I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora is a gloriously witty and murderous book and I can’t love it enough! It’s a book about books (bookception!) and how can an avid bookworm not love and adore that?! If you geek out over books and authors — this was built specifically for you.
Obviously it’s about the infamous To Kill a Mockingbird. Four friends decide they want EVERYONE to read To Kill a Mockingbird over summer. So, ingeniously, they decide to “ban” it. If you make something hard to get then everyone wants it. Reverse psychology! Always works. The kids don’t steal the books…they just hide them in the bookstores and then set up social media accounts to create panic that To Kill a Mockingbird is being shot down. And suddenly — BOOM — everyone wants to read it. Genius.
The kids are on the brink of highschool, but not quite there yet, so this book could totally suit a Middle Grade audience. The characters have pretty mature voices, though, so make way for loads of sarcasm and witty banter.
But let’s talk about these grand characters! Did I mention witty banter? WITTY! BANTER! ALERT! There’s a threesome of buddies: Lucy (the quiet, gangly narrator), Elena (the tough spunky one) and Michael (who loves baseball). I never felt like the characters were leaping off the page with development, unfortunately. But then, the book is only 200-pages. That’s NOT a lot of time. So I loved the characters for who they were, even if it didn’t get deep.
Michael is a bit of a To Kill A Mockingbird hater, but after I calmed my righteous indignation, I did appreciate how he broke stereotypes by loving baseball AND books. Lucy (the narrator) was so adorable the way she fretted over her parents and tried to get her cancer-recovering mum to eat salad. And Elena?! Bring out the fireworks! She was a popsicle of feisty attitude. She’s the one who makes bookshop displays using Halloween bloody axes as props. (They were “killing” the Mockingbird, okay?!)
Elena pulls the ax out of the bag, holds it above her head, and shouts, “I KILL THE MOCKINGBIRD!”
Michael shakes his head. “I am seriously worried about you.”
Basically this book is my new best friend. I devoured it in a blink (because it’s really rather tiny) and I snortled out loud several times. And the literary references were golden too. (They named old, classic authors, but also new ones like Neil Gaiman!) I also loved the emphasis on friendship and the summery vibe and I loved how this trio of friends were so passionate about books. Yay for books! I love books, so books about books are automatically win for me.
“But in the book,” I say, “the mockingbird is supposed to be a symbol of innocence. That’s why it’s a sin to kill one.”
“Who says it’s a symbol of innocence?” asks Mort.
“Teachers,” I tell him. “Book reviewers, critics –”
“Wikipedia,” Elena calls from behind the window display.