The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
Published September 20, 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
A contemporary YA novel that examines rape culture through alternating perspectives.
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. [summary from Goodreads]
Alex was a hardcore warrior for justice against rape victims and it was awesome. She was super intense and not the typical ‘likeable’ character, but she was also very real. The story is a very dark look at the long-lasting effects of trauma, rape culture, and sexual assault. Each of the 3 POVs we got to read featured well-developed characters who each added something different to the story.
This book is extremely dark, and that is definitely something to take into consideration before reading. I think you definitely need to be in the right head-space going into it. It’s a great look at rape culture and toxic masculinity and it made me think a lot about the way those things are portrayed in our culture. I appreciated the book for its depth and its character development, and I’m definitely glad I read it.
The one thing I thought was missing: The only thing I would have liked to see in this book that wasn’t there would have been a POV from Branley. I think that would have helped her to become more of a full character rather than being dismissed as the slutty girl, which can certainly be a harmful trope.
Have you read The Female of the Species yet? What about any of the author’s other novels? What were your thoughts?