The Mockingbirds

The Mockingbirds

by Daisy Whitney


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Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

From the glossy pages of its admissions brochure, the prestigious Themis Academy appears perfect in every way: exceptional academics, extraordinary students, the kind of extracurriculars to make an Ivy League proud, and zero instances of student misbehavior. But this boarding school isn't as pristine as it appears. There's a dark underbelly to the perfect record the Themis administration flaunts. Student infractions are rampant, and it's up to a secret vigilante society, the Mockingbirds, to maintain order on campus—a responsibility their members take very seriously.

Alex Patrick never thought she would need the Mockingbirds. But when she's date-raped by another student, she doesn't know where else to go. As much as she'd like to forget what happened, she can't escape the daily reminders of what went wrong that terrible night. Before she can summon the courage to take a stand, she'll have to accept that her battle for justice is not hers alone. Standing up for someone, especially yourself, is worth the fight.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316090544
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 01/02/2012
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 526,142
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 15 - 18 Years

About the Author

Daisy Whitney reports on television, media and advertising for a range of news outlets. She graduated from Brown University and lives in San Francisco, California, with her fabulous husband, fantastic kids, and adorable dogs. Daisy believes in karma and that nearly every outfit is improved with a splash of color. She is the author of The Mockingbirds novels, When You Were Here, and Starry Nights. Daisy invites you to follow her online at

Read an Excerpt

The Mockingbirds

By Whitney, Daisy

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Copyright © 2010 Whitney, Daisy
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780316090537

Chapter One

First Time

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.

And there’s a fourth thing now. It’s ridiculously bright in my room. I drape my forearm over my eyes, blocking out the morning sun beating in through my windows, when it hits me—a fifth thing.

These are not my windows.

Which means this is not my bed.

My head pounds as I turn to look at this boy whose name I don’t remember. He’s still asleep, his chest moving up and down in time to an invisible metronome. I scan his features, his nose, his lips, searching for something, anything that rings a bell. A clue to connect me to him. But remembering last night is like looking through frosted glass. I see nothing. But I can hear one word, loud and clear.


The word repeats in my head.


It’s beating louder, commanding me to get out of this bed, to get out of this room.

Get out. Get out. Get out.

My heart hammers and my head hurts and there’s this taste in my mouth, this dry, parched taste, this heavy taste of a night I don’t remember with… I squeeze my eyes shut. This can’t be this hard. What’s his name?

Remember, Goddamn it, remember.


His name is Carver.

Deep breath. There, no need to panic, no need to be all crazy-dramatic. I’ve got his name. Another breath. The rest will come back to me. It will all make sense, so much sense I’ll be laughing about it any second. I won’t be able to stop laughing, because I’m sure there’s some perfectly reasonable explanation.

As I look at the matted bedsheets twisting around this boy and me, snaking across his naked waist, curling around my exposed chest, a draft rushes through the room, bringing a fresh chill with it. That must be it. It’s chilly… it’s cold… it’s January. Maybe it was snowing—we went sledding, I took a spill, changed out of my ice-cold clothes, and then crashed here in Carver’s room.

No, it’s Carter.

Definitely Carter.

I’m naked in bed with a boy and I can’t even get his name right.

This boy, this bed, this room, me—we are like clumsy fingers on the piano, crashing across the wrong keys, and over the jarring music I hear that one word again.


I slide closer to the edge of this too-small twin bed and dangle my naked feet until they touch the standard-issue Themis Academy carpeting—a Persian rug. His is crimson and tan with interlocking diamonds. I don’t want to see a carpet like this again. Ever. I stand up slowly so the bed won’t creak.

Then I grab my clothes from the floor, collecting underwear, jeans, tank top, purple sweater, pink socks, and black boots, all scattered on the diamonds of the carpet. I’m cold without them, freezing even, and I’d really like to cover up my breasts. I spot my bra in the indentation of a cheap red pleather beanbag. My adorable, cute, black-and-white polka-dot bra thrown carelessly onto the worst piece of furniture ever invented.

He threw my bra.

The room tilts, like I’m on one of those fun-house walkways, angling back and forth. Only it’s not fun, because fun houses never are.

They’re distorted.

I snatch my bra, pulling it close to me, and get dressed quickly. As I yank up my socks, I notice a trash can teeming with Diet Coke cans. Carter doesn’t even recycle? Way to pick a winner, Alex. Then I freeze, seeing something worse, far worse. Two condom wrappers on top of his garbage, each one ripped down the middle, each one empty.

I close my eyes. I must be seeing things. It’s the morning, it’s hazy, the sun is far too bright.

But when I open my eyes the wrappers are still here, Carter’s still here, I’m still here. And nothing adds up the way I want it to. I zip up my boots in a flash, obeying the voice in my head shouting Leave now! Carter’s still sleeping, his mouth hanging open unattractively. Small lines of white crust have formed on the corners of his lips. His blond hair is sticking up in all kinds of directions.

I step gingerly across the carpet, spying a small black bag near the closet door that looks as if it holds shaving lotion and stuff boys use. I don’t want to open it and know what else is in there—tweezers? Do boys use tweezers? I don’t want to know what they’d tweeze—but I hate the way my mouth tastes right now, because it tastes like last night. I grab my coat, then crouch down by the black bag and slowly undo the zipper, tooth by metal tooth. I hold my breath, look back at Carter. He shifts, flips to his other side.

