C.G. Drews's Reviews > The Female of the Species

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 5-star, best-of-2016, contemporary, read-2016, young-adult

DO YOU SEE THAT PUDDLE OF PUNCTURED FEELS IN THE CORNER?? THAT'S ME. It's okay. I didn't want HAPPINESS ANYWAY. Omg. To all of you who said: Hey Cait! That's an excellent book! I hope you like it! WELL LET ME SMACK YOU IN THE FACE. HOW DARE YOU NOT WARN ME. OMG.

Also, if you are reading this review and haven't read the book: Hey! This is an excellent book! I hope you like it!

(AKA I hope you suffer like I am suffering right now omgggggg.)

Basically the is one of the best contemporaries I've read in a long time. Mostly because it effortlessly balances (A) excellent moral questions, (B) commentates on how rape-culture and how disgusting our society is with it's apatheticness to it, (C) is completely morally-grey, (D) STABBINESS, and (E) has some of the most complex and amazing characters I've ever read. Like wow wow wow. This book blew me away. And I loved Not a Drop to Drink, but I still didn't expect this much awesome here?! SILLY ME.

(Although what is up with the cover, dude? It is not cool.)

We have to talk about the characters, though, because they're the best part. It's actually narrated by 3 people. Which usually I don't like???? But here I absolutely freaking loved it??? (Seriously if you loved The Serpent King THEN YOU MUST READ THIS IMMEDIATELY.) And as amazing, complex, and interesting as the main characters were -- even the secondary characters were incredible. THAT takes talent. But let's just run through the main ones shall we?
ALEX: Her sister was raped and murdered a few years before the story begins, and she's basically been hermiting ever since. She's a very INTENSE person. Like that's how people always describe her. She looks at you to long, she isn't emotional, she's very factual, and she talks like a book because she reads more than peoples. And she totally 100% murdered her sister's killer. Like Alex is one of my new favourite characters. Because omg. She loved and cared for puppies, she never EVER let anyone get away with a rape joke. She will smack down boys just for slurring another girl. She was the Vigilante Batman of Feminism. AND LIKE VERY MORALLY GREY. Is it ever okay to take justice into your own hands? I just...afjdskald....the way she was written was PERFECT and CAPTIVATING and CHILLING.
PEEKAY: She's the preacher's kid (ergo "PK") and she's suffering from a bad breakup. She's also trying to distance herself from her father's church. By drinking. Mostly. Like, I didn't really understand what Peekay had against her family/religion? It wasn't really explained. Her parents were really darn awesome and loved her and yet....YEAh. I just wish it had explained WHY she was so intensely opposed to being a PK but yet the only name she answered to was Peekay. Okay. BUT DESPITE ALL OF THAT SHE WAS SO AMAZING. I LOVED HER. She was complex and interesting and just afjdksald. She loved animals and she drew Alex out of her shell and she was strong and her character development was A+.
• JACK: Okay, I'm a bit doomed to love characters named Jack...because I LOVE THE NAME JACK. (Shh this is logical.) But like, he was a bit of a completely idiot. As he so nicely put it: he basically drank too much and thought with his dick instead of his brain. Hmm. But he was still so complexly written! AND CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. Also A++. I didn't like everything he did, or what he thought, or his decision making. But he was still an amazingly written character and I think I'm crying a little over his and Alex's relationship and slow-burn romance. <3 Bless this.

Also with the secondary characters...I really like how Branley was written. She's the "plastic beautiful girl", you know? The mean girl. WHICH IS SO EASY TO DO IN A VERY CLICHE WAY BUT NOPE. NOT HERE. Branley uses sex to get what she wants, but she's actually terrified of being stupid and tossed away. She loves her little sister. She has a dog. She's like a person, not just this plastic prom queen, and even though SHE'S ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE AT TIMES, the book said "hey everyone is human. Look. Human. Feelings. Let's see all the sides of the story" and I appreciate that.

Speaking of romance: IT'S BEAUTIFUL. Although it'll also punch you in the gut, so. But I don't really think the book is focused on romance. It does talk a lot, and very openly about sex. Particularly sex culture (is that a thing?? Eesh I don't even know) but it just smacks down the "boys will be boys" mantra. And it discusses alcohol addictions and rape culture. And it's so freaking feministic that my heart is just singing.

• It's set quite a lot in a vet and animal shelter! SO THERE ARE MANY DOGS AND PUPPIES AND KITTENS AND AJFDKSLAFD.
• It actually has a huge cast of characters but I loved it so much.
• It's written so effortlessly beautifully, with poignant sentences and lyrical prose at times that just knocked me flat.
• The story is 100% captivating. Usually I get bored in contemporaries BUT NOT THIS TIME.
• There is blood.
• And murder.
• And situations that will make your brain just start screaming.

