One Sentence Review: A novel that will undoubtedly leave you with a dropped jaw and endless gasps of shock, Female of the Species is a book that takes on sensitive topics and really causes the reader to reevaluate his/her thoughts regarding these subjects.
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.
Oh goodness, this book. THIS BOOK. Especially the ending. I was so, so shocked. So completely and utterly surprised that my jaw fell open and I just had to pause for a second to think about the fact that what happened HAD ACTUALLY HAPPENED. And that’s all I’m going to say because you should definitely read it and see for yourself what I’m talking about.
There was only one little flaw with this book, and that was the beginning of Jack’s and Alex’s relationship. So they’ve been at the same school their entire lives and yet only now, at this random time, does Jack start noticing Alex? And for no particular reason? And it didn’t sit entirely well with me that Alex, despite being the kick-ass awesome girl that she was, immediately fell in love with the popular jock guy as soon as he gave her attention even though he had a reputation for being a player. I don’t know, I guess I hoped she would be a little more resistant and force Jack to actually prove himself before jumping into the relationship.
Despite these minor flaws, though, I absolutely loved every page of this book. The backstory, Alex’s ridiculously fascinatingly complex personality, every single character. Just... everything. This book was not at all what I was expecting: I came in thinking I would be getting a classic contemporary, and instead was left with a dark, dark book that took a lot of sensitive topics and discussed them head-on.
Overall, Leigh Bardugo (as usual) said it best: “[this book is] a painful, complicated, ultimately redeeming story about the insidiousness of rape culture and what it takes to dismantle it”. This book will shock you and will not leave your thoughts for a long, long time.
Make sure to come back next Wednesday for a new review!
Warning: the sensitive topics this book discusses include rape, sexual abuse, and animal cruelty