The Female of the Species
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Publication: September 20th, 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Format: Kindle Edtion, 341 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller
Read: April 2017
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.
Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
This book is a punch in the gut and there’s no way around it. It’s a brutal look at humanity and rape culture and how it’s become so common within society today. We follow the day to day lives of the characters and it’s not a linear plot line. It’s dark, gritty, violent and intense. I won’t be able to forget this story for a really long time.
Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style lent really well to the way the narrative is told. There’s three different POVs and each has it’s own distinct voice. It was easy to read and fast paced and engaging. It was intense, powerful and honest. It was lyrical, brutal and violent. Another punch to the gut to be quite honest.
Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
The characters in this book are so real and complex. From the main characters, to the side characters, they all feel like complete people and we’re just getting a little glimpse of their lives.
Alex is really intense. She doesn’t really understand social interactions and her point of view is almost robotic and factual in the way that she speaks and thinks. But she is also very kind and protective. She understands herself better than anyone and knows her limitations. I ended up being a huge fan of her which wasn’t something that I expected when I first started reading.
Then there’s Jack who is a douche. Honestly, there’s no other way to describe him, he’s a very typical asshole boy who has the world at the tip of his fingers and doesn’t really think about why. He’s kind of annoying but I appreciated how much he grew throughout the story. He’s really torn and confused.
And the last protagonist is Peekay, who definitely should not go by that name because she represents something so much better. She’s really sweet and kind and loving. But she’s also really accustomed to the way life is and unaware of how bad things actually are. However, she’s determined to improve and I really enjoyed reading from her point of view.
I was a bit apprehensive to read this book since I hadn’t had the best experience with the author’s earlier work but this book was absolutely amazing.
The plot was intense. We follow Alex, a girl who is known because of the death of her sister and whose life begins to change when she’s befriended by another girl from school. I didn’t know how this book was going to be and I was surprised with how brutality honest and intense the narrative was. We’re set in a small town in the south, where kinds party in the woods and everyone has known each other since they were born. All the relationships in the book go back years and have a huge history attached to them. And the author uses this backdrop to explore a very important theme. The book is an in depth look at rape culture and how desynthesized society has become to the effects of it. We see it from a girl’s perspective and from a man’s perspective, we see it around us, we see it happen to the characters. There’s no linear plot that we follow, no truth we’re chasing, but the narrative is still addicting and fast paced. Like I said above (twice), this book is just a punch to the gut. It’s real and honest, brutally so. I want to make sure to mention that there are a lot of graphic descriptions of sexual assault, animal abuse, violence and gore. I don’t really know what else to say about this book that wouldn’t be considered a spoiler. I just really want to stress the fact that this book is really important and I think it talks about the issue of rape culture in a way that is candid and honest, in a way that makes you really think about the way you live your life. There’s a lot of ways that this could be triggering for people so I’d be conscious of that before deciding to read this book. But I honestly just want to recommend it to everyone because it’s absolutely amazing and mind blowing.
Alex is amazing. She’s the protagonist but also kind of the anti-hero of the story. However, she has such a kind and good heart. It took me awhile to get used to her point of view and narrative but it’s so worth it. She’s such a complex and intriguing character. I slowly came to love her because of the way she sees the world and the way she interacts with the world. At the end of the book, I just wanted to cuddle her and giver her love because she needed it! Her point of view is a punch to the gut, she’s the one that really opens your eyes and makes you think but I loved it.
Jack bothered me at first. He’s a typical asshole guy who’s used to getting everything he wants in a town small enough where everyone knows his name. Reading from his point of view was kind of annoying. I didn’t want to know how hard it was to not cheat on his girlfriend, like that line of thought is uninteresting to me. However, he had a lot of growth throughout the book. I think he was the character that has the most development out of everyone in the story. His emotional development is great and I didn’t completely hate him by the end.
Peekay was the sweetest and the character that I connected to the most from the beginning. However, she was really naive and was kind of settled into her routine and the way her life had always shaped out to be. I kind of wish the ending hadn’t treated her the way it did, it kind of upset me because I wanted her to feel better. She was a nice girl and her story line was actually kind of tough and intense. I wanted a more comforting end for her.
There are several side characters who also have an important part in the story, every character within the plot has a significant part to play. It was just an amazing reading experience, the story blew me away honestly.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed reading this book. I’m really glad that I read it with my friends and that we could all share our feelings through the experience. I would definitely be careful about trigger warnings for this book. As much as I would love to say that everyone should read this book, some people could be heavily triggered by the graphic and intense content that’s within the story. If you can handle it, definitely give it a read because it shows how awful rape culture really is and how much we really need to be the ones to change it.
So that’s it for this post! The last part of this review has been tough for me to express so I hope everyone understands it. I’d love to know if you’ve given this book a try and what you thought of it. I’m really glad that I gave this author another chance and I’m now more open to the rest of the books she has published. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!