19 February 2011
The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
When Alex wakes up in a boy's bed, she struggles with the reality of the situation. She doesn't really know the boy (she knows who he is but he's not a friend...barely an acquaintance. She doesn't remember last night...at all. As she struggles with the reality that she was date-raped, something she spends most of the book coming to terms with, she must decide how to deal with it. Her older sister and close friends convince her to take her case to the Mockingbirds, the schools only real justice system for students. They are a group of students that hear various cases brought to them by students and exact their own form of justice. I won't go into details about the whole process and the trial here, so as to not spoil anything for potential readers!
Whitney handles the issue of date rape well. I was initially worried that I would constantly be comparing this novel to Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak. However, Whitney held her own in addressing the issue at hand and helping her main character through the coping process. Many readers will question the vigilante nature of the Mockingbirds and wonder why the main character doesn't go to the police. However, I felt that the author did well approaching the issue as a high schooler might--the fear, the guilt, the innocence. Of course you don't want your parents to find out.
This books offers a portrayal of high school as a party atmosphere, which I think is sometimes a little over done in YA literature. The "normal" high schoolers don't make quite as phenomenal stories (I suppose or at least that's the perception). However, I wouldn't let that stop you from enjoying this book. It is a good reflection on the difficulties of dealing with rape.