Themis Academy is the kind of high-powered boarding school where the students take on extra projects, perform challenging music for the faculty and volunteer their time for worthy causes. In short, it’s a school where the students can do no wrong—or so the teachers think. They’re so convinced they’re teaching the best and the brightest that they turn a blind eye to bad behavior. So what’s a student to do if she or he is the victim of injustice?

That’s where the Mockingbirds come in. It would be tempting to call their brand of justice “vigilante,” but that would misrepresent their vast organization, efficient tactics and strict codes of conduct. The group of students known as the Mockingbirds (inspired by Harper Lee’s famous novel) serve as judge, jury and jailer for the perpetrators they try in their laundry/courtroom.

When Alex is date-raped after a party, she can barely remember the event, let alone stand up to her attacker. But when he starts spreading rumors about Alex, her older sister—the founder of the Mockingbirds—encourages her to take her case to the secret society. Alex, who usually feels most comfortable sitting at a piano, must find her memories—and her voice—if she hopes to feel like her old self again.

In The Mockingbirds, Daisy Whitney effectively captures the simultaneous disorientation, guilt, embarrassment and fear that arise in the wake of rape. Even if some of the details of Themis life, or Alex’s musical knowledge, seem a little unrealistic, Alex’s story—her self-doubt, slow recovery and reliance on old friends and new supporters—rings true. Readers will be cheering for Alex to recapture her old life, and to discover a new one that might be even better.


 

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