This is the first book by Mindy McGinnis that I’ve ever read and I am not disappointed at all! The Female of the Species is the book of the month for March by my Rainbow Book Club, composed of Camillia, Melissa, Tina and Sandee. I had fairly low expectations starting this book, because the back blurb, gripping as it was, was way too low key – but on the hindsight, I really like that it was!
Trigger warnings: Murder, rape & cheating.
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.
Oh, boy, what did I just read? It was such a dark dark book.
First, I wanna commend Mindy McGinnis’ writing. I love how she’s so deep but so easy to understand at the same time. She depicts emotions very realistically, even poetically at times, but they still come out good and never detached from the reader. What the characters feel, the reader definitely feels. It’s like you’ve invested so much in each and character in this book that you care about what happens to them all.
The story was told in three point of views. At first I thought it’s going to disconnect me to some of the characters and I’ll be bent to focus on just one. However, the three POV-style definitely worked for me! It was done in such a way that you’ll miss the other characters when you’re not reading their POV, but at the same time you’re invested with the POV of the character you’re reading about. Does that even make sense? I know it does! Ha! Overall, Mindy’s writing style did it for me. Just perfect.
At first I was expecting this to be full-on murder novel. I didn’t expect it to be so character driven, psychological, and yes, emotional. There are so many issues that this novel addresses – love for oneself, discrimination, stereotyping – and I love how every single issue is addressed in such a way that the reader would feel involved and even concerned about what’s happening in the real world. I just feel that this book is so important that everybody should be reading it. I don’t know why it is so underrated and quite not popular? Aaah, I wanna recommend it so bad to everybody!!!
Okay, where do I begin with this part? First, I wanna say that I live for character development. Characters are everything to me because like I’ve been saying over and over, what is a good plot without a good character development? Riiight? Right.
So let’s begin with Peekay since she has the weirdest coolest name. It’s actually PK, which stands for Preacher’s Kid. I related so much with her (not because I’m a preacher’s kid! Ha!) but because of the great contradiction called HER life – being the daughter of a preacher and doing stuff she’s not even allowed to know and think about. I commend how much Mindy McGinnis was able to transform her into somebody else entirely different from how she was when the story began. Legit character development? Double check.
Jack Fisher. Oh Jack. His was such an interesting character, and probably one I will not forget for a while. He was a unique combination of real and fictional, raw and deep. At this point, I don’t even know where to begin to describe the beauty of his complex character. He was so flawed but it just makes him all the more perfect.
“I swear to god I can feel I love you in my throat like a physical thing, and I need to make sure that it finally gets out there it happens in the right way”
And lastly, Alex Craft. Oh boy. Alex Craft and her twisted brain. Yes, you read it right. She isn’t crazy, she isn’t a psycho. But she’s a girl whose sister was raped and murdered. From then on, all she wanted was revenge. Vengeance drove her. Until she met Peekay and Jack.
“Words like sociopath and psychopath, ones that people like to toss around without knowing what they actually mean. But neither of them fits. They spoke lack of empathy, disregarding the safety of others – when I am the opposite. I feel too much.”
“If I don’t let my feelings guide me in my actions, it’s the same as not having them at all.”
Overall, I really enjoyed it – although watch out for that ending, though! It was a masterpiece, I would say, and I love the fact that YA authors are really stepping up in their game!
Have you read The Female of the Species? Or any of Mindy McGinnis’ books? I would love to hear from you!