The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

Posted January 24, 2020 by Amber in Reviews / 0 Comments

The Female of the Species

The Female of the Species

by Mindy McGinnis

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books on September 20, 2016
Genre: Contemporary, Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Target Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: ★★★★

Check out this book on Goodreads

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.


Well I have a few complicated feelings about this book?  Mostly because it deals with some really heavy topics – rape and murder. Normally in reviewing books I’ll talk about the characters and what I liked disliked but in The Female of the Species… one of your three perspectives is that of a killer.

So how to talk about Alex? Alex was… interesting.  She was incredibly well-written, no doubt about that.  There were points in the book where you were able to forget about what she had done… and then Mindy McGinnis would transition to a scene where you couldn’t forget.  Some scenes included gory details.  Those scenes made me deeply uncomfortable, not in least because I found myself remembering just a few pages before how I had been starting to like her. Lots of feelings about that.  But I’ve got to respect Mindy McGinnis for the skill of her writing – these characters are likable despite their various unforgivable flaws.

The topics here are uncomfortable, but also important.  I’m going to skirt around this a little bit, because I don’t want to spoil anything for people interested in this novel.  While the topics are really heavy in the book – including conversation about how to approach them and how many people don’t and why – I never really felt like it was a message being shoved down my throat.  The story flowed very naturally and it was a little twisted and uncomfortable, but it didn’t feel like a book that was here to preach to the reader.  It felt like a book that was here to tell a story… and that story happened to be the type we don’t normally like to talk about.  And the type of story maybe we should talk about a little bit more.

It raises the question too – where is the line?  Which crime is worse? The Female of the Species is a book that makes you think.

The ending, too, was good.  There were messages woven in that too, and empowerment, even if it was not the way we’re used to seeing it.  Because the little things matter, too.

Altogether, the writing is really good.  Early in, I thought this novel was going to be forgettable.  I have fairly mixed luck with YA thrillers, where either they are very predictable or they are just okay and I forget I read them.  This book?  I don’t think I’m going to forget about this book any time soon.  It was handled in just the right way that it keeps popping back into my head.  It’s not an enjoyable book, but The Female of the Species is an intriguing read that made me consider the types of things I don’t like to think about.  It’s not a story for the lighthearted, but it is one worth reading and a reminder that not all people are who you think they are.  That horrible things happen in this world.

I recommend this one, but tread with caution, because it’s heavy.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★
Plot: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★
Narrator: ★★★★
Personal Enjoyment: ★★★ 1/2


Have you ever considered taking justice into your own hands?  To be perfectly honest, I can’t say I would have handled things any differently than PK/Claire…but I know I would not have handled them like Alex.  What about you?  Let me know in the comments!

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