The Female of the Species
“The females of the species is more deadly than the male.”
All anyone seems to think when they see Alex Craft is of her sister, Anna, who was brutally raped and murdered three years ago. The killer walked free and Alex took matters into her own hands. Now she feels out of control when she is near people, so she has stuck herself in her own little bubble.
Super star athlete and 4.0 student Jack Fisher wants to know Alex Craft. Everyone thinks he is perfect, but he still harbors guilt over how he acted on the night Anna’s body was found. He feels that Alex will remember him and what he did, and she will never give him the chance he wants to get to know her.
The preacher’s kid, Peekay, gets to know Alex’s protective nature when they volunteer together at the local animal shelter. Gradually, Peekay begins to peel back the layers of Alex, with the two becoming close friends.
As senior year unfolds, the three teenagers are brought closer together. When they get Alex to go to a party one night, her darker side is brought out when protecting Peekay. As the three friends become closer, they are hurtled onto a collision course that will change their lives forever.
"THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES promotes awareness of the hard subjects of rape and assault, while also presenting a thrilling and startling narrative that keeps you reading, even through the difficult parts."
Like Mindy McGinnis’s other novels, A MADNESS SO DISCREET and the Not a Drop to Drink duology, THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES is very dark. As in you might want to read it in daylight with your doors locked and guard dog on the ready. It is not scary in a Nightmare on Elm Street kind of way. It is scary in a Heathers kind of way, straddling the line between right and wrong and putting you on the very edge of your seat in the process. I personally loved how unabashedly blunt this novel is, how McGinnis does not mince words or gore or leave anything to the bloody imagination. I do advise that if you tend to get a little uneasy with descriptions of murder, rape or blood, test the waters before diving into this book. It gets real very quickly, so you will know soon if you can handle it or not.
I do not want to give a lot away about this novel because I think it is better to go into THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES blind. I do want to say, though, that this is a very important novel, for girls and boys, teens and adults. It is rough and hard to read sometimes, but that is the point. No one seems to want to worry about rape and assault until after the victim is scarred for life. THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES promotes awareness of the hard subjects of rape and assault, while also presenting a thrilling and startling narrative that keeps you reading, even through the difficult parts.
THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES also offers many fantastic female friendships and family relationships. The female friendships are my personal favorite. Sometimes they fought like cats and took out each other with their sharp words, but when the situation got serious, they banded together like sisters and helped each other. This is such an important lesson for young girls: you do not have to get along with every girl, but you better help them if they are in trouble.
With THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES, Mindy McGinnis offers a unique and absolutely new take on life, death, and who gets to decide who deserves to live and who deserves to die. I was surprised, I was appalled, I was delighted, I cried, I laughed and ultimately, I hoped. Hoped for a day when men and women do not feel the need to take advantage of other men and women. Hoped for a time when everyone supports, helps, and takes care of one another. Hoped for a time when we listen to victims and give them the help they need. Perfect for fans of Heathers and other movies or novels with morally ambiguous characters.
Reviewed by Bryn D., Teen Board Member on September 19, 2016