I went into The Mockingbirds not knowing anything about the story, which was probably a mistake in hindsight. The Mockingbirds is a story about a rape survivor and how she handles the aftermath with the help of her friends and a secret society at her boarding school. Due to lack of research on my part, I was shocked to find out that The Mockingbirds was about date-rape, because I managed to steer clear of summaries and spoilers. On the one hand, I love doing this because I hate knowing what a book is about before going into it. On the other, I sort of wish I had been more prepared.
Alex, the main character, is someone who I really enjoyed reading about. I didn’t feel any mind-blowing connection to her or anything, but I felt many feels while she was dealing with her abuse and I love the way that she handled it. It wasn’t easy for her, obviously, but she survived and she’s freakin’ awesome.
I’m not sure how I feel about Alex not going to the police after being date-raped, though. While I understand why she didn’t want to (judgement from authorities and parents, not feeling like it would do any good, etc.), I feel like her actions aren’t sending the right message to rape survivors about coming forward. I think The Mockingbirds should have encouraged people to go to the police and press charges, rather than have the pupils at this boarding school handle it among themselves. People need to know that it’s okay to come forward, and they shouldn’t shy away from it.
However, it’s not what Alex wanted to do, and I respect her decision for that. It’s just disappointing to me that the rapist isn’t getting properly punished for what he did, and there’s not going to be anything on his record. That said, The Mockingbirds was an interesting take for how our society deals with rape. It’s very true that rape cases often turn into victim blaming “She shouldn’t have been drinking”, “She asked for it” and the like. So I understand and respect Alex for not wanting to come forward, and for taking matters into her own hands.
For once there is a romance that helps the main character and actually works with the plot. I liked it. I didn’t ship it, really, but I liked it. I think that romances should have more to do with character and plot progression rather than just being included for the sake of it, especially if the romance is introduced at the beginning of the novel. Along with the love interest, Alex has a huge support system and it’s amazing to read about. Her friends and family love her, and will stand by her no matter what.
The inclusion of To Kill a Mockingbird was brilliant because ATTICUS. I honestly didn’t make the connection between the title, the secret society, and one of my favourite books of all time until it was smacked against my face. I love the fact that the characters in The Mockingbirds were inspired by Atticus, because quite honestly I am as well.
Would I recommend The Mockingbirds? Yes, I would. It’s a brief story, but it’s powerful nonetheless. I really enjoyed reading it, and seeing Alex come out of the experience different, yet stronger than before. The message behind it is that rape is never the victim’s fault, and they shouldn’t feel that way. Alex’s group of friends were amazing at reiterating this. I’m not sure about reading the sequel, since it’s about another matter entirely and I’m not sure if The Mockingbirds even needed a sequel. Has anyone read the sequel? If so, let me know if you think it’s worth a read!