The Female Of The Species by Mindy McGinnis
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Summary: Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.
While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.
But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.
So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.
Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.
My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½
My Thoughts: A powerful + important read! Highly Recommend!
Note: This novel discusses rape/rape culture and sexual assault. There is also mention of animal abuse. Be aware if those are triggers for you.
She discusses rape/rape culture honestly + brings up very important topics! Even after closing the book, this book still has me thinking! There is so much to this story from its underlying messages to its complex main characters.
McGinnis writing style is spectacular! She weaves in a lot of symbolism/metaphors + through her writing which connects her 3 POV’s extremely well. Having read/loved her Not A Drop To Drink duology, it was interesting to read this novel and compare from her shift of Sci-Fi Dystopia to Contemporary.
The main characters Alex, Peekay & Jack all had their own POVS and were wonderfully written. McGinnis’s first person POV really brings these characters to life.
Alex gets to know Peekay and Jack over the course of this novel. Keeping herself isolated, she learns about relationships and friendships, and comes to understand how her acts of revenge are affecting her mentally/emotionally. Alex does becomes Peekay’s best friend and it was wonderful to see from her POV, the compassionate/loving side Alex usually keeps hidden, when she begins working at an animal shelter.
Peekay (Clarie) gives the reader an inside look at how female vs. female behavior can be harmful. Throughout this novel, Peekay becomes more aware of how her behavior can really skew her view on others and why its important to change that.
Jack is very much meant to show the reader an inside look at the “boys will be boys” statement. He changes over the course of this novel and begins to take initiative and look at how his behavior could be harmful to women (like Alex and his former girlfriend Branley.) Additionally, through out this novel he tells himself how much he wants to be a better person and really works towards doing so.
While I loved each of the 3 MCs equally, Alex was my favorite. She murders those who commit horrible acts of rape and sets to make things right considering her sister is no longer with her, due to being raped herself. She wants to have close relationships with others, but struggles because of what she’s lost (not only her sister, but also her family which is now broken), due to the dark murders she’s committed.
My only minor issue was the pacing in some parts.
This is a novel that will leave you thinking long after you’ve finished. The raw + poetic writing style keeps you connected to these characters + gets you thinking about these important/mature dark topics that are sadly still around us.
An immersive YA Contemporary which handles very tough subjects, but overall delivers a very important discussion of rape/rape-culture.