B o o k s

The Female of the Species

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The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis, Amanda Dolan, Bittner Bolding, Dan Justis
on September 20th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, High School, Mystery, Romance, Thriller, Tragedy

Reaction Upon Reading: These violent delights have violent ends

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

‘Except humans.” 


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.

“But 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.” 

Overall Thoughts:

This book is all violence and angst and is basically a feminists dream! It beats down the notion of ‘boys will be boys’, deals with loads of moral questions/dilemmas – which leave you in a quite a grey area, it calls out society on its horrific views towards rape, doesn’t wrap everything up in a nice bow and has loads of complex characters and themes. Basically, as far as contemporary fictions go, this book is pushing the boundaries and I love it!

Alex is all kinds of twisted. We meet Alex after the rape and murder of her sister. She has spent the last few years lurking in the shadows and attempting to detach herself from society. She is intense! Alex doesn’t seem to fit the social norms and therefore doesn’t conform to society’s expectations of a teenage girl. She’s kind of awkward, weird and her conversation skills are a little lacklustre. She will beat down anyone who makes a rape joke and she took justice into her own hands by murdering her sister’s killer and getting away with it (Is that twisted or what?!). Just when you think she has no empathy, she blindsides you with the way she cares for puppies and kittens each week in a shelter. Alex doesn’t fit any boxes. The scary thing is, each time she did something horrific I didn’t feel like what she was doing was wrong. I found it sad that she wasn’t just twisted because of her sister’s murder, but that it is something she believes she genetically inherited from her father.

Jack – where do I begin with Jack? He is basically a big dumb idiot, but you like him anyway. He is a stereotypical high school boy that thinks with his hormones and not his brain. His relationship with Alex was a quite slow burn and even though I didn’t approve of every choice and decision he made, he definitely grew up throughout the book. By the end of it, I was rooting for him to make the right choice and have some happiness.

Peekay (Claire) is the Preacher’s Kid. She is ridiculously likeable, real, honest and I just wanted to be her friend. We meet her after a bad breakup when she is really going through a phase of discovering herself. She is the preacher’s kid and yet she is quite fond of drinking and partying. Her parents are pretty cool though and are really supportive of her finding her place in the world…which means trying things out for herself. Peekay worked with Alex at the shelter and was pretty much the whole reason Alex was able to come out of her shell and make friends. Yay Peekay!

Branley really surprised me. I thought she was going to be another vapid mean girl, but her motivations were much more interesting. I love that she was written that way because she feared being thought of as stupid and ultimately tossed away. I did hate a lot of her choices, but she was a real character! Someone we have all met at some stage in our lives.

One issue I have is that the cover is very misleading. It is bright and funky looking, leading me as the reader to believe I am about to read some happy bubblegum pop type contemporary. The book is very dark and I think that the cover should reflect this more.

Basically if you want a book that pushes the boundaries and ultimately leaves you with all the feels, this is it.


  • There are puppies!
  • Complex characters.
  • Challenges societies views on rape and sex.
  • Characters I want to be friends.
  • Characters that are 100% relatable – we all know these people.
  • The writing style was beautiful. Lots of quotable lines.
  • Blood…murder…revenge!
  • It is raw, bold and dark, like really dark.

“Anger makes you tired, but guilt keeps you from falling asleep.” 

What did you think of this book?

Leave a comment below.

Rating Report
Overall: four-stars

About Kassey

27-year-old teacher. Currently living in New Zealand with aspirations to travel the world and photograph it all.

27-year-old teacher. Currently living in New Zealand with aspirations to travel the world and photograph it all.

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