on Septmeber 20, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Narrator: Amanda Dolan, Dan Bittner, Justis Bolding
Length: 7 hrs and 7 mins
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.
Wow. I had heard a few rumblings about The Female of the Species being dark and hard to read at times, but I still was not expecting that. This book was pretty incredible and oh so unique.
The Female of the Species was very captivating from the start. I loved everything that this book stood for. It’s full of feminism and honest commentary on rape culture. This book has an agenda, but not in an annoying, preachy way. The story is far too engaging to ever be annoying.
The book is told from 3 different POVs. The characters all had very clear voices. Alex is clearly…disturbed from the beginning. Her issues aren’t of the cute, shallow variety that you sometimes see in YA . No, she’s pretty messed up in a truly scary way. But it’s easy to understand her plight, even if it makes you uncomfortable at times. She’s totally unhinged, but she’s also a wonderful friend and cares for the shelter animals with such love. Those things make her likeable. Sometimes I felt very conflicted about what I was reading. It was almost easy to root for Alex at times. Other times she crossed some invisible line I have and made me uncomfortable. It made for a really unique reading experience.
Peekay and Jack were also wonderful characters. Their relationships with Alex were the bright spot in an otherwise dark book. I enjoyed watching Alex come out of her shell with each of them.
The Female of the Species is a violent book. I’m not going to tiptoe around that. This probably isn’t a book for everyone, but it’s an important book with a poignant message. It’s one of those books that stays with you. I know that I will be thinking about it for a long time to come. So, I recommend it to contemporary lovers that like books with a hard edge.