Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Female of the Species” as Want to Read:
The Female of the Species
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Female of the Species

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  33,375 ratings  ·  6,773 reviews
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 tru
Paperback, 341 pages
Published September 20th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Female of the Species, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Tamara Caulfield
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  33,375 ratings  ·  6,773 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Female of the Species
Emily May
This is how I kill someone.
And I don’t feel bad about it.

BRUTAL. That's how I would describe this book. It sits there all unassuming with its cute yellow cover and pictures of animals, but underneath it has some serious fangs. Rather like the female of the species, I suppose.

Quick warning: this book may not be suitable to those sensitive to rape and/or animal cruelty. Make no mistake, it's a nasty book. At times it's absolutely disgustingly awful. But it's a very sharp and effective look at
Emma Giordano
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
4.5 stars! This book was a TRIP!! So though-provoking and refreshing. This is a book that discusses important social issues through the lens of really well-developed characters and a suspenseful story. It taps into the darkness and brutal nature of our humanity in a way that’s jarring, but real. A book I’d highly recommend to anyone!

TW: sexual assault, physical assault,

In the week’s following me finishing the book (mind you, I finished it in two days), I felt like I read it too fast to fully pr
Leigh Bardugo
Aug 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A very difficult read and some of its early chapters left me reeling. I confess I went into this book expecting a feminist, Dexter-esque, wish-fulfillment experience, and I was here for it. Instead, I got a painful, complicated, ultimately redeeming story about the insidiousness of rape culture and what it takes to dismantle it.

Watching flawed characters grapple with learned sexism and internalized misogyny is not always a comfortable thing, and though I was surprised by some of the choices McG
Wendy Darling
"You see it in all animals - the female of the species is more deadly than the male."

4.5 stars Holy shit, this is good. It sounds like it's going to be a revenge thriller, and it is--but it's also a searing takedown of rape culture and a merciless examination of the way violence begets violence. Riveting prose, three clear POVs, and a relentless story that doesn't try to provide answers, but forces you to think about the things we excuse legally and socially. In a year in which we've stood by an
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

Be prepared

I just wasn't going to read this book. I just wasn't. I bought it because I thought it was going to be something I liked. Then I saw some warnings about things in the book and I thought, if I pick up this book I'm going to throw it across the room. I almost did a few times.


I didn't

and I loved it

All of the animal abusers and rapists of any sort should burn. It's just that simple.

and I really don't care if no one feels the same as I do. I just don't care any more.

I loved Alex Craf
congratulations! semifinalist in goodreads' best young adult fiction category 2016!


where to fucking begin?

this is going to be a hugely polarizing book. if you're easily made squeamish by naughty language, depictions of teenagers drinking, doing drugs, having sex, or by violence (animal, people, sexual) or are otherwise a highly sensitive person, this book will probably play too rough for you. but considering how very often some of the events covered in this book make the news, the world p
Okay. Before we get into this, I just want to say that the lens through which I’ll be judging this book feels unfair even to me (and that’s saying something because I rain hell on young adult contemporaries like they’re calling themselves the 21st century Ulysses), but the book brought it on itself!

(Note: At the moment, there are unmarked spoilers in the comments of this review. Please be aware so you don't spoil yourself.)

I went through the entirety of this thing thinking it was just ya averag
Kai Spellmeier
“Physical attractiveness has nothing to do with it. You were alone, isolated, weak. It happened to you, but it could've been anyone. Opportunity is what matters, nothing else.”

I wanted to read the Female of the Species ever since I first saw it on Goodreads, which must've been more than a year ago. As it should happen, I was to read Mindy's newest release This Darkness Mine before I could finally dive into TFOTS. This Darkness Mine; however, prepared me to have no expectations, apart from one: t
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My emotions are all over the place.😢
Whitney Atkinson


Alex was so interesting to read about. Her inner monologue. Her tormented life. I dug it so hard. I loved that this took place in 3 different perspectives because they all added something different to the story that by the end of the book tied together so well. This book is power. I loved it.

