Title: The Female of the Species
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Sold By: HarperCollins Publishers
Genre: Contemporary YA
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, 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 side breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever. Edgar Award—winning author Mindy McGinnis artfully crafts three alternating perspectives into a dark and riveting exploration of what it means to be the female of the species.
Sometimes I read a book that stays with me for a long time afterwards. The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis did just that. It’s dark and dangerous with a subtle element of suspense throughout, and I was reading it so fast because I had to know what happened.
Everyone thinks if you fix a male dog it will lower his aggression, but most of the biters are female. It’s basic instinct to protect their own womb. You see it in all animals–the female of the species is more deadly than the male.
There are three povs in this novel and each one has a distinct voice, but the real star of the show is Alex. After her sister’s vicious murder, she’s on a quest for vengeance and wants to obliterate any sexual predator in her wake. Sounds like a pretty sweet idea, right? Who wouldn’t want to make sexual predators pay? Alex reminded me a bit of Dexter if you’ve seen the TV show. Dexter had what he called a dark passenger that compelled him to kill. Does Alex have a dark passenger? Is her compulsion to kill solely a result of her sister’s murder? Or is it something that’s always been inside of her? This was an interesting theme throughout.
I am vengeance.
Alex is isolated and a loner until she befriends Peekay and Jack. Once she starts to develop feelings for her friends things get complicated. Really complicated. What happens when her new friendships make her rethink her need for vengeance? How will this all culminate?
But boys will be boys, our favorite phrase that excuses so many things, while the only thing we have for the opposite gender is women, said with disdain and punctuated with an eye roll.
The author does a phenomenal job of capturing high school characters and their fears and hopes and jealousies along with their capacity for love and forgiveness. This story made me remember all those confusing emotions that come with teenagers years.
All in all this is one terrific, twisted tale, and I am thrilled to have read it. I look forward to reading Ms. McGinnis’ backlog. Go 1-click this book if you want to get immersed in an epic page turner!
He may just be a cheaply bandied-about name now, a capitalized word that makes us shift uncomfortably and drop our voices, but he was a real person only a few years ago. A real person who kept duct tape and a hammer in the trunk of his car, waiting for the right moment. A real person who spread legs and spilled blood.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mindy McGinnis is an Edgar Award-winning author and assistant teen librarian who lives in Ohio. She graduated from Otterbein University with a degree in English Literature and Religion, and sees nothing wrong with owning nine cats. Two dogs balance things out nicely.
She is the author of A MADNESS SO DISCREET which won the 2016 Edgar Award for Young Adult Fiction, as well as the post-apocalyptic duo NOT A DROP TO DRINK and IN A HANDFUL OF DUST, the first of which has been optioned for film by Fickle Fish Films.
Her first contemporary, THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES releases in September of 2016, followed by the first in a fantasy duology, GIVEN TO THE SEA, releasing on April 11, 2017.
Mindy runs a blog for aspiring writers at Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, which features interviews with agents, established authors, and debut authors. Learn how they landed their agents, what the submission process is really like, and how it feels when you see your cover for the first time. Mindy does query critiques every Saturday on the Saturday Slash for those who are brave enough to volunteer.
Connect with Mindy