group that hands out justice on fellow students for wrongdoing– is that it just doesn’t work for a rape case. At all.

Some of the the incidents the Mockingbirds mentioned taking care of–like bullying–probably would make an interesting story for the group to right the wrongs. But rape is a CRIME, and I was never going to be satisfied with the outcome of the book when I knew that STUDENTS were determining a “punishment” for the rapist(I use the word punishment lightly there because really, what’s a fitting punishment for rape? Nothing).

Unfortunately, if it hadn’t been for that part of the book, I think this would be a book I would rate very highly. Date rape is a tricky subject to talk about sometimes, because there seems to be an idea that sometimes date rape victims are “asking for it” depending on what they wear(they’re not, by the way), and rape culture tends to obscure date rape in particular, so I think the themes presented in this book are so, so important. There’s a great bit of dialogue towards the end about what consent actually means and the difference between consensual acts and RAPE, which is a pretty big line. So on one hand, I think this type of book is important. On the other hand, I don’t really feel like the “punishment” handed out should EVER be thought to be sufficient punishment for rape. Because it’s not, and I just found that really not okay.

Summary: I’m hesitant to not recommend this at all, because there’s a lot of important issues talked about in this book, and Whitney navigates the after-math of date rape well. What I had a problem with though, is the way the students in her book took it upon themselves to punish a criminal in a way that when found guilty, his punishment did NOT fit the crime. I don’t like the idea of that punishment being thought of as “punishment” because it’s really nothing compared to his crime, and that angers me a bit. ( )
  Stormydawnc | Jun 23, 2014 |
I think I didn’t write a review for The Mockingbirds because I couldn’t find the right words for it. The Mockingbirds deals with rape and sexual assault, and it made me feel discomfort in a way that Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and Just Listen by Sarah Dessen did not. Not that the book was distasteful– it just seemed all so real the way protagonist Alex Patrick re-lived that night and the way she avoided confronting people following the attack. And what makes matters worse, her attacker’s “boys will be boys” attitude just makes me taste bile.

I only have two concerns with the Mockingbirds. First is Whitney’s execution. I felt like some aspects were redundant. The author seemed to explain how the Mockingbirds worked and the purpose of the vigilante group frequently, like it was a concern that the reader would forget from two chapters prior. I’m also a little weary of the resolution. SPOILER ALERT! I appreciate the idea behind the Mockingbirds, especially since the school’s faculty seems to turn the other cheek to the horrific incidents described in the book. But, I felt like the punishment delivered was the equivalent to a slap on the wrist. Yet Alex was okay with it. It made me angry because I didn’t feel like any justice had been served.

I know the story of the Mockingbirds continues, but I don’t know if I will read on or not. I’m not sure how it could possibly measure up to book one. Then again, maybe Alex will realize she didn’t get the justice she deserved, and maybe she’ll seek out a better resolution. Like with actual legal implications. ( )
  books_n_tea | Apr 1, 2014 |
How did I know I loved the book? When I had to stop myself from yelling and wanting to shake Alex while reading. ( )
  sojo817 | Mar 15, 2014 |
I normally do not read contemporary YA fiction. But if it is also catagorized as “tough stuff,” like Ellen Hopkins and Laurie Halse Anderson, I will definitely read it.

When I saw the cover of this book, I was interested. It looks so different from other covers. I flipped to the back and the second that I realized it was about date-rape, I bought it. I firmly believe that schools and society need to do more about date-rape. Society also needs to tell boys and men to stop raping instead of telling girls and women how not to get raped. But that is a rant for another day. Back to The Mockingbirds.

“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.” That is the first sentence that kept me hooked on this book for two days. When I wasn’t visiting family, I was reading, hoping and praying that Alex would get her justice she so desperately needs.

Alex Patrick is a junior at Themis Academy and the piano is her life. We are immediately thrust into this confusion and panic and go on the journey with Alex as she remembers that night. I cannot tell you how many times my heart broke for her. I cried out of sadness, anger, and happiness and am so grateful no one was around to see me do so. Though Alex is going through this terrible ordeal, she is a lot stronger than she thinks. Not everyone would turn to help after being date-raped, particularly if not being able to recall the details. But Alex fights through it all.

One of my favorite aspects of this book is Alex’s relationship with music. As she overcomes different aspects of the rape and piecing her life together, her realtionship with her piano is incredibly similar. I loved it.

*MINOR SPOILER*
When she is able to recall parts of her rape, she is horrified to find out that Carter, her rapist, played her favorite Beethoven song, Ode to Joy, while he was raping her. I was appalled and genuinely disgusted at this because Alex was so hurt. She couldn’t even play the song without getting flashbacks to her rape.

My favorite scene by far is when she goes to the music hall alone and furiously is slamming out Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. When she gets to Ode to Joy, she loses control and every emotion she feels is slammed into these keys. I won’t lie. It made me cry.

My other favorite scene is at the end when she is playing Rhapsody in Blue with her fellow musician and instead of the normal composition, they go hip-hip instead. This made me smile because Alex finally took her life back.

*END SPOILER*

So far my review is heavily focused on Alex, which makes sense since this story is about her standing up for herself. But her friends and the Mockingbirds are some truly wonderful characters and I wish every person could have them in their daily lives.

Martin, T.S., and Maia are Alex’s friends who stay by her through this entire ordeal. They all play their parts in helping Alex and it was truly touching to see friends who care so deeply. The Mockingbirds are also a great core group of characters who I would want on my side any day. Also, Ms. Damata is a teacher that I would LOVE to be.

The Mockingbirds is beyond incredible. I could not put it down. I read for two and a half hours straight to finish this book today so I could bring you all my review. Daisy Whitney’s debut is not to be missed. Even if you are not a YA contemporary/tough stuff fan, please, please read this book. You will not regret it. ( )
  Ashley_McElyea | Dec 15, 2013 |
Ermm...need to hold my thoughts on this one for a little while. ( )
  joanasimao | Sep 28, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 52 (next | show all)
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.
added by khuggard | editBooklist, Gillian Engberg
 
The novel is never preachy, nor does it stray into feminist manifesto, but it does lend a voice to those who often have difficulty finding their own.
 
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Epigraph
Dedication
For my husband, Jeff...
You have the wiliest mind,
the best sense of humor,
and my heart for always.
That, and you found the dog...
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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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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From Goodreads:

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
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When Alex, a junior at an elite preparatory school, realizes that she may have been the victim of date rape, she confides in her roommates and sister who convince her to seek help from a secret society, the Mockingbirds.

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