Saturday, July 30, 2011
Book Review: The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
The story opens to find Alex in an unfamiliar bedroom in the dormitories of her boarding school, Themis. As the room spins around her while she's collecting her clothing, her eyes light upon two ripped-open, empty condom wrappers. From that moment on, her world is upended. In the ensuing weeks, she pieces together what happened that night through conversations with friends who witnessed some of it and flashbacks that appear out of nowhere. She comes to realize that she's been raped by a popular water polo player. Rather than go to the school or the police (out of a fear that it would disrupt her life even more), Alex enlists the aid of the Mockingbirds, a secret society that administers justice to wronged students.
Overall, I was very impressed by this book. Date rape is a tough subject for a writer to address in the first place, but especially within the context of a Young Adult novel. Whitney handles the subject very well; Alex's experiences are not only realistic, she's a very sympathetic character. Whitney also does an excellent job addressing false notions about date rape (mainly, that sleeping with unconscious people is okay and/or that silence equals consent) while promoting the idea of affirmative consent. All of the characters are very well-rendered and believable, and the writing is excellent.
I wish this had been around when I was in high school. As it is, I think it should be included in curricula everywhere. 5 out of 5 stars.