Author: Mindy McGinnis
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: September 20, 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 (goodreads).
The Female of the Species is the type of book I want to plant in every high school classroom.
Plot: The Female of the Species was admittedly hard for me to read. By page 25, I was ready to DNF it solely because of how brutal it was. You wanna know how unmerciful this book was? Puppies die. That's how brutal it was.
Despite its puppy-killing ways, I managed to enjoy this book. The language is salty yet realistic, but it's the relationships that really sold me. McGinnis covers a lot of relevant topics such a drugs, rape, female friendships, and anger. For me, the beginning was a bit shaky because I didn't know what to expect, I loved the middle, and thought the ending was melodramatic. Despite its questionable ending, I thought that The Female of the Species has a lot of good dialogue that shouldn't be missed out on.
Characters: As you've read from the synopsis, Alex has killed someone. She is filled with an anger that she can't control and has decided to separate herself from other people. During her senior year of university, she comes in contact with Peekay (The Preacher's Kid), and Jack. The three of them have some major character growth before the end of the year, especially Alex who has her first real friend since...well ever. I adored this book for its characters and Alex's refusal to slut shame.
Worldbuilding: It's been less than a week since I've read this book and I can't remember the setting for the life of me. I'm sure it takes place in some small town. Despite that, the world felt real but have dealt with more diverse characters.
Short N Sweet: The Female of the Species doesn't pull any punches, but it needs to be read.