Published by Katherine Tegen (9.20.2016)
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: eARC, 352 pages
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.
I am vengeance.
I loved Not a Drop to Drink, so I was expecting to like this book even though it’s outside of my genre comfort zone. But I wasn’t expecting for it to blow me away!
This book is so raw and realistic. There’s something about Mindy’s writing that perfectly captures the characters and coveys the story. But more than that, this book is pretty heavy. It’s very honest about what it’s like to be a teenager in a way that most books are not (especially in YA because of censorship). There’s sex, underage drinking, and violence. There’s also rape. It may not be appropriate for a younger audience, but I think it’s an important book for older teens because it covers a lot about gender roles and stereotypes and how those can affect us (especially women). (The cover is pretty accurate, actually!)
I loved Alex. So, so much. She didn’t care what people thought about her and wasn’t afraid to stand up for herself and her friends. (Also it was kind of hilarious that she punched a dude in the crotch) She was my hero! She was kind of this kickass public defender, even though she didn’t see herself that way. She had done bad things (although, they were warranted) but she wasn’t a bad person. She’s the most interesting character I’ve read in a long time!
The way that Jack saw Alex was totally adorable. I loved how Jack and Peekay brought Alex out of her shell! She thought she was untouchable, broken; but they touched her heart and made her whole again. (I SWEAR I’M NOT TRYING TO SOUND CHEESY OKAY.)
The characters are all so complex! Even Branley. It’s hard not to hate her; but at the same time, she had her own problems too. It was a reminder that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
THAT ENDING. I was reduced to a sobbing, snotting mess by the time this book was over! I was not expecting that at all. View Spoiler »And FUCK, it hurt. I didn’t realize how much I’d come to love Alex, how much I was rooting for her to be happy. (God, I’m tearing up just talking about it!) She was my favorite character, and the fact that she died defending her friends KILLS ME. It’s so perfectly Alex that it just breaks my heart. But at the same time, I love when authors don’t spare characters because it’s realistic. « Hide Spoiler
I think The Female of the Species is the most honest and real book I’ve ever read (or at least read in a long long time). This book will get to you. The characters will get under your skin and crawl into your head. Trust me, you want to pre-order this book!
Boys will be boys, our favorite phrase that excuses so many things, while the only thing we have for the opposite gender is women, said with disdain and punctuated with an eye roll.
“If you pretend long enough that it doesn’t bother you, pretty soon it actually doesn’t.”
“Branley’s run-of-the-mill. She’s a golden retriever, you got me? Alex is an Irish wolfhound.”
Writing style: 5/5
Overall rating: 4.5/5