I am huge fan of YA novels that display empowering characters, especially females. It's one of the reasons I believe Speak should be read by all high school freshmen. The writing is strong, the message is strong, but even more so, the heroine is strong.
I read a lot of tweets about The Mockingbirds. Usually when a book gets this much push, I tend to not enjoy them. I think the main reason is all the hype - sometimes it ruins novels for me. I am proud to say that that was not the case for Daisy Whitney's debut novel. Even more so, it is easily on my top 10 YA novels of all time.
From page one I knew there would be something special about this novel, something that would speak to me as a reader, something that would speak to my students. I knew from page one that the hype was well-deserved and that the book would in fact live up to it.
Alex Patrick awakes to discover three things: "I have morning breath, I'm naked, and I'm waking next to a boy I don't know" (1). And thus begins this cat-and-mouse game of remembering a night that she really wants to forget; however, her discovery is more chilling than what she originally believes happened. She was not just date-raped, she was date-raped twice. Who can she turn to? The exclusive boarding school Alex attends, Themis, does not have a discipline committee. Instead, the students self-police themselves through The Mockingbirds. They are her only hope.
Alex turns to The Mockingbirds at the urging of her sister and her roommate, and the investigation begins. As the pages unfold, Alex's memory of that night comes back piece-by-piece, and the reader discovers what really happened the same moment Alex does, heightening the suspense. As Alex struggles to cope with her new reality, with her friends, with the case, she matures - becoming a stronger character with each page. With solid writing, solid characters, and a solid heroine, this book is worth every moment.
One of my favorite moments in the novel (173)
Hush, little students, we'll say the word,
Mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird.
And if that mockingbird won't sing,
Mama's gonna write down everything.
And so that book won't look the same,
Mama's gonna add a brand-new name.