Friday, November 25, 2011

THE RIVALS by Daisy Whitney

Author: Daisy Whitney
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: February 6, 2012
Number of Pages: 352
Source of Book: Requested ARC from publisher
Author's Website:

Goodreads Summary:
When Alex Patrick was assaulted by another student last year, her elite boarding school wouldn't do anything about it. This year Alex is head of the Mockingbirds, a secret society of students who police and protect the student body. While she desperately wants to live up to the legacy that's been given to her, she's now dealing with a case unlike any the Mockingbirds have seen before.

It isn't rape. It isn't bullying. It isn't hate speech. A far-reaching prescription drug ring has sprung up, and students are using the drugs to cheat. But how do you try a case with no obvious victim? Especially when the facts don't add up, and each new clue drives a wedge between Alex and the people she loves most: her friends, her boyfriend, and her fellow Mockingbirds.

As Alex unravels the layers of deceit within the school, the administration, and even the student body the Mockingbirds protect, her struggle to navigate the murky waters of vigilante justice may reveal more about herself than she ever expected.

THE MOCKINGBIRDS was one of my absolute favorite books of last year, and I absolutely recommend it to everyone if you haven't read it yet (which, if you haven't, you need to go do immediately!!!)! And, Daisy is really fabulous - she even did a skype visit with my students after I was raving about her book on twitter. So, I was really excited to get an advanced copy of this sequel to read the continuation of Alex's story after the events she went through in the first book. Now, as the leader of The Mockingbirds (since she was helped by them in the first book) she has a whole new set of struggles to deal with.

Alex is a great teen girl character. She has a lot of integrity, but is still a real girl with doubts, insecurities, hopes, mistakes, and the desire to do right. She stands up for what she believes in no matter what and is a truly loyal friend. Her honesty and desire to do what's right is inspiriting. It was great to read this book and get to watch Alex continue her recovery from last year's (book's) date rape and rediscover and recognize the strength she has in herself. It's not an easy journey for her, but with the help of true friends and others who are willing to stand up to those who are wrong, she makes the right choices in the end.

The Mockingbirds is an evolving entity in this book, as it needs to be. It is the only organization that is providing a safe outlet to those who have been wronged. There are interesting lessons on government, power, and human nature in this book. It really delves into what can students do when they feel adults won't help them - and I appreciated the message that there are some adults who will stand up and do what's right when they see kids needing help - even if the kids don't see it at first. It's an interesting journey of realizing you don't have to go it alone.

Although it deals with some heavy topics, Daisy Whitney's writing is the comfort food of my reading life. There's just something so comforting in her contemporary style imbued with profound lessons in a non-preachy way, oh, and there's always kissing thrown in. It's all about who we choose to be in these books and how to find the courage to change our ways, be who we should, and do the right thing. That is true strength, bravery, and justice. It's about integrity, standing up for what's right, going for what you believe in, and doing right even in the face of adversity. All strong messages for teen girls.

I highly recommend Daisy Whitney's books if you haven't read them yet, and I'm so excited to know that she has several more different books in the works so we'll be able to continue reading her books for a long time.

1 comment:

  1. I loved The Mockingbirds. I loved that it addresses the topic of date rape with class and respect without making the crime any less horrific. I wasn't sure what I would think of the sequel- how could the author top the emotional journey that takes place in The Mockingbirds? I was very pleasantly surprised that the next installment of Alex's journey was just as heartfelt and moving. Alex is still struggling with what happened to her last year plus she is dealing with the pressures of senior year and leading The Mockingbirds. Throw a boyfriend, a male friend who she's not sure how she feels about, a couple of bullies, an unsupportive school leader and her first big case with The Mockingbirds into the mix and you get a story that requires its main character to really figure out who she is, what she wants from life and where her loyalities lie.