#tbt: The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

Welcome back! I forgot to schedule a post for this last week {I’m blaming Indiana for as long as I can}, but I’m back this week with a book that’s stuck in my head since February, when I read it.

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Title: The Female of the Species {352 pgs.}

Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller

Publication Date: September 20, 2016

Summary:

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 the 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 over the years, 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 nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

This had been one of my most anticipated reads of last year. I was frothing at the mouth to get it, and when I did, I devoured it. It was so beautifully written and the characters were so absolutely real that I wanted to live in their world.

How can I explain how much I love Alex? I’ve always appreciated a good sociopath {yes, I’m a weirdo} and Alex is walking the line. She understands the difference between right and wrong, but she ignores that voice inside her that tells her what she’s doing is wrong, because she knows that what the other person is doing is worse than what she’s going to do. She’s like a female Dexter Morgan, except she doesn’t have a kill room. I mean, she is only in high school. Alex is a true outsider, the younger sister of a girl who was murdered, but she isn’t a weirdo. She’s quiet and unassuming, but when people look at her, they only see her dead sister. She uses that to hide behind, so people will only be looking at that while she does what she needs to to get through this world.

Alex really only has two friends: Peekay, the preacher’s daughter, and Sara, Peekay’s best friend. They sniff around Alex, their interest overpowering the gossip surrounding her. Peekay knows what it’s like to be talked about – her name is the longer version of P.K., or Preacher’s Kid – and she wants Alex to know that she understands, even if she really doesn’t. Then there’s Jack, the cool boy that would be the star of any girl’s dream. But he only wants to know Alex, and when he does, he falls hard for her. It starts off as him wanting to assuage his guilt over his role in Alex’s sister’s death, but then he finds that he only wants to be around Alex for the rest of his life.

If Alex’s sister hadn’t been murdered, this would be the start of a beautiful YA love story. But Anna was murdered, and Alex is greatly affected, and so he goes down a dark path, trying to shake off her friends so no one will know what she does. But I think we all understand how hard it is to shake off high school friends.

For years, I’ve had this idea for a book about this exact kind of girl {it’s a different kind of story, though, trust me}. Mindy McGinnis writes Alex so wonderfully, a dark, confident girl who pushes aside the confusion that’s tangled inside of her. She knows what she’s doing and why, even if she doesn’t understand how she can do it. It’s just honestly so perfect and special. I’ve never read a girl like Alex, and even though her actions were questionable {that may sound weird, but read the book and tell me I’m wrong}, she was a strange kind of hero worth rooting for.

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