A contemporary YA novel that examines rape culture through alternating perspectives.
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.Goodreads Synopsis
The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis is a searing and heart wrenching examination of rape culture. The varying perspectives provide multiple takes on the effects of rape culture on young lives, and each page provides insightful prose. This is an essential read for readers of all ages.
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Mindy McGinnis has recently become an auto-buy author for me. Her work is often dark and enchanting, while providing important social commentary. The Female of the Species is one of her most impactful works, and it is one that has changed me. As a victim of sexual assault myself, this read was a particularly difficult read. But it was cathartic at the same time.
The Female of the Species highlights rape culture in a brutal way, while examining the effects of rape culture and sexual abuse on youth, especially. Even though this novel was fairly short, almost every page provided important commentary. Every character was well developed and being able to view their private lives created important intimacy.
While the story was very dark, it was insightful and provided an important look at the power of feminism and those who identify as female. It highlighted how females are treated in our society, while also zeroing in on the male experience. The varying perspectives created an overarching view of rape culture that was absolutely heartbreaking.
I would have loved for this book to be longer so that we could get to know the characters more, and I was disappointed by the ending. But the bleak ending did contribute to the overall hopeless feeling of the book, and while it left me gutted, it was deeply impactful.
I highly recommend The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis for young adults and adults alike. It is an important examination of the abuse females experience in our society, and it is designed to inspire deep discussions. Just be aware that it may be triggering for readers who have been personally impacted by sexual assault or abuse.
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