Don’t wake up. Don’t wake up. Don’t wake up.

I reach a hand into the bag, feel around for a tube of toothpaste. I pull it out, uncap it, squirt some onto my index finger. I scrub it across my teeth, erasing the sour taste, erasing the evidence, and drop the tube into the bag, the cap falling next to it. And at that moment Carter wakes up.

“Hey…,” he says, not even groggily. He’s just awake, plain and simple.

“Hey,” I mumble. I don’t usually mumble. No one is a mumbler at Themis Academy.

He rubs his chin with the palm of his hand.

A hand that touched me.

I wonder if I thought he was good-looking last night. In the morning he’s not. He has white-blond hair, a sharp nose, pale eyes. Maybe he was funny is all I can think. Maybe he made me laugh. Maybe he’s a riot and I laughed so hard my sides hurt. I place my right hand on my waist, hunting for the physical evidence.

He raises an eyebrow, almost winks at me. Something about the gesture reminds me of a politician. “So, did you have a good time last night?”

Let’s see: I’m tiptoeing across your room, praying you won’t wake up, can barely remember your name. Yeah, I had an epic night, just fantastic. Care to tell me what transpired between, say, midnight and, oh, ten minutes ago? Wait, don’t bother. Let’s just pretend this never happened and we’ll never mention it again. Cool?

He leans back on the bed, rests his head on the pillow. “Want to go again?”

I narrow my eyes at him, crush my lips together, shake my head quickly. He thinks I’m easy.

“I have to study,” I answer, taking a step backward toward the door.

“On a Saturday morning?”

Everyone at Themis studies on Saturdays, yes, even on Saturday mornings.

I nod. Another step.

“But term just started two days ago.”

“Crazy teachers giving out homework already,” I say, managing two steps this time. What, you don’t have homework yet? Are you in the slow track? I want to say.

But he’s not in the slow track. There is no slow track here. I wonder if Carter is in any of my classes.… Then I do the math. A junior class of two hundred, the odds are this won’t be the last I see of him.

If I were a conductor, I would wave the baton and make all this vanish.

“Know what you mean,” he says. “Spanish teacher assigned some massive essay already. I haven’t started it yet.”

That’s one class where I’ll be spared. I take French. Dieu merci.

“I gotta go.”

“Okay, well, I’ll call you,” he says, making some sort of stupid phone-to-the-head gesture. Then he practically jumps out of bed. I jerk my head away because he’s still naked and I don’t want to know what he looks like naked. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice him reach for his boxers. He pulls them on as I wrap my palm around the doorknob, gripping it tightly.

I desperately want to leave, but I need to know for sure. “So, uh, I have to ask.” I stop, barely able to choke out the words. “Did we…?” I can’t bring myself to say them.

He smiles, looking as if he would beat his chest with his fists if he were maybe one species less evolved.

“Yeah, twice. After we saw the band. It was great.” He looks triumphant.

But I feel like I just tasted tinfoil by mistake, the awful accidental taste that makes you want to spit it out. I pull the door open and do the one thing I should have done last night.


Because you’re supposed to remember your first time.

Author’s Note Though The Mockingbirds is entirely fictional, I feel close to Alex. Like her, I was date-raped when I was a teenager. It happened in the fall of 1990, just a few months into my freshman year at Brown University. Even now, I can still picture that night with a harsh kind of clarity. I can still remember how it felt to walk the long way to class and avoid the cafeteria at all costs so I wouldn’t run into him. My entire schedule was dictated by staying far away from one boy. I didn’t want to spend the next four years of college living in fear, so I decided to do something about it. I pressed charges through the University Disciplinary Committee. It wasn’t an easy choice or an easy road. In fact, my case was one of the first heard at Brown after a very contentious time when it seemed to many that the school had looked the other way. Back then, many universities were largely ignoring women who were date-raped. Most schools didn’t have systems in place to hear cases. Awareness programs didn’t even register on their radar screens. Naturally, many students at colleges all around the country were angry. Some women refused to stay silent. At Brown, women who had been date-raped started writing down the names of the perpetrators on a bathroom wall in the university library. But they didn’t stop there. They went to the administration and demanded that the university step up. The New York Times even wrote about their efforts. It’s amazing what a group of vocal students, the image of a long list of names of rapists on a bathroom wall, and a national newspaper article can do! Brown began changing its own processes and procedures for handling date-rape cases, and I was able to file charges in this newly revised system, which operated a lot like a traditional court. Both students called witnesses and presented their sides to the disciplinary council through an “advocate,” who acted as a lawyer. The system was similar to the one in The Mockingbirds except for one big difference: The administration knew of and supported the process. Cases were heard in one of the university buildings, rather than in a basement laundry room. My case was tried one winter evening, and I testified in front of the council and in front of the boy. The committee ruled in my favor, and he was suspended for a semester. I felt safe again. So did other women who went on to press charges. I know because I heard from them. One night during my junior year, I got a phone call from a girl who’d been through the same thing. We met in her room and sat on the carpet while she told me what happened the night she was date-raped—the chilling effect it had on her studies, and what was said during the trial itself. It was as if we could finish each other’s sentences. I decided to keep speaking up. I wrote about my experiences for the school newspaper, and I heard from even more women who’d been date-raped and from others who hadn’t but who were glad the school was finally listening and acting. Other universities took notice of what happened at Brown and also started changing their policies and systems for handling date rape. Things are different now, and schools are doing a better job of protecting women. Looking back nearly twenty years later, I know my experience speaking up and listening to others was critical to my own healing and, eventually, forgiveness. As you can probably tell, I’m a big believer in speaking up, but I am also keenly aware of how it can feel to believe you have no options—to have to resort to writing on the walls. The Mockingbirds is inspired by one of my favorite books, to kill a Mockingbird, and born of that feeling of powerlessness I once felt. What if no one can protect us? What if the school can’t help us? Can we help ourselves? Can we do the right thing? I’d like to think the answer is yes.


