Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

This is a book that has been on my radar all fall. I kept meaning to pick it up but I never did. Yesterday I used some of the gift certificates I got for Christmas from my students to purchase several books and this was one of them. I started and finished it this morning and I was pulled in from the very first page.

The Mockingbirds is an organization at an elite boarding school whose purpose is to make sure students are punished when they've done something wrong. This is a student run organization who deal with students in a very meaningful way. It seems odd that it would be the students who need to take this on, but at Themis teachers expect their exceptional students to live up to their potential and they turn a blind eye to any illegal or dangerous activities the students may be involved in.

The story starts with Alex- a young girl in grade 11- waking up naked in a strange room with a boy beside her and open condom wrappers on the floor. As she comes to her senses, her only instinct is to get back to her own dorm room. Once in the safety of her room, Alex's best friends realize that something has happened and the truth finally comes out. Alex was date-raped. She is embarrassed, guilty, afraid and shocked. She really has two choices, pretend it didn't happen or go to the Mockingbird's and ask for help. What follows is Alex's journey from being a victim to rising above a defining moment and being able to carry on with her life.

I absolutely loved this book. Right from the first page I was drawn into the story, Alex has such a strong voice throughout the whole book. It was so easy to feel her pain, her embarrassment, her determination to fight for her rights and to reclaim her life. I think what I loved best about Alex's story is how it wasn't clear even to Alex herself what really happened that night and who was really at fault. Alex spends a lot of time blaming herself and being unsure of what is the right thing to do. I really believe that every girl needs to read this- it is much like Speak and Willow It's a book that could really have the power to help someone through a very difficult time. Having said that, it is a mature read- so I would be careful who I gave the book to.


  1. Kerry, I got an ARC of Mockingbirds at IRA in the spring. I read it this summer and really loved it, but like you, felt that it was for more mature readers and decided not to put it in my classroom library.

    Thanks, also, for your comment on my blog! I look forward to hearing more from you.

  2. I agree that this is for mature readers, and it will certainly go into the box that needs some parental contact before I hand it out. Do you think grade 7's are too young for this one? I have a few kids in mind to read it- although both are grade 8's now.

  3. This does sound like a great book. I still have not read Willow either, but I remember the cover catching my attention when it was first released.