Monday, November 28, 2016

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

Title: The Female of the Species
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller, Contemporary
Source: Katherine Tegen via Edelweiss

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.
Review by Nara

The Female of the Species was way darker than I thought it would be. From the first page, we're dumped into a story where one of the point of view protagonists is a psychopathic murderer, and woah I was certainly not expecting that. The book also touches on a lot of quite serious issues including sexual assault, sexism and animal cruelty. Here I was looking at that cover and thinking this would be a contemporary coming of age/romance. Maybe I should actually start reading blurbs lol.

Probably the major criticism I would have for the novel is that for a lot of the book, it did seem like there wasn't much direction to the story. I suppose I was relatively content watching the growing romance between Alex and Jack and the friendship between Alex and Peekay, but there was no clear idea as to where things were going to go. And really it wasn't even until about 90-95% of the book was over that you finally get a glimpse of what the endgame might be. And a dark endgame that ended up being, rather fitting with the overall tone of the novel.

Alex was an interesting character, because she's obviously a psychopath with her multiple murders and absolutely no remorse. It was hard to dislike her though, because you could see her motivations and then you saw how she was with Jack and Peekay and could empathise with her. If you think about if she was real though, I would think that most people would see her as a cold blooded killer and want her jailed. Seeing things from her point of view and being able to get inside her head was both fascinating and uncomfortable, and I think one of the main drawpoints of the book.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. It's quite different to most mystery/thrillers, mostly because of the character of Alex. Give it a read if you like novels with a darker tone.

Really liked it
Overall: 7/10
Plot: 4/5
Romance: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 3/5