Excerpted from The Mockingbirds by Whitney, Daisy Copyright © 2010 by Whitney, Daisy. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Mockingbirds 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 70 reviews.
Lilac_Wolf More than 1 year ago
Funny little story - you all know I do reviews here, hunting down publishers to get review copies. I'm at the Salvation Army with my boys and I find an "Advanced Reading Copy - NOT FOR SALE" for $0.49. The title reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird, and this is referenced in this book quite often. My cover has a redish tint to it, and I have to say I like that better than the blue. But that's the only difference. One reviewer at Amazon criticized the quote on the cover which says "Hush little students, don't say a word..." and says that this made him expect a thriller. So not too surprising to see where his disappointment came from. And I think he makes a valid point, it takes away from the actual plot of the story. Alex wakes up in a boys room, with no idea how she got there, where her clothes went or even who the boy is. It does come to her slowly through the story. But basically she got really drunk and was date raped. I loved how Alex's friends gave her unwavering support and helped her get help. I hated that the school was useless. The teachers want the school to be full of the best of the best so they ignore anything bad that happens. The students take matters into their own hands by creating a group that doles out justice among the students. It has amazing checks and balances and both parties agree to take the punishment whatever the outcome. I really, really loved the teacher that told her that it didn't matter if she had the time of her life with Carter, she was too drunk to give consent and what he did was wrong. I don't think teenage girls should read this, I think ALL teenagers should read this. I don't think we do enough to teach personal responsibility. Carter thought since they were making out prior that she wanted it. Even though she said she wanted to go home, even when she tried to push him off. She was too drunk to fight back and his only defense was that she didn't say "no." Well she didn't say anything, she was mostly sleeping. I also found it amazing to find the author herself is a victim of date rape. Something that is really the hardest form of rape to prove and prosecute. I think this book is a great addition to the fight.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is definitely not a boarding school I'd ever recomend to anyone. Alex has been date raped by another student and goes to the Mockingbirds, a group Alex's sister had started her senior year due to a girl committing suicide because of bullying. The guy who raped her denies it, spreads rumors that she was begging for it, and treats Alex as if she's easy. Alex begins to avoid the risk of seeing him as she takes the long way to classes, avoids the caf, and spends a majority of her time playing piano in the music hall while waiting for the Mockingbirds to try her case. As time goes on throughout the book, she begins to remember more about the night she was raped, being too drunk and passed out for most of the event. At the trial held in a laundry room, the Mockingbird council must decide if Carter date raped Alex. This book mentions To Kill a Mockingbird many times, and it fits in so well. I'd recomend this to almost anyone. This has been one of the best books I've read. And if you enjoy this one, read The Rivals, also. It continues on from this book to where Alex is the leader. It's very good.
romancemistress More than 1 year ago
The students at Themis Academy, a boarding school for exceptional high school aged kids, are above average; and Alex fits the profile. Gifted musically above any of her fellow juniors, she is expected to go far and hopes for eventual acceptance at Julliard in New York. So when she wakes up the morning after attending a concert to find herself in bed with a stranger with which she had obviously had sex, she doesn't know what to think, to feel, or even whom to blame. Yes, she had indulged in alcohol, something unusual for her; yes, she had danced and flirted with a boy she'd never met and had eventually gone with him to his room. But things are fuzzy after that, and not only can she not remember losing her virginity, she can't recall whether she'd said yes...or no. So begins Daisy Whitney's excellent precautionary tale of a good girl to whom a bad thing happens with extraordinary ease. Alex's life changes in one evening. And since the faculty at Themis Academy wear blinders and can't see any of their gifted students behaving in a less than civil manner, who can a girl go to for help? Fortunately, Alex's big sister had been instrumental in forming just the sort of group that can help win justice for Themis students. It takes a walk of shame the morning after, stares and whispers and growing rumors about what really happened that night along with the support of her roommates to convince Alex that what happened to her was a crime and not her fault. The Mockingbirds is a not-so-secret society that hears claims, investigates and judges cases brought between students at the academy. And because peer pressure and reputation is everything to young people, when they administer a sentence, it is swiftly carried out. Whitney does a great, non-preachy job of stirring Alex through her returning memories of that fateful night and revealing the self-doubt of many a date-rape victim. It's also a great lesson in discovering that although one is young, a person can still fight for justice for oneself and others. There's also a budding romance between Alex and her nerd-extraordinaire friend, Martin, that shows that rape doesn't stamp out the possibility of love. This sensitive yet sensible teen novel should be on the reading list of every parent, teacher, counsellor, and principal as well as that of both teen girls and boys. Especially instructive to girls is the warning about drinking too much in the company of people you barely know and to boys, the never over-emphasized warning that no means NO!
ReadingAngel002 More than 1 year ago
