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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Story Secrets: THE MOCKINGBIRDS by Daisy Whitney + giveaway!

Ok, so this is without a doubt one of the hottest reads this fall - welcome to fellow 2010 debut author Daisy Whitney, who is here to chat about THE MOCKINGBIRDS!

I haven't met Daisy in person, but she was part of the TELL ME A SECRET blog tour. We did this crazy fun blog interview together:

Welcome, Daisy!


THE MOCKINGBIRDS is about an underground, student-run secret society at a prestigious boarding school and a case they try involving date rape.

Holly Cupala: your book weaves intriguing threads while tackling a very serious topic. How did your ideas come together?
Daisy Whitney: I’ve always been intrigued by boarding school and also by the potential teens have to take a stand for what’s important. THE MOCKINGBIRDS - an underground student-run justice system - was born from those twin thoughts as a way to look at what it takes to stand up for yourself and for others.

I remember two distinct moments when the story clicked into place. First, I read Courtney Summers' Cracked Up To Be in August 2008 and was blown away. Her novel remains one of my favorites ever and opened my eyes to all that YA could be. Then a few weeks after reading it, I had an "aha" moment about what I wanted to write in the genre. I called my writer friend Suzanne Young of The Naughty List and brainstormed with her for an hour, put a pot of green tea on the stove and at 10 p.m. on Sept. 7, 2008, I started writing the first chapter of the book that would become THE MOCKINGBIRDS.

Holly: I love Suzanne! Courtney's writing is amazing. (In fact we did Story Secrets interviews with Suzanne here and here, and have an upcoming one with Courtney...) So Daisy, do you talk with anyone about your ideas as you are writing, or do you keep them top secret?

Daisy: Besides my agent and my editor, I talk regularly with Courtney Summers, Amanda Morgan, Suzanne Young, C.J. Omololu and my husband.

Holly: We love to hear the story behind stories. So what is the real story behind the novel? Any secrets you might be willing to share?
Daisy: I chose to write date rape because I know the topic well. I was date raped my freshman year of college. It’s twenty years later and I am very much healed, but the experience is still a profound one. I successfully pressed charges in my university’s disciplinary system and that experience of standing up and speaking out contributed greatly to my own ability to move forward.
But speaking out is very challenging and that’s why I wanted to show that speaking up for yourself can occur in many different ways. According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), 1 in 6 women will be a victim of sexual assault during her lifetime and girls ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. Also, half of the reported date rapes occur among teenagers, according to the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault. BUT, while adults want to believe a teen would come to them for help, teens are more likely to turn to a peer. According to a study conducted by The Northern Westchester Shelter, with Pace Women’s Justice Center, about 83% of 10th graders said they would sooner turn to a friend for help with dating abuse than a teacher, counselor, parent or other caring adult.

Thank you, Daisy, for writing on such a difficult topic and giving girls who have experienced date rape a voice. The subject has personally touched my life, and I'm sure it has for many others.
You want to win an advance copy of THE MOCKINGBIRDS! I want to give one away! So all you have to do to be entered (US addresses only) is to comment on one of the following: a) why you're dying to read this book, b) if you think students have the power to effect change in meaningful ways, or c) what kind of advice you might give to a friend who has been date raped.
I personally believe there is much power in friendship, and wish all of you close friends in which you can trust.

Here's a fun video of Daisy talking to Chicago-area teens about THE MOCKINGBIRDS:


  1. I'm excited to read this book because there has been such great buzz about it. And I love to read books that jump into controversial topics. It sounds amazing. Can't wait to get my hands on it.

  2. Great interview! I loved watching it! Gotta love secrets and the fallout from them

    My Bloody Fairy Tale

  3. Awesome interview! I wanna read this book because it sounds like a wild ride full of fun and real life situations!

  4. Great interview! I've been dying to read this book since I heard the buzz a while back. But I'm also interested in reading another book that pushes the limits of YA and gives kids power over really difficult situations.

