Saturday, 24 December 2016

Review: The Female of the Species

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
Published September 20th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books 

Alex Craft is a high school girl living in a small town. After her beloved older sister Anna is murdered and her killer goes free, Alex's life changes drastically. When I first heard about The Female of the Species I was led to believe it was about a female serial killer, but this is in no way accurate. I was looking forward to reading it, but I was initially put off by the multiple POV, which I'm not fond of normally, as well as some unpleasantness involving animals.

Alex is not someone you want to mess with. She is multifaceted, strong, emotional and fiercely loyal to those she calls friend. There are so many layers to her and the multiple POV helps to convey a more well rounded image of her. Like the Dexter character (by Jeff Lindsay), there is mention of a dark passenger, but that is where the comparison ends. If Alex is a killer, she is more of an avenging angel than a sociopath.

Each character in the book is lovingly created and developed by McGinnis. There is no black and white, no one is truly good or bad. What would appear to be character inconsistencies are seamlessly revealed as another part of their nature. How much do someone's actions define the person they are? There is a difficulty in witnessing the characters’ struggle to overcome the negative aspects of their personalities. Make no mistake, this is not a light read, it is dark and vicious.

I'm so glad I kept with this book, because it was one of the more interesting and character driven YA titles I've read this year.

From the publisher:
Edgar Award-winning author Mindy McGinnis delivers a dark and riveting contemporary YA novel that blends the unflinching honesty of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak with the relentless pacing and alternating perspectives of Gone Girl. 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.