I'm hoping I can get more put into this review than AH!! I Loved it!! Fan girl SQUEE!! Maybe now that I got that out of my system I can write something coherent ;) The Mockingbirds begins with Alex waking up in a room that is not hers, in a bed that's not hers, completely naked, and beside a guy she doesn't remember going home with. As she rushes to gather her clothes and get out of the room he wakes up and informs her that they had sex, twice. As Alex does the walk of shame back to her dorm, wearing the same clothes she wore the night before, she wonders how someone could loose their virginity and not remember it. This is such a powerful book. We are taken through the journey along with Alex as she struggles with what's happened to her. As she avoids the cafeteria so that she doesn't have to see him, or hear him telling his friends how she was easy. She walks the long way to classes to avoid running into him. We're with her as she struggles with whether she should tell anyone, whether she should stand up for herself. And we are with her when she finds her voice and finally stands up for herself, and other girls like her, and decides to *SPEAK LOUDLY*. This book was very emotional, but it's written so well that you feel like you're living her struggle along with her. I was laughing and crying and screaming in outrage while reading this. This book helps me realize that we all need to speak up when bad things happen, whether for ourselves or for someone else, and help cause a change to be made. We can all do something! This book is wonderful for teens and adults alike, and I hope everyone rushes out to buy a copy ASAP!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fantastic book. It is amazingly realistic and has realistic problems. You will feel as if you are living this characters life as you go through her whole journey.
dsolter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading THE MOCKINGBIRDS by Daisy Whitney. Date rape is an important issue that should be addressed in all schools, especially at colleges. This book does a fantastic job not only exploring the affects of rape, but also shows how young women can take back control of their lives. I loved how the author handled the actual rape scenes. They came in small bits and were not overly graphic, which would be too easy to do by a lessor author going for maximum impact. The sexual content was handled just right I thought.
bonbonsandreveries on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Mockingbirds is about date rape. The story begins with Alex waking up naked in Carter¿s room with no memory of what happened the previous night. With her friends¿ help, she goes to The Mockingbirds, a secret student run police force. The Mockingbirds are The Law amongst the students. In addition to taking Alex¿s case on, they help protect her from Carter. Alex begins the story a victim of a terrible crime. Over the course of the book, she slowly regains power over her life. She even acknowledges the fact that she¿s letting the rape take over her life. Her schedule, eating habits, and personal life were all dictated by Carter. The Mockingbirds helped her get over all of that. Martin, a member of the Mockingbirds, really helped Alex. Even though he somewhat blamed himself for what happened to Alex. Actually, many of Alex¿s friends blamed themselves for what happened to her, even though it was no one¿s fault but Carter¿s. Martin was so sweet. I really liked how the romance in this book wasn¿t overpowering. The rape and Alex¿s transformation were the main points in the plot. The romance was more of a compliment to the story; it wasn¿t necessary but at the same time it was much appreciated. Of course, their relationship wasn¿t easy. Alex was raped, so its only natural for her to be hesitant about having a relationship with a guy. However, since Martin and Alex were good friends before she was raped, it wasn¿t as difficult as it could have been if he was just some guy that asked her out. The Mockingbirds was so wonderfully written! The dialogue was never awkward or choppy; it flowed nicely. The plot was well developed and it too was well paced. My favorite part, though, was not the plot but the actual writing. Ms. Whitney¿s own experience clearly influenced her writing. By writing The Mockingbirds through Alex¿s point of view, the reader can feel what Alex feels on a much more personal level than if she had written it in 3rd person. Ms. Whitney also uses quotes and draws inspiration from To Kill a Mockingbird. After reading The Mockingbirds, I want to go back and re-read To Kill a Mockingbird. The Mockingbirds is a thought provoking novel involving rape and a girl¿s decision to take a stand. I was reluctant to read it at first, mostly because I¿m not a huge fan of serious books. I read to get away from all that. But I couldn¿t help the fact that almost every review I read praised the book to the point where I said, ¿I might as well¿¿ So far I¿ve read the book twice, and loved it both times.
jonilee73 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had heard so much buzz over this novel and I was anxiously waiting to get my hands on it from my library. I definitely loved this book. Alex is a good girl, not one to drink and definitely not one to go home with a random guy after a party. But at the beginning of this novel that's exactly the situation Alex is in. She has woken up in a strange bed, aware that something happened, but unsure what exactly. When she sees the strange guy with her she knows something terrible happened. After piecing together the events that took place she is left with options. Forget about what took place, go to the school who will look away from it seeing as the boy in question is a star athlete, or go to The Mockingbirds, the secret society the students at her school created to act as a disciplinary board since the school cannot be relied on.This book handles a sensitive subject perfectly. I could feel the emotions Alex was feeling right along with her as she dealt with what happened to her and then struggled to decide ultimately what to do about it. Secret societies are often played up by Hollywood to be evil and cult-like so it was interesting and fun to read about one that was for the side of justice. Sadly, schools are known to look away from things like assault and bullying if the person accused is a star athlete, even if the school claims to have a zero tolerance policy. I loved that this society was formed to protect students when the school wouldn't. Can you imagine how many lives may have been saved if there was a society like this for teens today to utilize at their schools. In an age where bullying has become an issue heard about daily and most suicides are linked to bullying then a society like this to help bullied, assaulted, and used students would be wonderful. Who knows, maybe somewhere there are teens who read this book who have created something like the society in this book. If so, kudos to them.The Rivals, the sequel to The Mockingbirds, comes out in 2012 and I know I will be waiting anxiously for it. I can't wait to read more about this society.
allureofbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Y'all, there were a lot of things I liked about this book. However - there were a few huge glaring problems - in my opinion - that kept me from loving it.First of all: the many good things. For one, I love the focus and awareness put on the specific form of rape that Alex suffers from. It doesn't necessarily mean being brutally attacked. Alex was not in a position to say yes - so she was raped. End of story. I think that is an important point - perhaps the important point - of the story. Second, I love the characterization of the story. Especially Alex. Her inner turmoil and the mental process she goes through to decide whether or not she was really raped was very well written. She was confused at first, and I think the way she came to the conclusions she did was very realistic. Her overall story was very engrossing and entertaining as far as making friends and becoming involved with the members of the Mockingbirds. I loved that aspect of things.However: the bad. I do not think it is at all acceptable to imply that it is okay for the boy to be punished as he was - by a group of his peers. No way. Adults - teachers and police - should have been involved. The Mockingbirds are a good concept, and one I would be much more easy with for smaller issues...but rape? Nu uh. I mean...really. Being forced to quit sports? Not at all an acceptable punishment. Castration, expulsion, jail time? Those are acceptable. This, I think, is a major issue...and definitely keeps the novel from reaching its potential.
ShellyPYA on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Alex wakes up the morning after a party and realizes she may have been rapes. She turns to the Mockingbirds for help, a secret society that delivers justice since the prep school administrators seem to think the school is perfect. Alex slowly gains the courage to face her attacker and take her life back.
YAaddict on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have known for a while the The Mockingbirds is a story about a date-rape. What I didn't know until the book was in my hands was the author was has been through date-rape herself. How Whitney took her own experience and used it to write this book is simply amazing. I applaud her for that. The story starts things off right away. Alex wakes up to find herself in bed with a guy, only she doesn't remember anything about last night. She first assumes she made a stupid mistake and just doesn't remember why. But with the support of her friends and her sporadic flashbacks, she comes to find it was much more than that. The position Alex was in could have been any teen girl. I immediately felt to terrible for what she went through and wanted justice. What I love about Alex was Whitney did an excellent job showing her as a real person. Not just a victim. I loved her personality. She has such an imagination and it was fun to be in her mind. The writing in this story was phenomenal. Some the the best I have read all year. The dialogue felt so natural, it was like being in a real conversation. The idea of The Mockingbirds had my attention. How incredible for teens to stand up for one another when the adults are simply turning the other cheek. I really enjoyed learning how The Mockingbirds justice system works. There was also a sweet romance that enhanced the story for me. As amazing as the writing and characters were, there was something that bothered me, and it still does. I don't feel proper justice was given in this case. I think the suspect got off very easy for committing something as terrible as date-rape. The grown up part of me also felt uncomfortable that no adults were there to help handle the situation. Her parents never knew what happened, and the police were never involved. I understand the base of this story is the student justice system, but I just really hope if this happened to someone in real life they would know the go to the police. If you can look past that or if these things wouldn't bother you, The Mockingbirds would be perfect. But when it comes down to it, The Mockingbirds is a remarkable story that reminds us how important it is to stand up for ourselves, even when we feel helpless. It also reminded me just how valuable friends are. The Mockingbirds has made me a big fan on Whitney's writing, and I can't for more from her.
mrsderaps on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Mockingbirds are a sort of vigilante group of students who take the "law" into their own hands. They are an integral part of student life a a small prep school called Themis Academy. Students who feel that they have been wronged by other classmates come to the Mockingbirds to find a solution. According to the characters in this book, the adults on campus are more interested in thinking that the student body are perfect. When problems are brought to their attention, they are swept away and not really addressed.The book starts with the main character, Alex, waking up in an unfamiliar room. Her mouth is pasty and dry and she is naked. Next to her is a boy that she does not recognize. She hastily throws on her clothes and leaves the room, but not before she sees two used condoms on the boy's floor. Before she can leave, he wakes up a little and asks if she'd like to "go" again.The night before, Alex had been a very drunk virgin. She doesn't automatically feel that she has been raped, but as she talks with friends and as memories about that night come back to her, she knows that she was a victim of date rape. And she wants to fight back. Enter the Mockingbirds.My only concern about The Mockingbirds is the lack of police or adult contact in helping to prosecute the rape. I am not one who feels that all YA should have a responsible and reliable adult ready to solve problems and make the world right again, but I think that there's a danger in promoting the idea that rape victims should have their friends put their rapist on "trial". The main character does eventually talk to an adult, and that made me breathe easier.Otherwise, The Mockingbirds is a great read.
stephxsu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When Alex gets date-raped at her prestigious Themis Academy, there¿s no one in the jaded administration that she feels comfortable turning to. So instead, she brings her case to the Mockingbirds, a student-run justice systemA book as impactful as Daisy Whitney¿s debut novel comes along only once every few years. THE MOCKINGBIRDS is at once tender and empowering, clear-cut and sensitive. It¿s the kind of book that needs to be read by everyone, yet doesn¿t scrimp in the important qualities that make up good literature.I would say read this for the mere fact that EVERYONE should be educated about the personal and societal consequences of date rape, but it¿s also more than that. Yes, the book¿s subject is one that everyone should be aware of: through Alex¿s story, we learn about the rights of the survivor, the emotional maelstrom in the aftermath, and even the guilt and self-hatred that survivors falsely put upon themselves. But all of this is done in a smart, non-preachy manner. It¿s really Alex¿s story, Themis Academy¿s story, and not just a pedagogical tool with interchangeable characters and side plots. Everything comes together in a way that makes it cohesive not just within the story world. THE MOCKINGBIRDS makes its impact not just by its important subject but also by Daisy Whitney¿s writing style. All too often a book will try to make an impact with an explosive impact, forgetting, in the process, to still develop characters and write in a way that makes us readers care and invest. THE MOCKINGBIRDS does not force us to wade through unnecessary descriptions or artificial relationships: each and every character has a role, has a story, and helps Alex. The book deals with its difficult subject in a no-nonsense manner, and while this can sometimes make Alex feel a little underdeveloped, so all-encompassing her date-rape case seems to be, it also makes her the ¿everygirl,¿ one whom readers will be able to relate to and empathize with, regardless of our own experiences.THE MOCKINGBIRDS is one of those books that should be assigned reading for all teens. If everyone could be educated about date rape through Alex¿s experience, the world could truly be a better place.
