The Female of the Species
Author Mindy McGinnis
Publisher Katherine Tegen Books | 2016
Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it.
Three years ago, when her older sister, Anna, was murdered and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best—the language of violence. While her own crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people. Not with Jack, the star athlete who wants to really know her but still feels guilty over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered. And not with Peekay, the preacher’s kid with a defiant streak who befriends Alex while they volunteer at an animal shelter. Not anyone.
As their senior year unfolds, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting these three teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever. (from Goodreads)
This review is spoiler-freeeee! 🙂
Underneath this pretty little cover is a dark, heavy story about murder, revenge and rape. I knew beforehand that it was a dark read, but I couldn’t have even imagined. This book has been sitting on my TBR shelf for sooo long but I’m so happy I finally got around to picking it up. Even with all the dark things happening in this, it still manages to be laugh out loud hilarious? And it has great characters and friendships and relationships and it makes you question your own morals and it’s all SO GOOD.
“The books didn’t help me find a word for myself; my father refused to accept the weight of it. And so I made my own. I am vengeance.”
I don’t even really know where to start because that ending was just TOUGH. I could sense that something bad was gonna happen but then stuff happened and it was like…
The ending still manages to be redeeming and make an even stronger impact because you get to see the fallout and consequences that can follow an event like that. This book dives deep into the social ramifications of rape culture and slut-shaming by taking it to the most extreme level in order to demonstrate how damning these actions can be. The story makes you take a step back and evaluate your own moral standings. There were many times during this when I was thinking… am I condoning murder? She’s a murderer… but is she though? But in the end you just see that it’s not always the big actions that make an impact. It’s the tiny ones. Things you may not even think to be relevant at all are the ones that pile up and spark the firecracker that sets the whole town ablaze. And it’s PAINFUL to watch unfold.
“But boys will be boys, our favorite phrase that excuses so many things, while the only thing we have for the opposite gender is women, said with disdain and punctuated with an eye roll.”
All of the characters in this are great. Each of the three perspectives are different enough that you can immediately tell who’s narrating, even without the chapter title. They each have their own distinct way of speaking that’s super endearing and I love them. Alex’s chapters are dark and harrowing, Claire’s (Peekay) are raw and lovely at the same time, and Jack’s are thoughtful and hilarious. This book has some super great friendships that I was an absolute sucker for. Every moment with Claire and Alex are amazing and I loved how they looked out for each other and called each other out on their bullshit. I really enjoyed Alex and Jack’s relationship, though once they got together I was a little disappointed with the brief break we got from Claire (because I LOVE her) but she came back into the story a lot towards the end, so it was OK. I started being not-so-loving towards Jack at the end because like.. he’s pretty much an asshole, but he’s still a good character.
This book was so many things. Dark, funny, horrifying, uplifting, sad, happy, and IMPORTANT. I feel really impacted by this book and it’s definitely one I would recommend to someone in the future. I hope this author writes more books like this in the future because I really enjoyed her writing style! The only thing I would warn about to a potential reader would be to check the trigger warnings first (if that’s a thing you do) because there is some truly scary content (rape in particular) in here that could definitely be an issue. But also, don’t let the darkness fend you off! I LOVED THIS BOOK.