If anything, I'm wary about the realisticness of the events surrounding the rapes in this book. Especially in a book about really lewd high schoolers that don't seem to be afraid to harass wom
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to h. by: indah
You can find my full review here!

You know those books—the ones you finish, and afterwards you come out of the experience feeling like you are a different person, and you can’t quite remember who exactly you were before? “Some books you read. Some books you enjoy. But some books just swallow you up, heart and soul,” Joanne Harris once said.

The Female of the Species is that book.

The kind of book that leaves you lying in bed at night, staring at the ceiling blankly, while contemplating your ex
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I wish I could tell you all about this book and how it’s intense and heartbreaking, but I’m still in a daze and my heart isn’t quite ready to process it all.
Nilufer Ozmekik
5 is not enough, it deserves 10 brutal, brilliant, heart wrenching stars!

This book is not an easy read! It tears your heart apart! It punches you several times on the face! It makes you cry aloud ! Your emotions scatter all over the places when you’re reading it!

Raw, realistic, violent, dark but definitely fantastic!
Alex is so far a different girl who only wants to be normal, she doesn’t deserve be acknowledged by her dead sister’s name, she deserves friendship, she deserves love, she deserves j
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
★★ /5
At first this book was very interesting and I was pleasantly surprised by it, but sadly it went downhill for me. This book tackled important themes, but on the other hand, I didn‘t like the plot. For my taste it was too rushed and in a few cases didn‘t make sense. The writing style was okay and because of that it was easy to understand. But sadly as I mentioned before, this book wasn‘t my cup of tea.
chai ♡
I think... I think I'm just gonna go to bed at 3 pm so I don't have to think about this book or life in general ...more
Kayla Dawn
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mindy McGinnis is very talented.

It's so fascinating how she's able to actually have a different writing style for every point of view. You do not have to check who's pov you're currently reading because you'll know just by how they are thinking, speaking and acting.
Most books I read that have more than one pov were not able to do that, especially not as GOOD as this one is doing it!
Everyone thinks if you fix a male dog it will lower his aggression, but most of the biters are female. It’s basic instinct to protect their womb. You see it in all animals - the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

The Female of the Species is a bit harder to review because of how important a book it is. It’s a story exploring rape culture, the effects of sexual assault, over-sexualization of teenagers, gender issues, sexual objectification, and slut-shaming. Set in Ohio with
Berit Talks Books
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
5 brutally brilliant stars🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Wow! This book was brutal, dark, raw, and reel.....

Violence begets violence... Alex has always had a little something... a little spark of anger in her.... and her sister kept it in check.;. until her sister was raped and murdered....

Then she sought vengeance..... she also felt as though she would never be normal...... when she befriended Claire and fell in love with Jack.... she felt as though perhaps she had a chance... a chance to live a normal life.....

Larry H
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have Lauren and Erin to thank for this one!

"This is how I kill someone. I learn his habits, I know his schedule. It is not difficult. His life consists of quick stops to the dollar store for the bare minimum of things required to keep this ragged cycle going, his hat pulled down over his eyes so as not to be recognized. But he is. It's a small town."

Alex Craft's life was turned upside down three years earlier when her older sister Anna was murdered. The killer was exonerated, but it was clear
Epic Reads
One of the best and most important YA books you'll ever read. So so so so dark, but holy crap it is so powerful. It will stay with you LONG after you finish. ...more
Wren (fablesandwren)

*featuring the female of my duo, Marcy Louisa and all her fluff*

This was the February Read for The Cheerful Wednesdays, and might I say that this was a heavy book.

This book is full of all kinds of triggers. There is talk of murder, rape, child pornography, animal cruelty, substance abuse and just about anything you can think of. Some of these are actual topics that should be talked about more in order for people to understand them, and for this I thank the author for not shying away from the to
L A i N E Y
Anger makes you tired, but guilt keeps you from falling asleep.

