The Female of the Species

The Female of the Species

by Mindy McGinnis


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Edgar Award-winning author Mindy McGinnis delivers a riveting contemporary YA novel that examines rape culture through alternating perspectives. 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.

2017 Tayshas List Selection * YALSA Top 10 Best YA Fiction of 2017 * School Libray Journal Best of 2016 * Junior Library Guild Selection * The Globe and Mail Best Books of 2016 * Bustle’s Best Young Adult Books of 2016 * Mashable’s 8 Best YA Books of 2016 * Seventeen's 10 Best YA Books of 2016 * CCBC Choices 2017 * 2018-2019 Louisiana Readers' Choice Award Nominee * 2019 & 2020 Choose to Read Ohio Booklist

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062320902
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/05/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 45,155
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Mindy McGinnis is the author of Not a Drop to Drink and its companion, In a Handful of Dust, as well as This Darkness Mine, The Female of the Species, Given to the Sea, Heroine, and the Edgar Award–winning novel A Madness So Discreet. A graduate of Otterbein University with a BA in English literature and religion, Mindy lives in Ohio. You can visit her online at

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The Female of the Species 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
EllenRozek More than 1 year ago
Wow. I was totally expecting another punch in the feels from Mindy McGinnis. What I wasn't expecting was an insightful, agonizing look at what it takes to dismantle rape culture. After Alex's sister is murdered, Alex hunts down and murders her killer in turn. That's a pretty bleak premise, but it sucked me in from the start. I loved that Alex was the kind of girl who simultaneously refused to fall victim to bystander syndrome, while also acknowledging that it isn't normal or well-adjusted to take action the way she does. The very short scene in which she draws the distinction between herself and a sociopath because she "feels too much" hurt my heart. Alex's volunteer work at the local animal shelter provided an excellent context for how her mind works and how her protective instincts work, although I would've loved to have seen more of her interacting with wounded dogs and stray cats. I also appreciated that McGinnis avoided including an actual rape scene in the story, and that she wrote several different types of girls with different values--from Peekay, the preacher's kid to Branley, who sleeps around--without demonizing any of them. That said, my biggest complaint about THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES is how little Peekay's perspective added to the story as a whole. Her friendship with Alex was one of my favorite things about the book, but I would've been content to learn about her and watch her evolve without being inside her head. Part of me also wishes that Alex had been given the opportunity to rejoin high school society without the encouragement of a boyfriend, or that she'd been a little more hesitant about getting involved with Jack in the first place. Don't get me wrong - I was glad that McGinnis chose to include a male POV in a book about sexual violence, and I was glad to see Jack unpacking some of his own misconceptions about rape and misogyny, but Alex was such a force of nature that I kind of hated to see her softened so much by their romance. These are minor complaints, though, compared to how much this book made me feel and think. Nobody is a villain here EXCEPT the rapists, which was such an important distinction to draw. Because even though the rest of the characters make plenty of bad decisions, they're also the ones who can choose to be better. To speak out when their friends are in danger and call out their peers for normalizing sexual assault. If anything, THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES serves as an important reminder that it isn't rapists who promote rape culture. It's the rest of us. And for that, I'd recommend it to everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I grabbed this just because it was a new book at my library and I was very curious by the cover art. It was nothing like I expected and the name is perfect for the book, I loved it. Just when it seemed like it was calming down in the book some other crazy thing happened.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
That's really all I can say is wow! This book has some tough, and important content in it. At times, it was hard to read, but I could not put it down. P.S. don't let the bright yellow cheery cover fool you. I know it reminds you of summer and but caution police tapes are also colored yellow,
mindofabookdragon More than 1 year ago
