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.
The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication Date: September 5th, 2016
You know those books—the ones you finish, and afterwards you come out of the experience feeling like you are a different person, and you can’t quite remember who exactly you were before?
Some books you read. Some books you enjoy. But some books just swallow you up, heart and soul,
—Joanne Harris once said.
The Female of the Species is that book.
The kind of book that leaves you lying in bed at night, staring at the ceiling blankly, while contemplating your existence and everything else you ever thought you knew.
“Oh, another book that talks about rape”, some people will inevitably think, and scoff, rolling their eyes, their thoughts probably ending somewhere along the lines of “haven’t we had enough of those already?” — the answer is no.
But even so, The Female of the Species would not simply be “just another book that talks about rape”; it does examine rape culture, yes, but it also explores themes such as friendship, and loyalty, it talks about morals, courage, and love, and it shines a light on feminism, and so many other issues that especially young-adult contemporaries should shine a light on, but unfortunately rarely do.
And it does so flawlessly, and boldly.
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.
Do not let yourself be fooled by the tame, almost cute cover—because “cute” is the least likely adjective I would use to describe it; this book is dark, and gritty, and has quite a bit of angst.
But it is also honest, hopeful, and filled with love, and compassion.
I have read my fair share of books dealing with rape, a few of which I already deemed immensely well-written, but this one … I feel like it carved out a hole in my chest, and left behind an emptiness that I still don’t know how to fill, and I don’t know if I will ever stop hurting from it.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it?
Do you have a favorite Mindy McGinnis book?
What are your personal experiences with society’s views on rape culture?