  5. I've not yet read this book and want a copy! I've interviewed Daisy & have an upcoming giveaway of her book no my blog and I haven't even read it yet.
    bkhabel at gmail dot com

  6. Ah, that vlog interview was so cool! (There needs to be more of those; they're so fun!)
    I also enjoyed your interview of Daisy. It's horrifying to hear that Daisy was date raped, but I'm glad she was able to turn the experience into something positive.

    I want to read The Mockingbirds because it covers a serious subject but has a positive spin (and who doesn't love secret societies? c'mon). I've also heard that The Mockingbirds is fantastic, so all the more reason I'm dying to read it! :)

  7. I just want to say that this is a great interview ! I'm 15 and as a high schooler, teachers and other students talk about the topic rape by promoting awareness and what to do if it happens to you. Ever since I have heard about this book, I have been really wanting to read it.

    I definitely think students have the power to change in meaningful ways! Most adults think that because we're young, we don't always know what we're doing. That or we are too naive. I know that if you stand up and fight the crowd, you'll be heard. Most teens actually feel the same about a lot of situations. So if one topic gets out and most of us agree on it, it's going to end up being changed if it was originally disagreed. A lot of the power comes from acting in numbers. If we all believe in the same thing, we'll all try and pursue. We know what we're doing, and sometimes I think teens are more able/willing to get something changed.

    Thanks for the great giveaway !


  8. I've read so many great reviews on this novel that I am soooo wishing I win or magically receive one LOL.

    If I had a friend that was Date Raped I would tell her she should speak to family or an adult figure about it. If they were being threatened, I would help her figure out a way to tell someone. I think Date Rape is a serious issue and it's rarely talked about, the girls/guys always think its their fault. I think there need to be more YA Contemporary novels like this.

    Truth Be Told
    truthbetold004 at gmail dot com

  9. Always eager to read a new book that I can add to the SEX IN THE LIBRARY blog and booktalk! (www.sexinthelibrary.blogspot.com) My booktalking partner and I try to cover all aspects of sex, including non-consensual sex, and it sounds like this book belongs on our list.

    aarenex at haikufarm dot net

  10. Such a cool giveaway--I've heard so many awesome things about this book. :) I'm dying to read it because I work as a school counselor, and I talk with students on a regular basis who have been sexually assaulted. I want to help these students get their "power" back, and I think this book may be a great inspiration.

  11. I like to answer all the questions, as you know Holly.

    A) I spent my elementary school years being tortured by my peers. I developed a fantasy based off of those expieriences, that I could start an antithesis of the movie Mean Girls in my middle school. I thought we could call ourselves the Pink Angels and we would be a group of reveered Good Girls. Apparently Lurlene McDaniel and Daiy Whitney beat me to writing it out. Good for you both! I want to read Mockingbirds so badly, and I think it's amazing you had the courage to write on a subject that has changed your world. I am a bit in awe of you, Ms. Whitney.

    b) I don't think there are enough students ready to make the difference that is so badly needed, but I do my very best to make waves.

    C) I don't know what I would say, but I know I would stand and wait for the right words to come; running from the tough stuff is not my thing.

    Great interview!

  12. I've heard only positive things about Mockingbirds and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy.

    If someone I knew was raped I would tell them to make sure the person paid for what they did. And to also make sure the person couldn't do it to anyone else. I don't think the exact words would be proper to say on here, so I'll stick with the first response.

  13. Great interview. I really want to read Mockingbirds. I've heard such good things about it. And it's a super important issue that needs to be out there for girls. I'm going to have my 13 year old daughter read it too. Having knowledge and being aware of these kind of issues may help her not be a victim of date rape. At least I'm hoping so.

  14. I'm a teacher so I have a firm belief that kids can affect change in a real way. In my city some teans are having the "Drive Now Talk/Text Later" pledge. I think that if the whole texting driving thing is to change kids need to call kids on it and they are!

    themgowl at gmail.com

  15. Great Interview. I've been interested in this book since I heard about it. I think this issue needs more coverage because teen girls generally have the mentality of "it can happen, just not to me". I want to be more informed on the issue because someone who is close to me was raped, and I know that she still struggles with it sometimes. It's important to know that sexual harassment isn't something to joke about; it's a serious issue that has serious mental, emotional and physical ramifications.
    melodiousrevelry (at) gmail (dot) com