Published by Katherine Tegen Books on 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.
Hi guys and welcome to our tour stop for Mindy McGinnis’s newest book, The Female of the Species. Check out what I thought of this book and don’t forget to enter the giveaway below.
Holy crap on a cracker you guys. This book was awesome in a really, really disturbing way. It actually reminded me a lot of Stephanie Kuehn’s books, which I’ve really enjoyed. It was a book that touched on a lot of important stuff, important stuff that teenagers face every day in some way. My history with McGinnis started off rough as I wasn’t a fan of her duology, but then loved A Madness So Discreet and now this one, which I also enjoyed.
With this book, it was the characters that were the standouts for me. Alex, of course and Peekay, short for Preacher’s Kid, who I was borderline obsessed with. Alex’s love interest, Jack and his on again off again girlfriend, Branley. There was also Sara, who was the only lesbian in their small town (at least as far as they knew) I loved that Alex and Peekay volunteered at an animal shelter. I never see that in books and it disappoints me. Animal shelters were where I spent my volunteering time when I was in high school, so I loved seeing it represented.
I loved Alex. She had so much darkness in her, she had always been asked “what’s wrong with you?” from the time she was a child. It was mentioned that she was very much like her father who had taken off to whereabouts unknown. She knew she wasn’t “safe” to be around, so to protect people, she distanced herself, made herself an outcast. It’s Peekay who brings her out into the world, forces her to interact with people much more often than she would on her own. Alex is fiercely loyal to Peekay, to the point of mangling a tweaker’s face when it’s discovered that Peekay, whose real name is Claire, was roofied.
“I’m telling you, Claire. It doesn’t matter. What you were wearing. What you look like. Nothing. Watch the nature channel. Predators go for the easy prey.”
This book wasn’t overt in how it talked about rape culture. It was more of a covert thing. There’s a specific chapter in the book where they have a high school assembly and a police officer comes in to talk about how no one wants to report a violent crime because it’s such a small town that they’ll basically be turning someone in who they’ve likely known all their life. There’s a specific scene that hit me hard in this chapter
“What happens next is that you’re more likely to become a victim of sexual assault. Girls, one in 3 of you. There are five right here so let’s be generous and say it’s just one. Which one of you will it be?”
“Please say it’s Branley.”
“Let me guess, she’s the hot one, right? Guess what-one of you is the one who’s going to do it.”
I’m not going to quote the entire chapter, though I could. It goes on to say that one in six boys will be sexually assaulted. I’m really glad that was said because so often boys hear that they CAN’T be victims of sexual assault because they would never let that happen to them. Guess what? Girls don’t “let” that happen to them either. It just happens, through no fault of their own.
The fact that one boy basically said he wanted Branley to be sexually assaulted made me absolutely furious. I know it was supposed to be a story about Alex and her demons, but hearing some bozo say that about Branley absolutely infuriated me. I swear, if I EVER hear the phrase “boys will be boys” again, I will flip my shit. That is a pathetic excuse and it does not hold boys accountable which I think is unacceptable.
I could talk about this book for DAYS, but then this review will be 10,000 words long and I don’t think anyone wants to read that. The ending is absolutely batshit insane and it left me unable to form words for a good 30 minutes after I read it. If you like dark contemporaries with great friendships, then you need to give this one a try.
Mindy McGinnis is a YA author who has worked in a high school library for thirteen years. Her debut, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, a post-apocalyptic survival story set in a world with very little freshwater, has been optioned for film my Stephanie Meyer’s Fickle Fish Films. The companion novel, IN A HANDFUL OF DUST was released in 2014. Look for her Gothic historical thriller, A MADNESS SO DISCREET in October of 2015 from Katherine Tegen Books. Mindy is represented by Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary.