The Rivals by Daisy Whitney
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.
I read The Mockingbirds a few weeks ago and have been eagerly anticipating picking up my copy of The Rivals ever since. I've been busy with school so it took me longer than usual to read, but I still enjoyed it quite a bit. While it didn't completely live up to it's predecessor, I am looking forward to reading another addition to the series.
Picking up soon after The Mockingbirds left off, Alex is now head of the secret society that helped her last year. The case they are dealing with this year is a lot different than anything they have had to deal with thus far and it was interesting to read about. The mystery was really well done and I was constantly guessing about who was and wasn't guilty. Since there wasn't one person being blamed, the Mockingbirds had to do a lot of sneaking around and gathering of suspects before they could put together a trial.
The characters are the best part of this series and I loved seeing my favorite characters again in The Rivals. A few new ones were also introduced which only made the book that much better. Alex learns a lot about herself and the Mockingbirds this time around and it was a unique experience seeing her grow and learn more about the club.
Daisy Whitney has a great writing style that always keeps me engaged and once I got into this I had a hard time putting it down. Mysteries are few and far between in YA fiction, so I love this series because they always introduce an original and complex case. Nothing is cut and dry in The Rivals and the plot is very fast moving.
Alex's relationship with Martin takes a backseat in The Rivals, which I think was necessary because the case was very important. I do wish I got to see more of them together, though.
All in all, The Rivals was a great follow-up to The Mockingbirds and I'm looking forward to seeing what's next for Alex and the gang. This one did not completely live up to the prequel, but I still enjoyed it a lot. I'm eager to see what will happen in the third book because the ending did leave me with quite a few questions!
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
February 6, 2012/Little Brown BFYR/352 Pages/Young Adult/Book Two
Source: Publisher (ARC)
Other books in the series: The Mockingbirds