khager on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Alex is a talented musician and student at an exclusive boarding school. When she's date raped one night, she doesn't want to go to the police and she knows the school administrators will be worse than useless. Fortunately, the school has a semi-secret group called the Mockingbirds, a small group of students who avenge wrongs. While the book sounds kind of depressing, it really isn't. Yes, Alex gets raped, but instead of it being a meditation on victimhood, it's more of a story of bravery and overcoming fear and standing up for yourself. It's a story about friendship and doing the right thing. This book is completely amazing. I was pretty sure I'd like it when I read that the student group took its name from To Kill a Mockingbird, but I was hooked from pretty much the first sentence.I love Alex and her friends, who all stood by her without a second thought or any sort of judgment. In our society, it seems like there's always some sort of second guessing when it comes to rape, but none of her friends asked what she was wearing or how much she'd been drinking or why she was even talking to that guy anyway.Which brings me to my last point. Alex is date raped, which is (obviously) different from stranger rape. The idea behind this particular case is whether or not she said yes, not if she said no. She was at a party and drinking, so was she able to give consent? In a lot of ways, that made the story even more poignant, because Alex first had to come to terms with exactly what happened herself.I cannot possibly recommend this book more forcefully. I want everyone I have ever met to read it and actually want to demand that strangers on the street do, too. This is a wonderful, amazing, thought-provoking book. Please read it and then please let me know what you think.
C.Ibarra on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Alex wakes up in a strange bed with very little recollection from the night before. She is also naked and next to a boy she can¿t remember. While attempting to dress and leave before he wakes, she notices two condom wrappers in the trash. The boy wastes no time in trashing Alex¿s reputation. As the pieces from the evening come back to her ,she realizes it is very likely she was date raped. She starts to avoid the cafeteria, and takes the long way to class in order to avoid coming face to face with the boy who raped her. Encouraged by her friends and older sister, she seeks out the assistance of The Mockingbirds. The Mockingbirds are a group of students that help to right the wrongs the staff of Themis Academy choose to ignore. They agree to help not only prove what happened that night, but also help Alex cope with the anxiety she experiences when facing her peers.I have to rave about this book. I was completely engrossed from start to finish. The emotional aftermath that Alex had to deal with brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion. It was a powerful read that touches on a very sensitive topic. The author, Daisy Whitney, has firsthand knowledge when it comes to the horrors of date rape. I applaud her for writing this book, and not being afraid to admit she was a victim of this loathsome crime. It features excellent characters, and a rapidly moving plot. I couldn¿t put this one down. This is a book I¿d recommend to teens and adults who are dating or even thinking about dating. This is Daisy Whitney¿s debut novel. I hope to have the opportunity to read more books from this very talented author.
ericajsc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Although Whitney¿s writing was amazing and her handling of the subject matter was exceptional, I still found this to be difficult to read. Because of this, writing this review has also been quite the task for me. It is one of those books that is profound in the sense that it allows people to view events from a perspective that (thankfully) a lot will never get firsthand.What I think is great about Alex¿s story is that she doubts herself and second guesses her decisions throughout the story. By that I don¿t mean I think it¿s great that she feels the need for doubt, but that it is a realistic portrayal of someone in that situation. Even as she pursues action through the Mockingbirds (I don¿t think it¿s really a spoiler to say that she does that, seeing as that¿s the title of the book and all), she questions whether she has the right to blame Carter for his actions when she may have been the one to blame. It is unfortunate but true that so many victims of sexual assault feel the need to blame themselves, and Alex is not immune to that.Most of Alex¿s memories of that night are murky at best, but bits and pieces come back to her as the semester progresses and her accusations against Carter are brought to the Mockingbirds. As more memories return she begins to understand the uncharacteristic choices she made that brought her and Carter together. These memories not only help her piece together that night, they also help her to move beyond it.Bear with me as I dive into some personal territory: my freshman year of college, my roommate was raped by an acquaintance in a scenario eerily similar to Alex¿s. She and the boy were part of an organization that was disinclined to believe her story, especially given the fact that she was drinking that night. She went to the police to press charges against him, but the idea of court and all that she would face felt too daunting to her, so she changed her mind only to have the police call her a flighty teenager. We were not close, not like Alex and her roommates, and in all honesty I didn¿t know what, if anything, I could do to help her. So I listened to her story, asked questions when she seemed like she wanted to talk about it and was silent when she seemed like she didn¿t (it was usually a case of the latter), and never questioned it or complained when she left our TV on all night because the dark silence caused her anxiety. Reading The Mockingbirds brought all of those memories back to me, but it also let me get a glimpse of those things that she could never tell me. For that I am grateful.
