Author: Daisy Whitney
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Little, Brown
Hardcover, 344 pages
Date Published: February 6, 2012
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
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 thing I really loved about The Rivals, that Daisy Whitney did a phenomenal job conveying, was that these characters – Alex in particular – are so three dimensional and complicated. Alex is a great person who has a big heart, but she is still very capable of screwing up. She compromises her morals, she lies to the people she cares about, and she does things she shouldn’t; because that’s what real people do. In the end, she sees it as being right, even if her vision is a little skewed.
The supporting cast of characters is as strong as ever too. Martin, Alex’s geeky boyfriend, is sweet and caring, and has a bit of a jealous streak. Alex’s musician friend Jones is the guy brining out Martin’s jealous side, and it’s understandable. Jones is a great guy too. Alex’s circle of friends keep her grounded, especially when the responsibility of the Mockingbirds gets to her.
Having Alex go all gung-ho about a cheating scandal doesn’t seem all that interesting, but this cheating/drug ring is far more complicated that it sounds. There are plenty of red herrings, some betrayal, a lot of false claims, and a ton of sleuthing. The Themis administration truly stands out this time around as being utterly useless. The headmistress blatantly ignores all the issues at the school, so it’s necessary for an organization like The Mockingbirds to exist.
Anyone who enjoyed The Mockingbirds is bound to fly through The Rivals. It’s different, but Daisy Whitney has created these lifelike characters that feel like friends. Alex faces more strife and struggle, not just from coping with what happened to her the year before, but also with a slowly deteriorating relationship with Martin and attempting to the toe the line with her role in the Mockingbirds. It makes for very good reading!
Opening line: I will pretend I know nothing. ~ pg. 1
Favorite lines/passages: And now we are not Mockingbirds. We are just us. Just a boy and a girl trying to move beyond what happened. ~ pg. 54
4.5*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.
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