Author: Daisy Whitney
Publish date: 2010
"Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.
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."
I don't remember hearing about The Mockingbirds or its sequel, The Rivals, at all when they came out. I saw a little bit of chatter about them on twitter and after reading the summary of The Mockingbirds, I gave it a try. I liked the premise and characters, but I didn't like the overall message.
First of all, I love the idea of the Mockingbirds as the actual group at school. A type of secretish society that takes care of problems at school? Love it. All the references to To Kill a Mockingbird were great, although I would caution to read TKAM first so you aren't spoiled by anything. I like boarding schools in novels, because that of course takes parents out of the equation. Themis Academy sounded like a cool place to be with good friends, although I did NOT like how teachers were portrayed as not knowing/caring about students outside of class. I am a teacher, friends, and I am not that naive.
THERE ARE SPOILERS FOR THE ENDING IN THE NEXT PARAGRAPH. BEWARE. I REPEAT, SPOILERS.
Onto what I had an issue with: how the main conflict was actually taken care of. Alex is date raped (twice, actually) by a fellow classmate at Themis but never in the entire novel does she GO TO THE POLICE. She went to the Mockingbirds, who proceeded to hold a trial and then punish Carter as they see fit. I don't want young people, especially high schoolers who read this, to get the idea that a group of classmates can take care of this very serious crime. Rape is a crime and you go to the POLICE. Not your classmates. Police. Alex does tell a teacher toward the end, but I was unhappy with how that was portrayed as well. A teacher is not a friend. We are teachers and we take appropriate action, since we are mandated reporters. So yeah, I don't like how the outcome was written. Rape is a crime that deserves police, not teenagers.