Booklady123 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
From the back of the book:Some schools have honor codes.Others have handbooks.Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.Themis Academy is a quite 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 student s dedicated to righting the wrongs of the student body.Just as Laurie Halse Anderson¿s Speak has served as a voice for those who could not or who felt they could not speak for themselves, I believe The Mockingbirds will serve as an encouragement for victims of sexual assault to speak up and stand up for themselves. Whitney handles a tough topic with clarity, sensitivity and grace. She takes the reader through Alex¿s story with excellent pacing. Readers¿ experience Alex¿s range of emotions (shame, denial, self incrimination, fear and finally the strong desire to reclaim herself) right along with her. The fact that the story has a basis in something that happened to her in college gives the story a feeling of reality .I truly enjoyed this book. I found the writing to be excellent. I believe it is a book that high school girls should read. I did have one problem with the story. And it is not so much a problem with the writing as it is with my having to admit that adults, even those in education are not perfect. I was very bothered the fact that the students at Themis did not feel that could count on any of the adults when bad things happened. In many young adult novels, adults often come across as rather dumb and clueless, sometimes heartless as well. As an educator I care very much about my students and their well-being. I would not leave the justice to be meted out by a group of students. And yet again, I¿m not so blind that I don¿t realize that there are adults, even educators, who are perhaps clueless and do not give the care and attention they should be giving to their students. Often bad things happen because those who are in a position of trust are blind or turn a blind eye. It is some comfort that Alex does eventually find an adult she trusts enough to confide in.I believe this is an important read for high school and college students of both genders.
lisagibson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had heard so many wonderful things about this book. I was hopeful that I would like it as much as I'd heard everyone else did. I was NOT disappointed. I liked this book. Alex's confusion over doing the right thing and her fear that she had somehow brought all of it upon herself was realistic. Her friend's devotion to her was heartwarming. The concept of the Mockingbirds was thought provoking for me. I think it was very well thought out and an interesting concept. It was nice to see that students supported one another and didn't turn a blind eye to the seemly or illegal actions of some of their fellow students. Instead of it being chaos there was a well-ordered system to ensure the offenders take responsibility for their actions. I think too often today, parents don't have those tough talks with their boys about what constitutes consent and what does not. I know that I have begun that process, due in part to this book. I want to raise a boy more like Martin and less like Carter. I was touched that Ms. Whitney shares her own story of date rape in the back of the book. I also thought it was awesome that she shared some links to resources for assistance for young women. There was minimal swearing, some alcohol, but no drugs in this book. I definitely recommend picking this one up to read. I'm giving it four gentle kisses!
krystal_osmond on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My Review: The Mockingbirds is on my Contemps Reading Challenge, so that is why I chose to read it. Plus, I've read mixed reviews, and as always I like to make my own call see and see what I think of it. I'll be honest, I've been struggling a little with writing this review. Why? Because there was a huge part of this book that I didn't quite enjoy. Because of that, I've had trouble writing my reasoning. For those of you who haven't read The Mockingbirds, it's about a young girl, Alex who is in high school. She is out one night, gets drunk, and gets date-raped. She doesn't remember anything at first, but things slowly keep coming back to her. Because of this, she turns to an almost secretive group, The Mockingbirds, at her school. The Mockingbirds are basically the school police, the school court, and justice system, since the teachers pretend the students are perfect, and do not need to enforce rules or anything of that nature. The part of the book that I didn't enjoy and couldn't wrap my head around was the whole idea of Themis Academy (the school in which Alex attends) not having any clue as to what is going on at the school. And the students are aware of this, hence the beginning of The Mockingbirds. For some reason, I have a very hard time imagining this whole situation. I think that in real life, teachers are aware of things happening (whether they want to be or not). I don't know - maybe it's just me, but I remember being in high school and thinking that they teachers knew too much, and I mean, they would be aware of an 'undercover' / 'underground' court system happening in their school.But getting to terms with the oblivious teachers and students who can be lawyers and try cases in high school (and have students obey trial rules and consequences), the rest of the book was okay.Alex, the main character is a strong girl and I like her a lot because of that reason. She has to deal with the very unfortunate mishap of being a victim of date-rape (without ANY adult support), but after coming to terms with it, she is an even stronger female character who I think many of us can gain strength from. She shows us that speaking out can be tough, but in the end, it can be worth it. Alex was the only character that really stuck out and made an impression. The writing in The Mockingbirds was well done, and it was fairly obvious from early on that this book was drawn from Daisy Whitneys own personal experience. I believe that Daisy was so courageous to be able to write about that experience, I'm sure it couldn't have been easy. But I cannot get past the the lack of adult acknowledgment and support to enjoy this book as much as I was hoping.Needless to say, I'm glad that I only borrowed this book from the library. I don't imagine I'll re-read this any time in the near future. Though I do plan to keep an eye out for more novels from Whitney, as I like her writing style, and I truly just think that this novel was not my cup of tea. BUT - I do think that some will enjoy this book, and I encourage them to pick it up and read.
