The Compulsive Reader: The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney, Plus an Interview and Contest!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney, Plus an Interview and Contest!

Daisy Whitney's The Mockingbirds is an important book. In my opinion, it ranks up there with Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak. I could go on listing adjectives in an attempt to convince you to read The Mockingbirds, but I think I will instead just let this interview with Daisy and my review speak for themselves.

Life at Themis Academy was never particularly eventful for Alex, until one fateful night she drinks too much, and wakes up in Carter's room. Alex hardly remembers the night before, but Carter does, and he's more than happy to spread rumors around their school that Alex is easy, and she was begging for it. Confused, intimidated, and scared, Alex would just like to hide out in her dorm room and forget everything, but her friends won't let her. So she tentatively reaches out to The Mockingbirds--a group that is determined to right all of the wrongs at Themis that the teachers would like to overlook, and they help Alex understand the importance of speaking up.

The Mockingbirds is an excellent, excellent book that effectively portrays the psychological and emotional effects of date rape and also gives readers a different point of view in Alex as a girl who doesn't want to report the crime to the police. Whitney's prose is pitch-perfect and powerful; she keeps the reader right with Alex through her ups and downs, and she skillfully intersperses flashbacks from that terrible night among the chapters, building tension and angst. The Mockingbirds also carries an important message about teens and our society: no matter how you may treat them, they aren't above reproach, but they certainly aren't helpless or passive when it comes to the wrongs committed around them. The Mockingbirds work efficiently, and their system is cleverly thought-out—they will certainly impress readers. Whitney employs elements from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird in new innovative ways to create this absorbing, powerful book—one that should be on every teen's to-read list.

Cover Comments: I like the color scheme a lot, and the bird on the cover is very neat. I think it's neat that this cover reflects the original cover of To Kill a Mockingbird, but doesn't mirror it exactly.

ARC provided by publisher.

The Mockingbirds is out today!

And here is Daisy!

TCR: How did the idea for The Mockingbirds evolve?

DW: I’ve always been intrigued by boarding school and also by the potential teens have to take a stand for what’s important. THE MOCKINGBIRDS - an underground student-run justice system - was born from those twin thoughts as a way to look at what it takes to stand up for yourself and for others.

TCR: Was it your plan from the beginning to utilize key elements from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird?

DW: Many of those elements came about during edits such as the specific references to the story, but yes, as soon as I knew I was going to build a secret society dedicated to justice, I knew their name and mission would come from To Kill a Mockingbird.

TCR: What was the hardest part about writing The Mockingbirds? The easiest?

DW: Revisions with my editor were intense and also rewarding! My editor is amazing and pushed me to dig deeper into the emotions - her instincts were right and I think we hit the right emotional resonance! The easiest part was the storyline itself - I always had a sense of the overall story arc.

TCR: Do you have any more YA books in the works?

DW: I just turned in a sequel to THE MOCKINGBIRDS, and I am now revising an edgy, sexy mystery-caper story and just started a new novel about a boy that I’m really digging too!

TCR: What are some of your favorite YA books about speaking up that you'd like to recommend to your readers?

DW: SPEAK of course is a great book, as is A DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS. They both hit on themes that I like! And of course, Sherman Alexie's ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN I think is also a great story about being true to yourself!

Thanks so much for speaking out, Daisy!

And I also am giving away 5 copies of The Mockingbirds, thanks to the generosity of Little, Brown! Just fill out this form to enter!


Morgan said...

Thanks for the review! Great interview, and thank you for the contest! :)

Jen said...

I've heard such good things about this book so far! Thanks for the giveaway!

Mindy said...

Thanks for the chance to win! I cannot wait to read this book and share it!

annemariepace said...

Great interview!!

Mrs. DeRaps said...

Great interview--Thanks for the giveaway!

Jessy said...

I have to get a copy of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. I have heard so many great things about it recently.

Vasilly said...

What a great interview. Thanks for the giveaway! Good luck to everyone!

Dawn said...

Thanks for sharing the interview and for the contest :)