Hey, guys! I am super excited to talk about The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis. This is a contemporary novel with a focus on rape culture, and I actually enjoyed this much more than I originally thought I was going to. I listened to the audiobook, which I definitely recommend because we follow three unique perspectives in the story with three different narrators, and it just really enhanced the reading experience for me. But let’s just go ahead and jump into the review!
“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. ”
I honestly was not expecting much from this book going into it. I have heard pretty mixed reviews, so I was apprehensive, and I honestly didn’t think I would ever read this book. But it was available on Overdrive, so I went ahead and checked it out, and I flew through it. I didn’t know anything going into it, but it wasn’t what I expected at all.
This book really was critiquing rape culture, which I actually appreciated a lot. It was really talking about sexual assault and rape and the way we perceive those topics. There was a scene in the book that was unlike any scene I have ever read in a book with a focus on rape and sexual assault (huge trigger warning!) It escalated to a level I wasn’t expecting and something that never happens happened.
Alex was an extremely morally gray character. She was willing to do anything for those she cared about, go to any length to protect them, but really she was all about vengeance. She couldn’t calm what she deemed the “wolf” inside of her. She had no control over her feelings and actions, and that led to her making some questionable decisions. It was interesting being inside her head because she is not your typical protagonist. She is not the hero and she is not the villain. She is not wholly one thing over another. She is a very complex character, and she goes through a lot of shit in her life, so its no wonder she came out like this.
To be honest, I didn’t hate PK’s character, but I didn’t particularly care about her either. Weirdly enough, this was how I felt about Jack, our main love interest, as well. Their characters just were not as interesting as Alex’s, which is super unfortunate, but I do think their POVs were necessary to get a full scope of the plot and to get an outside look at Alex’s character and see what kind of front she was able to put up to disguise the demons living inside of her (figuratively, not literally).
One character I actually did grow to understand, and I never hated her was Branley. Even though I was following PK’s POV, I never hated her. I honestly was irritated with the way that PK was viewing her and treating her. Was Branley a good person? Honestly, no. But I felt the way PK judged her for sleeping around and wearing a ton of makeup was wrong. Like, let Branley do whatever the heck the girl wants. She can do whatever the hell she wants with her body because IT’S HER FREAKING BODY. That was another critique, I think, on rape culture in the book as well.
BUT LIKE WHAT WAS THAT ENDING. It was just suddenly over, and I was like, “What? That’s it?” I think it was rushed a little bit and super abrupt. It caught me completely off-guard, and I think it could have been done a little bit better. It was a little bit too messy for me, and I think it should have been cleaned up a little bit more. The ending is what made me knock off a half a star because I just was not a huge fan of it.
This was very much a character-driven story, but I did think the plot was incredibly interesting and unlike anything I’ve ever read, so I really enjoyed it and found it incredibly intriguing. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and I am looking forward to reading more from Mindy McGinnis in the future!
And there you have it! That was my review of The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis. What is your current favorite contemporary? Comment down below! I would love to know. And that is going to be it for this review today! Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!