Title: The Female of the Species
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Age in store: Young Adult (recommended for 16+)
Publisher: HarperCollins Canada (September 2016)
Briefly, what it's about: When Alex’s older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free on a technicality, Alex took justice into her own hands. Since then, she has exiled herself to the fringes of high school society -- the perfect vantage point to observe the interactions of her peers, watch their sometimes disturbing behaviours that have become so normalized in today’s world. Over the course of The Female of the Species, Alex slowly establishes an unlikely friendship with Claire (aka Peekay), who drinks, is pro push-up bra, unconsciously plays into the “boys will be boys” attitude, and essentially does everything she can to ditch the expectations and stereotypes of being the “preacher’s kid.” As their girls' friendship develops, Alex catches the eye of Jack, the town’s basketball star, with the looks, talents and popularity to go with it.
Told from the alternating viewpoints of Alex, Peekay and Jack, this novel is a study of today’s society, specifically gender roles, double standards and rape culture.
Lizzie's rave: This is a phenomenal story that punches you in the gut, tears your heart into pieces and leaves you thinking about it long after the last page is finished. I’m not really sure if it is possible to put this intense and thought-provoking novel into words, but I can say that this is one of, if not the best and most memorable books I have read in several years. Everyone needs to read it.
Alex is the most interesting character I have come across in a while. I love how she thinks before she speaks, how she's fiercely loyal to her friend and how she refuses to shame the girl trying to sleep with her boyfriend. She is the perfect anti-hero -- even with her vigilante justice system, it is impossible not to like her. All the characters in this novel are well crafted, each with their own flaws and unique personalities.
Despite the underlying message about the need to speak up, this is not an “issues” book. McGinnis is honest and blunt and does not sugar-coat anything, but she also inserts beautiful sections that are full of joy and hope for the future. -- Reviewed by Elizabeth Ferguson
Rating: 5 / 5 stars