Second Look: The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

SOMEONE is going to make this bird sing...

Anyone who knows me knows that any form of injustice makes my skin crawl… and makes me rather outspoken. And sometimes violent. A little.

When I heard this novel was about a victim who may or may not get justice for the crime committed against her, I knew I had to read it. Immediately.

PLOT:
When Alex wakes up naked in a strange boy’s dorm room with a fuzzy hangover and no memory of what happened the night before, she knows something very bad happened. Especially after she sees two empty condom wrappers in the trashcan, which is NEVER a good sign. Alex is a junior at a prestigious boarding school that refuses to acknowledge that its students are capable of any wrongdoing, and therefore will not believe she thinks she was date raped. Scared to go to her parents or the police, she decides to get help from The Mockingbirds. This secret student group listens to the cases of students who have been wronged and hands out their own form of justice to the accused, if they are found guilty. The story begins the morning after Alex’s (alleged) rape, and follows her through the “trial” and verdict as she tries to make peace with the events of that night.

CHARACTERS:
The Plaintiff: Alex Patrick. Claims she was date raped by the Defendant, Carter Hutchinson.
The Defendant: Carter Hutchinson. Water polo player and Reigning King of Douchebaggington.

Alex’s character was the most real character I have read in awhile. Her paralyzing fear about everything happening was so real, I just wanted to hug her and offer to treat her to a shopping trip, followed by coffee and lunch. Her torment, confusion, and fear hit me right where it hurt, and I deeply felt for her. It’s impossible not to root for Alex’s character. Carter, on the other hand, should be hacked apart into little pieces and fed to wolves. Regardless of whether or not he did what he was accused of, people like him don’t deserve the air they breathe. To hate a character this much really speaks for the ability of the author. She wanted the reader to see he was scum, and that message came through loud and clear. I think some of the situations may have been overly dramatized for the sake of the story, but the scary thing is that there really are people like him out there. If you meet one, STAY FAR, FAR AWAY.

EXTRA GOODIES:

  • VERY thought provoking. It makes you wonder what you would do if you or a friend were in a similar situation.
  • Ultra-prestigious prep school. The goings on at these institutions (which most of us commonfolk are not privy to) are always enjoyable reads, regardless of subject matter.
  • Two words: SECRET SOCIETY. I don’t care what it is, if a book has a secret society of some kind in it, it has to be awesome. Think The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks.

OPINION:
This is an incredibly powerful story and soooo well written I could cry. I especially thought the connection to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird was excellent. The character’s emotions are raw and authentic, and it was incredibly inspiring to see Alex stand up for herself when she decides to go to the Mockingbirds for help. It is bravely honest, especially from an author who has experienced the trauma of date rape herself.* All the characters are likeable and identifiable, with the exception of the accused rapist and his cohorts (though I would imagine there is SOMEONE out there who can identify with him, too… jerk).  This story will hit home with any young woman who has ever felt pressured by a member of the opposite sex, or anyone who has experienced any kind of injustice or unfairness. While the writing styles and content may be a little intense for younger readers, this should practically be required reading for older teens, male and female.

OFFICIAL RATING: 9.5/10 (I try to be a tough rater and don’t usually dole out 10/10 rating, but I honestly could not find anything I did not like about The Mockingbirds. So I’m subtracting .5 points just because Carter is so darn hateable.)

*As noted in the Author’s Note, The Mockingbirds is based on actual events that occurred when Daisy Whitney was a college student at Brown University. 

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