The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney *STARRED REVIEW*
First-time author Whitney boldly addresses date rape, vigilantism, and academic politics in an intense and timely novel, set at the elite Themis Academy. The facts about what happened to high school junior Alex after a concert are fuzzy at first. She wakes up naked in a fellow student's bedroom with a hangover and no recollection of how she got there. Bit by bit, the horrors of the previous night come back to her, forcing her to conclude she's had nonconsensual sex with someone she barely knew. Avoiding the boy who took advantage of her during her drunken state doesn't ease her anxiety; neither does the prospect of telling authorities what occurred. Instead of going to the police or to school officials, Alex solicits the aid of the Mockingbirds, a clandestine group of students bent on serving justice. Candid first-person narration expresses Alex's doubts and convictions while raising relevant questions regarding her method of righting a wrong. Besides showing skill in executing suspense and drama, Whitney masterfully evokes the complexity of her protagonist's emotions, particularly her intense longing to feel "normal" again. Ages 15–up.
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