Published by HarperCollins on September 20th 2016
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Thrillers & Suspense, Social Themes, Violence, Law & Crime
Also by this author: Not a Drop to Drink, A Madness So Discreet, This Darkness Mine
ARC provided by BEA 2016, HarperCollins
Edgar Award–winning author Mindy McGinnis delivers a dark and riveting contemporary YA novel that blends the unflinching honesty of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak with the relentless pacing and alternating perspectives of Gone Girl. A stunning, unforgettable page-turner.
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.
This was not what I expecting. THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES was so much better! I think the cover made me think this would be light, or funny, or immature. This book was none of those. This story is kinda dark, and intense. I found myself liking Alex right away. It is easy to see what made her go dark, it is hard to understand how she flew under the radar for so long. Peekay notices Alex because they work together at an animal shelter. Expect pain there, as these two deal with reality of owners who abandon and pets that might never find a forever home. Alex is also noticed by Jack, who first met her the night they found Alex’s sister’s body parts. He has never forgotten her.
The main theme in this story is our unassuming idea of what a female is. It is also taking matters into your own hands when justice isn’t fairly served. The whole town sees Alex as Anna’s little sister, ‘So sad what happened to her’. What the people in this small town don’t know is that Alex may be small but she can kick a hole right through you. Alex killed the man who everyone knows killed her sister. She is the only one who knows that at the start of this story. Alex is living a solitary life when Peekay and Jack pull her into society.
The kids in this town are accurately portrayed. They hang out late and party, they have sex and talk shit. It may be uncomfortable for some to read such an honest glimpse into live of the American teenager, but I found it refreshing and entertaining. This book explores consensual sex as well as rape and how the victim is seen. Females are exploited in this small town society and they are vindicated. This book is also about a kick-ass girl who will fiercely protect herself and her friends. All of the characters go through major growth throughout this story.
This story gives us three points of view to understand what is going on.
Alex: the girl who get the revenge, “This is how I kill someone. And I don’t feel bad about it.”
Peekay: Alex’s friend who needs defending, “I live in a world where not being molested as a child is considered luck.”
Jack: the boy who loves Alex, “This girl might be a monster but I love her.”
This story is so brutally honest in it’s language and it’s character’s actions. There is some slut-shaming as well as some looking the other way as boys talk smack. How degrading it is to be a girl sometimes and have to put up with that shit? It is such an eye opening story of what it means to be a girl, as a girl and also how boys sometimes act. I loved that Alex won’t stand by and take it. She may not be the best role model, but I would high-five her if I could.
THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES was so good. This story isn’t the typical YA. It is a sucker punch to the gut for all the things we let slide in out culture. Although some of this story may be a little unrealistic, the story still makes a great point. The ending was perfect, although a little sad. This book had me thinking, really thinking about what it means to be a girl.