I didn’t think I was going to like it. Because when I started reading the book, the lead character seemed to have no voice, except for her sarcastic inner thoughts. She irritated me because she kept rejecting the idea of standing up for herself and every other character in the book was so strong that Alex’s blandness seemed highlighted. But then, she evolves. She goes from denying the truth to accepting it and doing something about it.
Alex is a student of the prestigious Themis Academy which prides itself on grooming liberal, progressive next generation leaders, who they believe, can do no wrong. So, when she gets date-raped one night, Alex knows that turning to the administration will be futile. That is where the Mockingbirds come in. A clandestine society of students, by students and for students that deals with issues which the administration turns a blind eye to. With their help, Alex learns to stand up for herself and regain the dignity she believes she lost.
In the beginning, the lead character seems like a puppet. Her friends and her sister seem to be making decisions for her while she hides under a hat and in her music. As the book progresses, she gradually takes up the reins and builds herself up. Her personality starts to come across and in the end, she’s the strong one that you want to know more about. Daisy Whitney did an amazing job of bringing about that change.
The prose is good. It is stark and emotional without being sappy and she paints a beautiful picture against a background of music and literature. The dialogue is simple and unforced. I actually look forward to reading the next book of the series just to see how she’ll handle a heroine with a strong voice.
But, the reason I will remember this book is for the message that it puts forward- speak up for what you want, what you need and for what needs to be righted- that message was so strong, so empowering that after closing the book, it left a comforting heaviness in my heart.
What could have made this better though, was a much sharper voice. I wanted to feel for Alex and for every other character. I was so ready for it, but the book didn’t hook me in. I had a feeling that in her zeal to be honest, the author made Alex too indecisive. Also, the attitude of the school authorities sitting back and doing nothing when so many things went wrong, it just didn’t sit right with me. I can’t believe that any bunch of adults could be that passive.
BOTTOMLINE: I recommend this book. It might not find a place in the favorites section, but it is definitely worth a one-time read. If only to experience that warm feeling of triumph when things that are wrong are made right. A fair warning though, it will take a little patience.