Review Detail

5.0 1
Young Adult Fiction 276
Book 2 of the Duology. A great bookend to Book 1: THE MOCKINGBIRDS
Overall rating
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A brilliant read. Daisy Whitney is a Rockstar, and I can't wait to read her next book, already in the process of publication.
Good Points
I have just finished reading the ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of THE RIVALS and was so completely blown away, I can hardly scrape myself up off the ground to offer a well-deserved, well-earned 5-star review to Daisy Whitney for her fast paced sequel to THE MOCKINGBIRDS. Rarely does a second book surpass the writing and talent clearly seen in the first; however, Daisy has pulled off the hat-trick and presented readers with another year of the students we fell in love with in Book 1 as well as introducing equally as enjoyable new characters. I highly recommend reading THE MOCKINGBIRDS before reading THE RIVALS to get the Full Monty experience, but THE RIVALS is a compelling stand-alone story of its own.

In THE MOCKINGBIRDS the reader encounters Alex and Martin and the case of date rape at Themis Academy that led her to seek vigilante justice through the student led organization since the faculty and staff (mostly) turn a blind eye to students asking for help. Themis believes nothing bad could possibly happen among their overachieving students, so The Mockingbirds were born to handle cases.

In THE RIVALS Alex returns, having survived her previous case, she is elected the head of The Mockingbirds. But, just as the school year begins, Alex is tested by a group of students who are using prescription drugs to cheat. With no clear victim (other than the entire school), and a mysterious RIVAL group of vigilante students seeking to compete with The Mockingbirds, Alex is tested in every friendship and relationship and truth she thinks she knew from Book 1.

Not only is the story enjoyable as a reader, as a writer I also enjoyed the structuring Whitney has deftly built up in THE MOCKINGBIRDS and just as carefully unravels throughout THE RIVALS in a breathtaking deconstruction of the prep-school world of Themis Academy.

Date Rape is a serious topic, handled so expertly by Whitney in THE MOCKINGBIRDS, I appreciated how this provides another layer to the current case of prescription drug abuse as means for students to cross moral and ethical lines of cheating. For Alex, she is still regaining her ground after facing her attacker and holding him accountable for raping her. Whitney shows that surviving something as life altering as that is not easily done. Alex is completely relatable as a character, who must sacrifice everything to stand up to the injustice of THE RIVALS.
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