I picked this book up because of its cover. I bought it because of the blurb. I finished it in the span of twenty-four hours because it was fucking amazing. (Side note: If the word “fucking” in that last sentence offended you, skip the book.)
The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis is told from three characters’ points of view mostly over the course of their senior year of high school. There’s “Peekay” (as in P.K. or Preacher’s Kid) who makes friends with Alex at the town animal shelter. There’s Jack, a jock gunning for Valedictorian against Alex. And there’s Alex.
Three things set Alex apart from everyone else. One, her older sister was kidnapped, raped, and murdered. Two, she has a violent streak. Three, she never assimilated into the rape culture everybody else grew up in and therefore sees exactly how fucked up a lot of things are. She reminded me of Sherlock Holmes (book version) and Dexter. Interesting, but not what society would call “good”. Slightly socially inept, though she’s confident enough not to care. Most of all, she serves out her own form of justice.
Peaky and Jack, though likeable and well-developed, were boring next to Alex. This was definitely Alex’s story, but I did like having Peekay and Jack telling some of it. They were the normal to Alex’s strange. The Watsons to Alex’s Sherlock. The “everybody else” to Alex’s Dexter.
I don’t want to ruin anything, but if you want to know if it’s your type of book, just read the first chapter. The writing was good, and the plot was always interesting with no lulls. But in my opinion, the characters were the best part. They were rounded, interesting, and likeable. They drove the story and made everything more real. All of their choices made sense so that even though there were events that were completely unexpected, they still made sense because of who the characters were.
If I’d finished this eight days before I did, I would’ve said it was the best book I’d read in 2016. But actually I read it in 2017 and I’ll have to wait a year be able to say that and have it actually mean anything.
Instead I’ll just say it was an awesome book and you should read it.
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