The Female of the Species

The Female of the Species

4.17 (33,260 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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Description

Edgar Award-winning author Mindy McGinnis delivers a riveting contemporary YA novel that examines rape culture through alternating perspectives. A stunning, unforgettable page-turner.

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.

2017 Tayshas List Selection * YALSA Top 10 Best YA Fiction of 2017 * School Libray Journal Best of 2016 * Junior Library Guild Selection * The Globe and Mail Best Books of 2016 * Bustle's Best Young Adult Books of 2016 * Mashable's 8 Best YA Books of 2016 * Seventeen's 10 Best YA Books of 2016 * CCBC Choices 2017 * 2018-2019 Louisiana Readers' Choice Award Nominee * 2019 & 2020 Choose to Read Ohio Booklist
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 142 x 213 x 33mm | 431g
  • English
  • 0062320890
  • 9780062320896
  • 58,779

Back cover copy

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, 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 side breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever. Edgar Award--winning author Mindy McGinnis artfully crafts three alternating perspectives into a dark and riveting exploration of what it means to be the female of the species.
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Review quote

★ "Each word has been specifically chosen, each character superbly and humanly sculpted, the plot line masterfully completed. To say more would be to dilute the experience. McGinnis plays with the readers and they are at her mercy." -- Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) (starred review)

★ "Whether a catcall, an unwelcome touch, or more, sexual aggression towards females happens daily; McGinnis explores how one teen uses violence for justice in this gripping story that should be read and discussed by teens, as well as those who work with them." -- Booklist (starred review)

★ "McGinnis gracefully avoids the pitfalls of creating a teenage vigilante, instead maintaining a sense of piercing realism. Alex is a pained girl in dangerous free fall, whose fierce independence is challenged by newfound friendships, even love, though neither may be enough to stave off the inevitable." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

★ "All three teens are haunted by the memory of Anna's murder, and Alex's inclination to both considering and exacting revenge with cruel efficiency leads them all inexorably to an explosive, terrible finale. An unflinching look at rape culture and its repercussions." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

★ "An astoundingly dark but beautifully written tragedy, brimming with sexual assault, violent murders, and accounts of animal abuse...but also tempered with glimpses of genuine human emotion and extremely touching displays of kindness that cross social barriers and species. Highly recommended for collections serving teenagers." -- School Library Journal (starred review)

"It's raw. Not 'raw for YA.' Real-deal raw. And violent. And unforgettable. McGinnis explores both and she goes there in a way no one really has before in YA. This is Kill Bill in high school, but with more nuance, bolder choices and a true female perspective." -- The Globe and Mail

"Your heart may still be pounding after you've finished this book. It is uncannily well timed to our current political situation...McGinnis, who dedicates her book to 'the victims, ' examines this dichotomy of hope and violence, love and hate, with dexterity and grace." -- The New York Times Book Review

"The ending of this dark novel leaves much to be unpacked, and it would certainly spark heated discussion in a book club or classroom." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Holy crap is it good." -- Bustle

McGinnis's novel about a teenage girl who avenges her sister's rape and murder and becomes a self-created human weapon is a gut punch that will leave you reassessing everything you thought you knew about the lives of young women." -- NY Mag

A Must-Read YA Book of Fall 2016 -- Brightly
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Rating details

33,260 ratings
4.17 out of 5 stars
5 43% (14,380)
4 37% (12,376)
3 14% (4,731)
2 4% (1,266)
1 2% (507)
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