The Female of the Species

The Female of the Species

The Female of the Species

by Mindy McGinnis

Genre: YA Contemporary
Published: September 20th 2016
by Katherine Teagen Books




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.


“You see it in all animals – the female of the species is more deadly than the male.”

“Except humans.”

I really enjoyed Mindy McGinnis’ debut Not a Drop to Drink and was ecstatic to hear she was going to write a new contemporary novel. The Female of the Species is an extremely thought-provoking book that urges us to rethink about the way we view the world.

When Alex Craft’s sister was found brutally murdered three years ago, she was drawn into a dark circle of violence and revenge until she’s virtually unrecognizable. When her violence unleashes at a high school party, Alex must learn to control her rage before it destroys everyone.

Alex is such a complex and dark character. She is vicious and layered, and her narration is fascinating and unsettling to read. My only problem with Alex’s characterization is that it feels extremely abrupt and there isn’t quite enough backstory to it.

When people turn dark and vicious, there’s typically a sequence of events that happens to them that explains why they are the way they are. (Think of Kaz’s backstory from Six of Crows). However, with Alex, she simply becomes dark without any natural progression. Sure, her sister dying is heartbreaking, but there needed to be more steps between that initial heartbreak and being completely violent and dark. Maybe if we saw some backstory to Alex’s relationship with her sister her shift in personality would have been more realistic, but there isn’t any.

Ultimately, The Female of the Species is a dark and intricate novel that addresses some difficult topics honestly and without sugar-coating. It’s a difficult story to read, but, at the same time, it’s one you won’t be able to stop thinking about.

You can love someone down to their core and they can love you right back just as hard, and if you traded diaries you’d learn things you never suspected. There’s a part of everyone deep down inside of them not meant for you.


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