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Review: The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

Title: The Female of the Species
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Year Published: 2016

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 341
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2017 Google Reading map)USA (OH)

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the school library

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): 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 hte 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, 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 side breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

Review: I have heard such good things about this book and I agree with them. It is ... intriguing. Alex is someone we shouldn't like. She is dangerous, violent, and lost. Broken even. But I do like her; more than that, I feel for her. I want someone to take care of her and make it all okay. But that isn't going to happen.

I also like Jack and Peekay, the other narrators. Jack is the guy everyone knows in high school: popular; always dating beautiful girls; athletic; and smart. But there's something about Alex that he is drawn to and he is willing to put aside everything else for her. Peekay needs friends and Alex seems to slide into that "job." It happens slowly and both are glad it's happening even if they aren't sure it's a good fit. 

And the story. Well, there's drinking, dating, and dealing with parents (some who are cool and others who definitely are not). It's typical high school, but it isn't. It's a story where you think you know what's going on. Until you don't. And it goes to some really dark places, but they are also so real it's painful. And good because the author isn't shying away from truth, pain, fear, love,  and friendship.

Challenges for which this counts: 

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