About the Book

Title: The Mockingbirds (The Mockingbirds #1)
Published: 2010
Series: The Mockingbirds
Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Cover Story: Dig It
BFF Charm: Yes
Talky Talk: Punch In the Gut
Bonus Factors: Boarding School, To Kill A Mockingbird, Vigilante Justice
Relationship Status: I Have This Book’s Back

Content Warning: This book deals with the aftermath of date rape.

Cover Story: Dig It

I like the blue and yellow bird on the cover. And I like that the tree behind the titles pays homage to the original cover of To Kill A Mockingbird. Overall, it’s pretty classy and I wouldn’t have any problem reading this one in public.

The Deal:

When high schooler Alex is date-raped at the beginning on her Junior year at picture perfect Themis Academy, she doesn’t know where to turn. Feeling she can’t rely on the police or her school’s administration, she turns to the Mockingbirds. The Mockingbirds are a secret society of Themis students dedicated to dolling out justice on campus and righting wrongs. But even with their help, will Alex be able to find justice or learn to feel safe again?

BFF Charm: Yes

Yay BFF Charm

Alex is completely deserving of a BFF charm and one giant hug while I’m at it. Her strong friendships with best friend T.S and roommate Maia show that she’s capable of maintaining strong and healthy relationships in her life. Not only does Alex experience the extremely traumatic event of her date-rape, but its repercussions as well – the PTSD-like flashes, navigating a small campus where her rapist could be anywhere, nasty rumors which are spread about her. Alex has to be a very strong person to continue her life at Themis Academy and you could hardly blame someone for giving up in those circumstances.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

One of the themes explored in this book is the difficulties in entering a healthy, consensual relationship when your last sexual experience was traumatic. When Alex begins to fall for another character, the swooniness is undeniable and their relationship is sweet and loving. Take this passage:

He just smiles and reaches for me, putting a hand in my hair and pulling me close to his face. His lips are soft and sweet and they linger on mine and he takes his time and I take mine too and I touch his hair and it’s soft just like it felt on my face that night. The kiss could last for ten minutes, ten hours. I lose track of time because with every touch, every taste of his warm lips, his cool breath, I’m reprogramming kissing, making it mine again, the way it should be.

Talky Talk: Punch In the Gut

While I’m lucky enough not to have first hand knowledge of this experience, the author’s descriptions of the event and its aftermath really hit hard. The descriptions of Alex’s anxiety (over seeing her rapist or being in locations where he had the potential to show up) felt all too real. Anyone who has been in a situation in which they had no control can relate to Alex’s anger:

I want to throw the phone, I want to throw my computer, I want to throw the chair, the desk, the bed. I want to smash the window. This is how it happens – this is how people go all postal. This is how you get so mad, so angry that you become not yourself.

Bonus Factor: Boarding School

Regal old boarding school building with turrets and ivy on the stone walls

Themis Academy is quite the fancy pants institution, complete with ridiculous teachers, outrageous homework assignments and overachieving students.

Bonus Factor: To Kill A Mockingbird

Everyone loves this book. And that is because it is the best. So it’s no surprise that a secret group dedicated to righting wrongs would take inspiration from Atticus Finch. Sure, it’s a little cliche, but better than dedicating yourself to Holden Caulfield, amirite??

Bonus Factor: Vigilante Justice

I absolutely love the idea of students taking punishment into their own hands. Sure, that has possibility of going very wrong, but still. One of the things I’m always trying to champion is what I refer to as ‘social justice’, by which I mean people should be punished, socially, for bad behavior. I’ve always found the concept of the ‘well, this person never did anything to me’ attitude off, because chances are they will, just later. Which isn’t to say you should believe everything you hear, but should react to the things you do know are true.

Relationship Status: I Have This Book’s Back

This book takes a very thoughtful look at a very serious subject. The concept of what we could consider ‘gray rape’ (aka often anything besides being bush-jumped by a complete stranger) can be a very nuanced topic but I appreciated the author’s hard line on the concept of yes (and only a yes) means yes. I’m sure this book has its critics due to its volatile topic but I totally have this book’s back. If anyone tries to mess with it or spread rumors, it will be on.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). The Mockingbirds is available now.

Megan is an unabashed fangirl who is often in a state of panic about her inability to watch, read and play all the things.