The Female of the Species

The Female of the Species

Book - 2016
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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.
Publisher: New York, NY : Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2016]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780062320896
Characteristics: 341 pages ; 22 cm


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May 18, 2019

Wonderfully bone-chilling and thought-provoking, The Female of the Species offers a gritty examination of rape culture. This is not a feel-good story. This is not an uplifting story. This is not even really a hopeful story.

It is powerful, gruesome, bold. The author saw the opportunity to strike at the issues surrounding rape culture--slut shaming, control, victim blaming--and, oh, she STRIKES.

May 18, 2019


Jan 18, 2019

This book wrecked me.

It takes a brutally honest look at rape culture. From the overt violence against women (and the ways society passively allows/encourages it) to the more subtle ones (like all the drawings of dicks graffitied everywhere- which was true during my pre-internet high school days and is certainly true today), rape culture is a background noise overlaying the plot. And while it's easy to say "that shouldn't happen", McGinnis uses her male supporting characters (primarily Jack) to show how it happens so easily, and the importance of everyone being vigilant about it (standing up to that violence, reporting it, and generally not allowing it to happen). She also uses the narrative to explore complicated female relationships, and how each of us handles that pervasive threat against us.

The MC is a killer, but she's coldly pragmatic and practical. Her life has an emotional detachment (and her relationship to her family is...complicated), because she's honest with herself about what she is. No wild vengeance, and no redemption arc- Alex is observant, and has a moral code, and also has no emotional connections. I don't think I've ever read an MC like her, and I was enthralled in her story from the first page.

Beyond making you think, this book makes you feel. Alex's voice is so alien, with Peekay's chapters carrying more of the emotional warmth and vulnerability. Somewhere between the two is Jack's voice. And as the three change, and change each other, there are instances of cruelty (toward animals as well as humans) that remind us that being detached, being stiffly pragmatic, even being a self-aware killer is less destructive than being casually cruel.

And lest you think this book is a triumphant anthem of girl power, it's far more subtle, gut-wrenching, and complex than that.

I highly recommend this for everyone. You need this journey, no matter how aware you are, no matter who you are. It will hurt, but it will be worth it.

samcmar Aug 23, 2018

This is a fantastic thriller that is dark, uncomfortable, and bone-chilling. This book explores rape and rape culture, and this story pulls no punches regarding the topic and the protagonists desire for revenge. Plus, being in the mind of a killer is always a weird feeling, but I love the multi-perspectives in this book and how it all connects to the larger plot. SO GOOD!

Library_Jill Feb 15, 2018

This is a dark exploration of high school relationships, small-town dynamics, and vigilante justice. As my book club noted, there is a sort of universality to this story that makes it feel like it could just as easily have taken place in the eighties or seventies, in a small town absolutely anywhere in this country. Readers sensitive to violence or language may want to approach with caution.

Jan 28, 2018

Incredibly amazing novel that attaches you to everyone you meet. Alex Craft is one of the most brilliant characters I've ever met. The structure, the relationships, the responses she has are so crazy yet realistic at the same time. The friendship that blossoms hit close to home, and made me wish I had friends similar to this. The controversial topic is discussed a lot through out the book so I understand why some people don't like it, but it didn't bother me. This is such an underrated book that everyone needs to read, it changed my life.

JCLMeganB Oct 19, 2017

Female of the Species is a hard-hitting book with engaging characters that examines the insidious reach of rape culture through the microcosm of a small town high school. Well-written and thought-provoking, this is a book that stays with you long after you read the last page.

ArapahoeTiegan Oct 04, 2017

Mindy McGinnis is a genius when it comes to telling a story about teens. All of the dialogue and the inner monologues and the descriptions were spot on. The Female of the Species is an incredibly dark, but beautiful story about navigating the later teen years and really discovering the things that matter in life. It impossible to not love each of the characters because of their flaws - the flaws are what bring them all together and help them teach other what's important in their lives. What a fantastic novel. But don't forget your tissues when you pick up this one.

CMLReads_Kristin Jun 21, 2017

Gritty and Realistic. An excellent illustration of the toxicity of rape culture.

ArapahoeStaff1 Feb 16, 2017

This bittersweet mystery/realistic fiction was completely mind-blowing! Alex Craft has gone through the extremes of every stage of grief, but she is working towards getting past what happened to her sister--trying to fit in and find love, but she's harboring a huge, deadly secret. As I was reading, I was skeptical of how the author could actually finish the story so that it was fair and made sense. McGinnis accomplished this and more. The ending is exactly how the story had to end--it was tragic, poetic, and beautiful. This one is a must-read!

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Add Notices
May 18, 2019

Violence: Human and animal gore is described with picturesque detail.

May 18, 2019

Sexual Content: Sexual assault is described and discussed. Consensual sex is also described and discussed.


Add Age Suitability
May 28, 2017

aformerhiro thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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