Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: September 16th, 2016
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 over the years, 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 nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.
Okay WARNING! This review will be filled with SPOILERS! Like BIG SPOILERS! Like revealing who LIVES or DIES SPOILERS!! I can't talk about this book without mentioning the ending SO YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!! SPOILERS!!!!!
Yep I am going to start off with that ending. With any other book I would've been screaming NOOOOOO, but I think the ending that McGinnis picked had to happen. There wasn't any other way and I applaud her for making this decision. I am not a fan of unhappy ever afters especially when I adore the main character, but like I said there was no way for Alex to have the happy ending after her actions. She was a phenomenal character and probably one of my favorites of all time, but she had to die. Even though she did bad things for good reasons it still didn't absolve her of her actions and I think Jack knew that. He loved her, but even in his gut he knew what she did wasn't right. I think that might even be why he was drawn to Branley even in the end.
Okay that being aside I really enjoyed this story. McGinnis has this unique way of writing stories that start out super dark and then even out in the middle, but you can still feel that darkness lurking. It isn't sinister it's just darkness that kinda closes in by the end and well it's pretty awesome. The Female of the Species follows this pattern and I could not get enough. It almost felt like there was someone constantly reading over my shoulder, but when I looked it was just a sunny sky overhead until that sun was blocked. Mindy McGinnis is definitely in my top 5 favorite authors and I will read ANYTHING she writes!
I also loved the multiple POV's. I enjoyed being in each characters heads and I thought it was interesting to see how they each saw each other. I do wish Branley would've had her own POV. She was the character to hate, but she was so broken and I think it would've helped me connect with her a bit more if I could have seen inside her head.
Alex where do I even start. She was such a great character and one that I was so intrigued by. I thought the author did a great job at weaving in her backstory and her dad. This gave me the understanding for why she is the way she is and even that little scene with her mom was so eye opening. Alex was broken in so many ways, but I am curious to know if she hadn't died what her fate would have been. Would she have stopped killing? Would she have lived happy ever after with Jack? My initial answer is no because well Jack wasn't the greatest boyfriend and I think her instincts would have gotten the better of her. It would be nice to think that she would've had a HEA, but I just don't think that was in the cards for her dying or not.
The whole romance situation was weird for me. This is why I have to go with 4.5 stars instead of 5. I liked Jack and Alex together, I liked that they were both competing to be valedictorian, and I really liked that they understood each other. What I didn't like was his male mentality. He kept saying he wanted to be better and a good guy and he was to a point, but he could never stop himself from looking at the nude pictures Branley would send him. That was just not okay. Plus in that last scene he almost gave in to Branley because Alex would never have found out. I mean really?? I wanted him to be completely faithful to Alex because that is what she deserved and even though he never acted on his impulses he wasn't 100% in with Alex.
One last thing I liked Peekay. She was a unique character and I enjoyed reading her parts especially with her family. She might have been the preachers kid, but that preacher was the greatest dad ever. He took the time to talk to her and even though I think her parents should have kept a tighter hold on her I liked the fact that the lines of communication were open. Peekay just needed to use them more. It was warming to see parents taking an involvement in a YA book. They weren't perfect because Peekay drank a LOT in this book, but I have to give them credit for at least being aware of their daughter.
All in all this was fantastic! I loved the darkness of the story and I felt so much throughout. This story surprised me in so many ways and I have to be honest I thought Jack was going to be the one to die in the end. With so much emphasis placed on females I thought Branley was going to kill him, but I was wrong and I am sorta glad. I think it would have been cool for her to kill him and then her and Alex have a somewhat understanding. Strange maybe, but kinda cool in my opinion. As the ending stands though I thought it was pretty perfect and I am okay with how it all happened. I am curious to know if Jacks future turned out the way he feared though...