Standalone Sunday is a feature created here where each Sunday you feature a standalone book (not part of a series) that you loved or would recommend! Since I wanted to highlight this book but hadn’t yet reviewed it and had too many thoughts for a short post, I thought I’d do them in the same post.
The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
A contemporary YA novel that examines rape culture through alternating perspectives.
Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. Three years ago, when her older sister, Anna, was murdered and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best—the language of violence. While her own crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people. Not with Jack, the star athlete who wants to really know her but still feels guilty over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered. And not with Peekay, the preacher’s kid with a defiant streak who befriends Alex while they volunteer at an animal shelter. Not anyone.
As their senior year unfolds, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting these three teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.
GUYS I have a new favourite. I loved this book and think it is such an important read. I think it should be required reading for everyone.
I loved how this book approached rape culture. It made it so obvious and made the things we do in a society that contribute to rape culture so obvious, and I think a lot of people would benefit from reading this book.
The characters were so good. I loved Alex and her morality. She does horrible things for all the right reasons. She’s such an interesting protagonist and it was really interesting to be in her head. She has such a cool outlook on the world and other women. I LOVED her reaction to other girls. You would expect her to be very ~not like other girls~ but she isn’t!!!!! and it’s so good!!!!! Like she doesn’t slut-shame Branley for sleeping around; rather, Alex thinks Branley is a good person who enjoys having sex (which is true!!!).
I loved Peekay and her relationship with Alex. I loved Branley as a character and thought she was so interesting. I wanted to hug Peekay and Branley so many times, and I just want to talk to them. Jake was probably the weakest character and the character I had the hardest time understanding, but I still enjoyed his POV.
I loved Peekay’s parents too! I loved that they were religious (Peekay = PK = Preacher’s Kid) but were also open-minded and didn’t restrict Peekay or anything. They encouraged her to have a teenage life and experience. And they loved and accepted Sara, Peekay’s best friend who’s a lesbian. I just loved how religion wasn’t portrayed in a negative light.
There isn’t much of a plot in this book. It’s definitely a coming-of-age story for Alex so it’s a little slow, but the characters made it totally enjoyable. There is action at some points, but it’s not action-packed.
I loved the ending. It was so good. I love at the very end where Peekay is talking to that one guy. Basically, the guy is talking about his friend (who I won’t name for spoilers) and how his friend was “just like that.” UM that’s not an excuse for attempting to RAPE someone. This scene totally called out bystanders and guys who just let their friends say things they shouldn’t or do things they shouldn’t and don’t say anything about it. It was SUCH a good scene and such an important scene!!!!!! Everyone teenage and young adult boy should read this book!!!!
All in all, I loved this book and think it is so important. It attacks rape culture and makes the issues prevalent in society glaringly obvious. It does so while having great characters.
If you enjoy feminist books, want to learn more about rape culture, or just want to read a YA book that still has romance BUT also has kick-ass characters and explores an interesting topic, I cannot recommend this one enough.
Thanks for reading! Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?