The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
Version: ARC Paperback
Rating: 5 stars
Release Date: September 20th 2016
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.
Honestly - everyone should read this book. Guy, girl, whoever. It's extremely important. The Female of the Species conveys a strong message, and channels all the anger over being treated like shit by men into the character that is Alex Craft. I wouldn't call her my role model, but she's our inner fighter whenever we feel weak or defenseless.
This book has dark themes and has a roundabout way of getting to the point, kind of like Wink Poppy Midnight. It even has multiple POVs. One is from Alex, sister to Anna, who was raped and murdered a few years prior. We also have Peekay (aka Preacher's kid), who volunteers at the animal shelter with Alex and becomes her friend, as well as Jack, who wants to know Alex better after finding her sister's body all those years ago. Alex's POV is the introspective one, full of her thoughts and inner demons as she struggles to find normalcy.
This book was beautifully written, and it really spoke true about how women are treated and how rape is handled. It makes us angry that we can be powerless in these situations. The Female of the Species is eye-opening and intense.
"Venting your primal self in an emotional moment can be more than your socially constructed self can handle after the fact," Alex says, her eyes gliding over me. "Look at you. Your hands are shaking. Your voice is weak. And your conscience is reasserting itself."
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.Alex isn't the most innocent character - as you read on, you find out all the messed up stuff that has happened to her and the actions she's done in retaliation. But it begs the question, is it well-deserved vengeance?
I am vengeance.
While Alex's POV is the driving action of the story, Peekay and Jack's POV do not lack interest. They bring alternative views on sex and their own conflicts. Peekay struggles between being labeled the "preacher's kid" and her own desires. Jack, while saying he would never hurt Alex, is always torn between sleeping with Branley or staying true to Alex.
Plus, I may have said this too many times, but if you're looking for a book to give you a literal punch in the face on how society views rape, this is the book. The last half of The Female of the Species I was flying through, page through page. It is addictive. It is thought-provoking. It may shock you, with the subject material and dark themes, but I think the shock is needed.
"Physical attractiveness has nothing to do with it. You were alone, isolated, and weak. The three of them had been watching girls all night, waiting for someone to separate from a group. It happened to be you, but it could've been anyone. Opportunity is what matters, nothing else."
I really want to read more of Mindy McGinnis's works now.