Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

The Mockingbirds
By Daisy Whitney




Synopsis:
The Mockingbirds, by Daisy Whitney, is the story of protagonist, Alex Patrick who, during her junior year at elite boarding school, Themis Academy, is date-raped.  A lack of trust in the school's administration to take appropriate action causes Alex to turn to a secret, student-run society known as the Mockingbirds, for help in getting justice.  Throughout the ensuing events, Alex struggles to come to terms with what happened to her, and to find the courage to stand up for herself.

Thoughts:
So here it is, I liked this book very much.  I thought that there were a lot of good things about it, and that it addresses a sensitive, but important issue that is prevalent in today's society.  Alex, as a character, exhibited strength throughout the story that continually surprised me.

First off, the pros:

1. I found the main character, Alex, to be very likable and relateable.  
2. It deals with the issue of date-rape.  This is something that unfortunately many young woman may be able to relate to.  If you look at rape statistics, it is something like 1 in 6 women have been victims of rape, or attempted rape.  That means over 26.3 million women have experienced something akin to that of Alex.  Because this is such a sensitive topic, I find many authors do not write stories that focus on it, or highlight it in such a blunt manner.  So I am glad to find a book that handles to the topic in a positive way.
3. The book was realistic enough to be believable to a certain extent.  The situation Alex finds herself in, her emotions and experiences related to the rape afterwards, are all handled very well by the author, and they are very believable reactions.  Many attribute this to the fact that the author herself was date-raped in college.
4. The romance...I always love to see romances like this one in a book.  It was not the main focus, but rather a side plot that played an important role in the main character's development.  It was just enough but didn't consume the story.
5. The situation was not spelled out in black and white.  As is the case more often than not, rape is not so cut and dry.  The story reflects that through Alex's missing memories.

Now for the cons....

1. The setting did not feel genuine to me.  I have no experience with boarding schools, but only a small portion of the population actually attends them.  In this case, I feel the setting would have worked better if it were a college campus.  
2. Not as important, and most people probably wouldn't feel the same, but as a trained musician, the main character's piano talent didn't feel real to me!

Final Thoughts:
A major issue in this book is the theme of consent.  Something often repeated throughout the book is "Silence does not equal consent...The only thing that means yes is yes."  Which is obviously the point that the author is trying to drive home, while still demonstrating that the process to justice in these cases is complicated and emotional.

Overall, I was thoroughly engrossed by the book, and it is one that I will probably reread in the future.

Check out Daisy Whitney's website here:  http://daisywhitney.blogspot.com/ 

(If you enjoy The Mockingbirds, there is a sequel!)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

If You Liked Divergent....

One of a few Readers Advisory resources I made for Young Adult books.

If you liked Divergent....
(In honor of the Divergent movie, which was really, a pleasant surprise, since my expectations were so low - let me know what you thought about the movie)



If You Like Zombies, Then These Books Are To Die For

Just one of a few Readers Advisory resources I made for Young Adult books.

If you like Zombies, then these books are to Die for   (like this hasn't been used a million times, but it never gets old!)



If You're Looking for Realistic Fiction....

One of a few Readers Advisory resources I made up for Young Adult books.


If you're looking for Realistic Fiction....



Friday, February 21, 2014

A Previous Version of This Blog Has A New Home

For those of you looking to find the previous version of this blog, my fitness blog now has a new title AND a new link.  It is called Body, Mind and Soul and you can find it by clicking on this link:


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Half-Blood 
by Jennifer L. Armentrout

A refreshing take on a mythological young adult book.  
Synopsis: 

In a hidden society there are three types of races, the Hematoi, descendants of Gods and mortals, an elite race, with godlike powers.  Half-bloods, the children of Hematoi and mortals who are given only two choices in life, become a Sentinel, or a servant.  And the Daimons, pure-blood Hematoi who have become addicted to a substance called aether, which resides within the Hematoi and half-bloods.

Alexandria is a half-blood, and the protagonist of the series.  She has chosen the path of Sentinel, a trained warrior who protects the pure-bloods and hunts down daimons.  Problem is, she's been away for three years hiding from the very society she is now trying to rejoin and her lack of training has left her far behind her classmates.

Enter pure-blooded Aiden.  After rescuing Alex from a daimon attack and bringing her back into to the Covenant, he offers to train her for the summer to bring her back up to speed.  Which is totally fine with Alex because she has a major crush on him...despite the fact that pure-bloods and half-bloods are absolutely forbidden from having relationships.

Thoughts:

My first impression of this book was...thank goodness this is not another Persephone and/or Underworld mythology YA book.  I found this book to be a very refreshing version on the gods/goddesses mythology.  There was nothing especially noteworthy about the quality of the writing, but it was definitely an easy read, with very good flow.  There was a good balance between the different elements of the story, which can be tough to find in some YA books nowadays.  No part of the story overwhelmed another part, the romance was kept to a simmer and didn't prevent the story from moving forward, which I really appreciated.

For those of you out there who have read reviews about this title, I did not make the Vampire Academy connection until after I finished the first book, another series which I really enjoyed for its different take on vampires.  So...if you like Vampire Academy, chances are you will like this book, as long as you put aside the thought that it may or may not be ripping it off.  The course of this series goes in a completely different direction from VA.

Overall, this book and its sequels (there are 4 full length sequels, 1 novella and 1 prequel) sucked me in.  Once I finished Half-Blood, I needed to know what happened next.  If you don't like a series that has cliffhangers, be sure to have the next book ready to go as soon as you finish the previous one.  That's the only way I got through all of the books.

I think that if mythology, gods, goddesses, kick-ass heroines, fighting (girl fights, practice fights, deadly fights - lots of variety here), and a dose of good romance is up your alley, you will really enjoy Half-Blood.

Check out the full list of books from the Covenant series on Jennifer L. Armentrout's website: http://www.jenniferarmentrout.com/books/




Monday, February 10, 2014

An Introduction

"The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

This short quote puts into words my feelings for books.  I discovered this quote on a paper bookmark that I was given when I was in elementary school and it has never left my thoughts.  That is why when I first decided to create a blog, I knew exactly what I wanted the title to be.  So here we are!

This blog was created primarily for the purpose of reviewing books.  I am going to start off slowly, reviewing what I read which is primarily YA, but since I also happen to work as a children's librarian, I will hopefully be more well rounded in my reviewing habits.

So that's the gist of it!  Thanks for reading.