“The Female of the Species” Book Review

Gagana Borra, Reporter

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In Mindy McGinnis’s book, “The Female of the Species,” Alex, Peekay and Jack are seniors in high school with different outlooks on life. Jack is the perfect package: good looks, valedictorian-worthy intelligence and a star athlete. He is dead set on getting a full scholarship to college–his only ticket out of the small town he grew up in.

Peekay (given name Claire), is the “Preacher’s Kid” (thus the nickname PK). She is a rebellious daughter that tries to do things her own way in hopes of escaping the stereotype associated with being the preacher’s kid.

Arguably the most devastating, yet fascinating character of all, we have Alex. Alex’s older sister Anna was kidnapped, repeatedly raped and killed her freshmen year of high school. The perpetrator was let out of jail and allowed to live as a free man. Unable to let this injustice go, Alex stalks and kills her sister’s murderer so skillfully that she evades any legal repercussions, and her vengeful exploit has become a legend in their close-knit, economically blighted town.

However, just because Alex successfully escapes the grips of the law doesn’t mean she can escape her own mind. She may be physically strong, but mentally Alex is truly a mess. She constantly has her guard up, and because she has seen the worst of humankind, has now come to expect it from everyone. She struggles with normal interactions and relationships; small talk or common teen habits like texting are alien to her. Taking a human life and witnessing the absolute evil human beings are capable of have damaged Alex in ways even she doesn’t recognize.

So what happens when these three teens, whose only similarity seems to be the town they live in, come together in a series of unexpected events? Well, believe it or not, Alex starts to change. Not necessarily heal, but change. She starts to care again and be cared for. She learns how to navigate first loves, mean girls and best friends. As you follow Alex, Jack and Peekay throughout the book, you appreciate the character development of each. In the end, it hits you how completely different the characters have become.

As she goes through the motions of a “normal” high school experience, Alex starts to see hope. She starts to see a future for herself. She feels that heart inside of her she worked so hard to close up, start to beat again. But, try as she might, the past always catches up. With an earth shattering ending that truly tugs at your heart strings, Mindy McGinnis crafts an unforgettable tale of friendship, love and vengeance that makes you question all you thought you knew.

 

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“The Female of the Species” Book Review