Tuesday, November 1, 2016
59. The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
2016, Katherine Tegen Books
YA CRF (older YA)
Goodreads rating: 4/27 - 1470 ratings
My rating: 4 (As brilliant as it is, somehow I can't quite give it a 5. Not sure why...)
My comments: To be quite truthful, I'm not exactly sure what to think of this book or how to rate it. I knew from the beginning it would not have a "good" ending. It's a book about rape and abuse and discusses sex and sexuality unsparingly. The story is told in three very distinct, reliable voices. It's a heartbreaking book.
These are the words of Emily May, a Goodreads reviewer who I really enjoy (although we don't always agree). This is exactly what I was thinking, so why put it in my own words?
BRUTAL. That's how I would describe this book. It sits there all unassuming with its cute yellow cover and pictures of animals, but underneath it has some serious fangs. Rather like the female of the species, I suppose.
Quick warning: this book may not be suitable to those sensitive to rape and/or animal cruelty. Make no mistake, it's a nasty book. At times it's absolutely disgustingly awful. But it's a very sharp and effective look at sexual assault and rape culture too. And somehow so fucking funny. Well, maybe if you have a sadistic sense of humour, which it turns out I do.
I don't even know how to adequately explain it. The Female of the Species is told from the perspective of three different characters - Alex, whose sister was raped and murdered; Jack, the popular guy who desperately wants to get to know Alex; and Peekay, the preacher's kid whose ex-boyfriend ditched her for the beautiful Branley, and who now works at the animal shelter with Alex.
Goodreads synopsis: 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.