I want to preface this review saying that it’s going to talk a little bit about rape and rape culture. If this content is something you’re uncomfortable with please be prepared or don’t read this review. Take care of yourself first and foremost ❤ This was a really really quick read for me. Once I started it I couldn’t stop. It was riveting to listen to, and I love the voices of all the characters. For some reason I had thought it would only be told from Alex’s perspective before jumping in, but I’m glad we got to hear the voices of the two other characters. Here are a few things I said right after finishing: Extremely well written and something I don’t know if I would have ever gotten around to reading if I hadn’t gotten the audiobook from my library. It was really good and something I couldn’t stop listening to. I had thought it was going to be a little more fantastical than it was, but it was raw and real and full of so much emotion. I like it more than I was expecting, and every time that happens for me, it’s a thrill. I love when books surprise me like this. This book deals with deeply flawed characters. They have a lot of different reactions to the rape culture that is fostered in their sheltered community. It affects the three main characters in very different ways, and each time they must face repercussions in the novel I’m interested to see how it will grow them. Alex’s character was the most interesting to follow for me. I liked seeing her come to her own person and embrace what she was inside, all the ugly edges and soft curves that she tried to bury. She brought life into the two other main characters in this book. Jack and Peekay are floating without having any strong convictions. Then Alex comes into their lives and they will never look at the world the same way again. There are a lot of stand out moments in this book to me, and the ending left me shocked. It was one of the things where I thought the author was playing a huge joke on me and was going to pull through for the expected ending. However, I can’t say that I would prefer that ending to the one we got. I feel it’s similar to A Thousand Splendid Suns where it could have only ended this way. The writing was beautiful and elegant. It was simple, but very powerful. I loved every second of it. I highly recommend this book to people looking for something to stir some thoughts up in their brains. Happy reading, Sophie
MomBo1 More than 1 year ago
Brutally straight-forward, this is an important read. Despite--or maybe because of--how uncomfortable it makes us, we need to be talking about rape culture. This book facilitates that conversation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a dark book - trigger warnings peppered throughout - but it is so good. It's unflinching. It shoves the worst parts of humanity in your face and demands a response. This book rips apart rape culture, sexism, the dangers of stereotypes, in a small town with little opportunity for its students to grow in any capacity. Yet they all do grow. There's so much to unpack in this story and I'll be thinking about it for a long time.
Chancie More than 1 year ago
I can't think of a more important book than this one. Beautifully blunt writing, developed wonderful characters, and a story with multiple punches. I love, love, love this novel. Since I finished it last night, I've been thinking about it all day long, and I'm so sad that I'm done with it. You NEED to read this book!
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
I cheered for Alex, I loved her character, she was different and she knew it. She was like her father, a father that she didn’t know. She knew she had control issues, but how she was going to deal with them was another issue for which she didn’t have the answer for. I felt as though Alex was proud that she was able to protect the people that she loved, even though how she accomplished this task was seen as extreme and vicious. She needed an adult, someone to talk to about the issues that were plaguing her mind but with her father gone and her mother being useless, Alex was alone. It was when she was finally bonding with some friends that the problems all began. Everyone needs friends and I loved the Emergency Girlfriend Pact that emerged between the girls. The flow of this novel felt choppy to me as I read it. I understood the story as I read it but it felt clunky and very different from other novels. I had to stop many times and think about what I had just read and how that flowed into the previous section. The book itself was a disappointment to me as I felt I didn’t get as much out of it as I hoped to. I felt I worked a lot at reading it, putting it all together and there should have been more to it. I wanted it to be a five-star novel, I really did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
tpolen More than 1 year ago
I'm not a frequent reader of YA contemporary, but whatever this author writes, I read - her books are just that good. Always. This novel is dark, intense, heart-wrenching, thought-provoking and difficult to read at times. The teenage characters drink, swear and have sex and there are some violent scenes. But this novel sends a powerful message about rape and sexism that needs to be talked about and shared. When Alex decides to take care of things in her own way and turns into a vigilante, it's difficult to condemn her actions. With such horrific stories reported by the media, I think most people can identify with how she feels, but not everyone would follow through on what they'd like to do to the perpetrators. The three different POVs are integral to this story - being in Alex's head and seeing how her mind works and her struggles to act 'normal', learning how Jack deals with his conflicting feelings for her, and hearing Peekay's thoughts about her developing friendship with Alex. The Female of the Species would make an excellent book club selection, but this is a book I'd recommend for the more mature YA crowd. Beautifully written, memorable, jarring, and highly recommended. Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely amazing! It's a good mix of funny and thrilling, there is never a dull moment