• Okay, well...in the finale there was a bit of a surprisingly "coincidental" situation that confused me and I'm still squinting at it.(view spoiler)
• There is so much drinking. Like OMG WHY DON'T YOU PEOPLE SEE WHAT IT'S DOING. They can have endless adults saying "hey drinking + parties in the dark woods = very good chance someone is going to be raped" and the teens all like naaaaaaaaah. *SMACKS THEM UPSIDE THE HEAD* Which I guess is a very realistic teen attitude. So. I just don't understand why people drink so much and destroy themselves, but whatever.
• The ending has not got a lot of closure. Boo.

ALSO DID I MENTION MY FEELS ARE SMASHED INTO A MILLION PIECES??? I HURT I HURT I HURT. This is a very emphatic positive, by the way. And I feel like this book is going to stay with me for a long time. (view spoiler)

ALL IN ALL: I'm only going to say READ THIS BOOK because that's all that needs to be said. Hahah, I mean, I just wrote a massive rambly review. But whatever. That's what you need to take away: READ THIS BOOK. It's poignant, it's beautifully written, the characters are amazing, the writing is INCREDIBLE. It commentates on society's warped standards and it's realistic and brutal and bloody. And there's puppies. There is literally no downside.

** QUOTES **

But boys will be boys, our favourite 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.

"Define success," I say almost to myself.
"I didn't kill anyone today," Alex says.

I've tried to find out, looked up the words and the phrases that seemed as if they should fit. Words like sociopath and psychopath, ones that people like to toss around without knowing what they actually mean. But neither of them fits. They spoke of lack of empathy, disregarding the safety of others -- when I am the opposite.
I feel too much.

Alex doesn't hesitate. The answer is right on her lips, like she's had it prepped in anticipation.
"I read a lot. I don't have a lot of experience in conversation, so my turn of phrase is different from..."
"Pretty much everybody else, yeah," I finish.

My violence is everywhere here.
And I like it.
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Reading Progress

October 14, 2015 – Shelved
October 14, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
November 21, 2016 – Started Reading
November 21, 2016 –
15.0% "Oooh. Murder in chapter one. THIS SEEMS PROMISING."
November 21, 2016 –
22.0% "I'm relatively sure that Alex is a sociopath. JUST SAYIN'."
November 22, 2016 –
66.0% ""Define success," I say almost to myself.\n"I didn't kill anyone today," Alex says.\n\nI REALLY QUITE LOVE THIS BOOKS."
November 22, 2016 – Shelved as: 5-star
November 22, 2016 – Shelved as: best-of-2016
November 22, 2016 – Shelved as: contemporary
November 22, 2016 – Shelved as: read-2016
November 22, 2016 – Shelved as: young-adult
November 22, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-15 of 15 (15 new)

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Erin I'm glad you loved it as much as I did.

Leah Heath How do you get through books so fast? Do you take breaks at all?!

Serena (thebookunicorns) Yess I totally agree with everything you said! And the ending... 2 months later and I still can't deal with it :')

C.G. Drews @Erin: It's sooooo amazing.

@Leah: This one took me 2 days...so I don't think that was fast?


Annie-JoElizabeth I feel like I would have to be so mentally prepared to read this. Like I'm sure its amazing and important, but yeah, I mightn't see the world the same way after I'd finished it.

Allyson I loved this book so much and your review is wonderful! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

C.G. Drews @Annie-JoElizabeth: I'm actually glad I went in unprepared or I probably would've procrastinated reading it. xD

@Allyson: Yessss SO BRILLIANT. I want everyone to read it now. <3

C.G. Drews @Kirsten: Aw, thank you!! It's a really incredible book!!

Ilsen Leon Omg your review summed up everything I was feeling from reading this book which I read like months ago. I just love this book. I did feel differently about the ending from you. I thought it was a nice way to end it. Now reading the review, I do see why it was pretty convenient how they suddenly just showed up XD Just love your detailed reviews!

may ➹ I JUST finished this book and I agree SO MUCH with you. I spoiled the ending for myself ON ACCIDENT but it still shocked me and made me scream in agony. I definitely agree that the ending could've wrapped up better??? BUT GRITTY AND DARK AND FEMINISTIC AND YEEEEEEEEEES. <3

StephaniePM Omg I feel you! I swear I cried with that ending it was BRUTAL I'm still reeling from it!!

message 12: by Bhargavi (new) - added it

Bhargavi Barnabas Your review is the best I’ve ever read!!!!!!!

Katie I LOVED this book so much! One of my top YAs of all time for sure.

message 14: by Sara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sara They drink a lot because it’s a small town and there’s not much else for them to do.

message 15: by C.G. (new) - rated it 5 stars

C.G. Drews @Sara: That makes no sense to me sorry! I have always lived in a small town and managed to amuse myself without poisoning myself also ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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