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A Reader of Fictions: Date Rape - Sublime

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Date Rape - Sublime

The Mockingbirds
The Mockingbirds, Book 1

Author: Daisy Whitney
Genre: realistic fiction, young adult
Pages: 332
ARC Acquired From: Little, Brown and Company at ALA 2010

Brief Summary:
Themis Academy is a prestigious boarding school with incredibly difficult academics. The schools sets the students up for bright futures and expects only the best of them. Consequently, they almost entirely ignore any disciplinary problems. As a result of the administration's negligence, a school society has arisen, The Mockingbirds, which creates laws, tries the accused and punishes those proven guilty. Alex had always been focused on her music and very careful, until one night when she had way too much drink. The next morning she wakes up naked with a guy she barely knows. At first, she is shocked at her promiscuity, but as memories of the night slowly return, she fears that she has been date raped. Afraid to see the boy around the school, she stops going to the cafeteria and takes long routes to class. Finally, sick of this and wanting to help other girls in similar situations, Alex takes her case to the Mockingbirds.

Review:
Daisy Whitney informs the reader in an Afterword to the book that this book is based off of her own experience with date rape. She was raped in college and felt much the way Alex did in this novel. Daisy turned to a college disciplinary committee for justice. The Mockingbirds considers the implications of date rape on the victim very openly. At times, the book was definitely tough to read, because the situation is so awful. I would not ordinarily have chosen this book for myself, but I was really impressed by it. Whitney confronts the issue of date rape without venturing too much into preaching. She also, from her own experience, knows how a girl would really feel in that situation: the anger, the guilt, the self-doubt, the fear.

The name of the book and the group in the school are drawn from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. The justice meant to come from this school society, which dealt with cases of varying severity, was meant to be similar to Atticus Finch and Boo Radley. I really need to reread To Kill a Mockingbird soon, since this is the second book from ALA referencing it and my memories of freshman year of high school are fuzzy at best. The literary reference is appreciated, Ms. Whitney! (Brief note to the publisher: the catchphrase on the cover, 'Hush little students, don't say a word...' seems in bad taste. I am somewhat offended by it in the context of the story.)

The Mockingbirds is evidently the first in a series. I am eagerly looking forward to the next one. Hopefully, a number of the characters will recur (this is one of the series where it could theoretically be an almost entirely different cast), as they were quite likable. I highly recommend this book. It is well-written and full of useful information. This is definitely a good book for teen girls to read, because date rape is real and should not be dismissed. The Mockingbirds comes out next Tuesday, November 2.

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