An enormously ferocious book.
More importantly, a fabulously feminist one.

I mean what do I want in a book?

► I want intriguing characters with interesting lives dealing with complicated issues, there were more than one of those in this.

► I want good writing that’s not slipped into pretentious zone, this one has that in spade.

► I want emotions, I got emotionsss.

► I want chemistry: tensions and big fireworks not just dim sparks I h
Nov 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
WOW!!! Don't let the title fool you. The Female of the Species is dark, brutal, & deadly. Mindy McGinnis weaves a tale of teenage angst, vigilante justice, & the pervasiveness of rape culture. I read this book with a knot the size of a fist in my stomach. I have a feeling I'll be thinking about the book for a long time. I recommend this book to all my fellow females & anyone who knows a female. ...more
Trina (Between Chapters)
This book is an examination of rape culture. What if you knew your sister or your friend had been sexually assaulted? What if there's not enough evidence for the police to do anything? Would you think about taking matters into your own hands to get revenge? That's what this book is. It's the wish fulfillment of avenging sex crimes.

There are 3 points of view in this book:

There's Alex, the girl who takes revenge. Who sees someone get roofied and throws the first punch. She's the anti-hero, the mor
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Nothing I write here will ever do this book justice. Just read it.
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“But boys will be boys, our favorite phrase that excuses so many things, while the only thing we have for the opposite gender is women, said with disdain and punctuated with an eye roll.”

Read that quote again. And after reading it again you don't get tears in your eyes, not from pain but from anger, then you need to read it again.

I went into this book completely blind after having it recommended to me by a Goodreads friend. I didn't know what it was about, I didn't read any reviews and I think t
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star, year-2017
"I am a wolf that my sister kept in a cage, until her hand was removed."

Going into this, I expected something similar to Hard Candy, with a really heavy focus on revenge. Reading the synopsis, I then thought perhaps I'd be subjected to a typical high school coming-of-age tale.

After reading, I discovered that this novel is actually a well illustrated criticism of society's dismissive attitude toward women's issues, rape & rape culture in particular.

I wasn't prepared for such an encompassing stor
Em Lost In Books
Started with a bang but took a down turn by the end. End was flimsy and unconvincing. Nevertheless, the book talks about the serious issue of rape and molestation, and things like should not be ignored.
Elle (ellexamines)
Great. I want to punch a Saint Bernard owner, the most patient people on earth.

Don't be fooled by the opening quote, because this book is an absolutely brutal revenge thriller about rape culture and the ability to forgive yourself and others.

The first thing you should know: this is one of the most character-driven suspense books I've ever read. Alex is a killer, but she's not a robot by any means: she is driven by pathos throughout the book. She even becomes a bit of an anti-hero, w
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Sadie
  • The Nowhere Girls
  • Out of Order (The Survivor's Club, #1)
  • The Girls I've Been
  • Underneath Everything
  • They Never Learn
  • Monday's Not Coming
  • Foul Is Fair
  • Ace of Spades
  • We Are Okay
  • All These Bodies
  • The Project
  • As Good As Dead (A Good Girl's Guide to Murder, #3)
  • Grown
  • Good Girl, Bad Blood (A Good Girl's Guide to Murder, #2)
  • Ghosted in L.A. #4
  • All the Rage
See similar books…
See top shelves…

Mindy McGinnis is an Edgar Award-winning novelist who writes across multiple genres, including post-apocalyptic, historical, thriller, contemporary, mystery, and fantasy.

While her settings may change, you can always count on Mindy’s books to deliver grit, truth, and an unflinching look at humanity and the world around us.

Related Articles

  As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of...
41 likes · 2 comments
“But boys will be boys, our favorite phrase that excuses so many things, while the only thing we have for the opposite gender is women, said with disdain and punctuated with an eye roll.” 521 likes
“You see it in all animals - the female of the species is more deadly than the male.'

'Except humans.”
More quotes…