readingdate on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read an ARC of The Mockingbirds over the Summer and the story has stayed with me since then. Tackling the difficult subject matter of date rape, The Mockingbirds is a thoughtful and powerful read. I think the story is so compelling because it¿s so easy to relate to the protagonist, Alex. This story about date rape and standing up for yourself felt very raw and honest and and like this situation could happen to anyone. I was immediately hooked on the story with the opening sentences.The book presents the circumstances regarding the rape and the aftermath. Alex deals with a lot of guilt and shame about the date rape, and questions whether it even qualified as rape. When talking to her friends she starts to come to terms with the fact that she was date raped. Rather than going to the police or alerting the school authorities, she is referred to the school¿s student run justice system called The Mockingbirds. Their name is inspired by To Kill A Mockingbird and the group strives to live up to their name by speaking up against injustices and being honorable. Readers of the Harper Lee book (I haven¿t read it..yet) may notice references to the novel through the actions of The Mockingbirds. The Mockingbirds hold an investigation and trial in the case of the date rape. It is a fascinating process seeing the handling of the case by the students, and seeing Alex deal with the experience.Throughout the book Alex is trying to process and heal from the rape while seeking justice. She has a great group of friends as a support network, and a special Mockingbird friend named Martin. Alex is a gifted pianist and I liked seeing the music incorporated into the story. There is some romance in the book between Martin and Alex. I saw that as hopeful and another part of Alex¿s healing process to open herself up to romance after her attack.The Mockingbirds is a well written, thought provoking and intense debut from Daisy Whitney. I would recommend this book to anyone high school age and up. The Mockingbirds has a positive message and I will pass the book along to my daughter someday. I look forward to reading Ms. Whitney¿s next book. And also finally reading To Kill A Mockingbird.
callmecayce on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is mostly a placeholder review because I really don't know what I think of this novel. On the surface, I liked it, but there were some issues. Books that treat the victims of rape with respect are few and far between, and I think that's something Mockingbirds got right. I think there were other things they didn't get as right, but I'm not sure it really matters. I just need more time to mull over it. I will say that it is a well written page turner and I did like what happened in the end, even if I didn't quite agree about the process. But then again, I've always been good at suspending my disbelief when it comes to fiction.
dasuzuki on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was a engrossing read that took on a touchy subject of date rape. I loved the characters and each had such a distinctive voice and complemented each other so well. One night Alex drinks too much and wakes up to find herself in bed with little memory of what happened the night before. At first she blames herself until her roommate points out that since she was in no position to give consent to have sex she was date raped. Then she has to make a decision, does she go to the police, stay silent or turn to the Mockingbirds for help. Alex's turmoil was so real that you are horrified by what happened to her as she goes through the stages of blaming herself, feeling ashamed, anger and then becoming a voice for others who were in her position but were too afraid to speak up.As the story progresses we slowly get glimpses of what happened that night as Alex starts to remember bits and pieces. The process the Mockingbirds has in place to "try" cases like this were amazing and although there was a system of checks and balances in place I'm not sure how comfortable I would be with students judging other students. I understand that the Themis faculty and administration was clueless and the purpose of the Mockingbirds is positive but you have to wonder one day if their actions will one day may go too far.Still I loved the message delivered in this book and thought overall it was a wonderful read.
airdna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not since Speak has a YA novel taken such a bold and unflinching look at date rape and the way it affects the victim's psyche and self-esteem. But Daisy Whitney goes even further in tackling deeper issues of injustice and personal power. Unlike Speak's Melinda, Alex of The Mockingbirds doesn't suffer in silence for long. She is given a voice soon after she's assaulted, thanks to the secret society of students who mete out their own kind of justice at the elite boarding school she attends. Faculty and Administration at Themis Academy turn a blind eye to misconduct such as bullying and cheating, so the underground group The Mockingbirds developed as a way to enforce the code of conduct, with a council of select students passing judgment and dispensing punishment on their peers.This is such an important book for young people to read because it goes beyond simple "no means no" rhetoric to give a much stricter and more modern definition of rape: unless she said "yes" she did not consent, and if she was intoxicated she could not consent. But beyond its message it's just a Good Read. The characters are likable and relatable with strong, smart young women who stand up and refuse to be victims, and some male characters who prove that not all men are dogs by being trustworthy and protective. The plot is compelling and moves at a fast pace...and references to To Kill a Mockingbird abound. What's not to love?
quilted_kat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had a difficult time reading the Mockingbirds. I loved the writing style; Whitney¿s descriptions of Liszt and Beethoven and her descriptions of music sucked me in and made me want to go to the library for some classical music. But I disliked the premise of the story. The punishment for the crime of date rape wasn¿t nearly severe enough. You rape a girl, and you are forced to give up playing water polo? None of the students even considered going to an adult for help. In such a serious situation the police should have been called, the victim should have been checked out by a doctor, and she should have been given access to counseling services. She was a minor! The book encourages students to take serious matters in their own hands without even attempting to go through established channels first.
lilibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When Alex wakes up naked in a strange boy's bed, she knows she was date-raped. But her private school, where all students are talented and bright, has no procedure for filing a complaint. The students have formed their own group, the Mockingbirds, to try and punish those they decide have harmed other students.