The Female of the Species // A Strong Feminist Read Which Is Totally Not What I was Expecting

04 September 2017

5. The Female of the Species
Published: 20th September 2016
Source: Bookswap
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Mystery
My Rating:
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.

I had been wanting to read this book for a while. I’d seen reviews on various blogs but it never seemed to catch the wider blogging world and I don’t know why. Sure, it’s a dark YA read, you open with the MC having killed a man (this isn’t a spoiler, just read the blurb). It’s a dark book shining a light on the fact there are bad things in the world and bad people and sometimes good people do bad things for the right reasons. It doesn’t mean it’s right or good. This book also shows that small towns with no prospects leads bored people to do bad things. It’s also an insanely good feminist read. Basically, this book does a lot of things within it’s pages and it packs a powerful punch.

I don’t think this is an easy book to review. Like, I want to talk about everything which happened but I want to reveal no spoilers because the best part of this book, for me, was the fact I went in mostly blind and was all kinds of surprised by how the book progressed.

Alex was this amazing character who is very morally grey. All of the characters are a bit morally grey for different reasons. You have someone who has done something so very wrong for good reasons and you question if you should judge them for it when they are so good in so many other ways. Then you have characters who are good people raised by good parents and yet they go out and they get drunk and do stupid things. And then there are the people who do rubbish things and seem like bad people but ask someone close to them and they hung the moon. It’s insane, part of this book is all about the fact that you can’t judge someone from jut one angle. People are multi-faceted and complex and that is never more obvious than with the characters of this book.

It's a special book which both encapsulates the despair felt in a small town and the rage felt in youth. This is a book that is a difficult to review. I mean, how do you find words to describe a book where a girl murders a man within the first few pages? That really sets the scene for the book yet doesn't do it justice. This book is filled with things that make no sense and is hard to describe but it was brilliant.

I am a little ball of rage like 50% of the time. 90% if I have to go to crowded public places. I think I really respected this book for demonstrating the sheer level of rage felt at things which can some everyday. The unacceptable things which happen in life we are unable to prevent from happening. I've never had an author so accurately describe how sometimes you visualise bludgeoning and tearing apart someone for a minor offense and making it seem normal. I loved that it was female rage as well as so many everyday occurrences can you fill you with this need to lash out and just ugh. I want to describe everything in this book and how it made me feel but I can't.

I love how morally grey the characters were, especially Alex. And I loved that it wasn't scared to address drug use, alcohol use, and how bored angry people who use them are likely to spiral into the worst version of themselves. And most importantly it addressed that rape culture is everywhere that rapes are usually by those we know that rape is far more common than it ever should be and no where near enough rapes are reported because we know them. It just did everything right and I loved it for that.

It's safe to say this book angered me and made me smile. There was a dark humour to it I adored and I am so glad I read this. I loved all of it. Every page and it had me tearing up at the end and I just adored it. I can only say to you to read it because none of my review makes sense unless you have. This is hardly  even a review, it’s just a fantastic reads and I wanted you all to know that too.

What’s the last book you loved and couldn’t put into words why? Have you read this? What did you think?
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