Google+ Reading Teen: The Rivals by Daisy Whitney: Book Review

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Rivals by Daisy Whitney: Book Review

The Rivals
by Daisy Whitney
Series: The Mockingbirds #2
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (February 6, 2012)
Language: English
Buy the book: Amazon
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 Rivals is a follow up book to The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney.  In The Mockingbirds, Alex Patrick is a high school junior who is date-raped after drinking at a club.  The elite residential high school that Alex attends refuses to accept that any of their intelligent, talented students would break their honor code and so have no structure in place to deal with disciplinary issues.  Alex's only recourse is to enlist the aid of the underground student group known as The Mockingbirds.  After Alex's case is validated by the group and Carter's punishment is delivered, Alex is asked to take over the leadership of the group during her senior year.  The Rivals begins as the students are gathering back at the school for Alex's senior year.  Alex must learn to balance her new duties as leader of the Mockingbirds with being a student and highly talented pianist.  She has the support of Amy the previous leader, Martin her boyfriend and her roommates, T.S. and Maia.  Unfortunately, Alex is quickly faced with a big issue that must be dealt with.  She is told that members of the prestigious Debate Club are circulating forged prescriptions for an amphetamine to enhance their performance.  The rumors are flying about several different students but nothing prepares Alex for hearing the name of her roommate, Maia, mentioned as the supplier of the drugs.  Now Alex must decide where her loyalties truly lie and whether her duties as a Mockingbird include crushing the dreams of her best friend.  The struggle to find the truth behind the scandal brings betrayal, lies, heartbreak and disappointment causing Alex to question who she is and who she really wants to be.

I really enjoyed The Mockingbirds and looked forward to reading The Rivals.  However, I must admit that it took me a little while to really get into the story.  Perhaps because I had so recently read the first book, I didn't appreciate all the time that was taken to give the back story in the second book.  Also, this story is a lot more complicated with many more characters to keep up with.

Once I got into the meat of the story my interest picked up and at the end I didn't want to put the book down.  The main character is a nice girl who tries very hard to do the right thing in a very difficult situation.  Having never attended an elite boarding school, I don't know how accurate the portrayal of the administrators and teachers is, but I find it hard to believe that people in that situation wouldn't be more concerned about the health and safety of their students.  Even when told directly about drug use by a group of students and another girl breaking the fingers of Alex's hand, the Dean suggests that these things be put behind her and move forward.  I liked the book even though I found some of its premises to be a little unbelievable.  It discusses the differences in right and wrong, moral and immoral and how these are viewed differently by different people.  There is some language and Alex and Martin decide to engage in a sexual relationship.  These scenes are alluded to rather than described graphically.  I would recommend this book for entertainment reading for mid to older teens.

  • Sexual Content:  Moderate/Heavy
  • Profanity:  Heavy
  • Violence:  Moderate
  • Other Notables:  Abuse of prescription drugs
For more details, check out The Rivals on

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