I feel like I say things like this a lot but: This book is one of the most powerful books that I have read this year. The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis is told from the point of view from three teens living in a small rural town and uncovers many serious, intense, and disturbing issues that plague our society.
“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.”
Alex’s point of view is a departure from the normal “YA” voice that we hear from. She is obviously damaged from her sister’s sexual assault and murder and her matter-of-fact view of the world borderlines on sociopathic. Jack and Peekay help to humanize her and help her relate to the small-town world that she is stuck in. Her moral code is slightly disturbing but also righteous in a society where sexual abuse, assault, and gender bias are rampant.
The writing is frank and there are some troubling descriptions of touchy topics that we would all rather look away from, but I will say this: every teen should read this book.