Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis opens with this chilling line: “This is how I kill someone.” Alex is a senior in high school on track to be valedictorian. She does her homework, but stays in the background of her small town. Alex is known as the girl whose sister was brutally murdered a few years ago. When she begins her senior year volunteer assignment at the local animal shelter, she begins to form a tentative friendship with Peekay. Peekay’s the preacher’s daughter, but she self-admits she isn’t an angel. Jack is a star athlete hoping the combination of hoops and his grades will get him out of his small town. The stories of these three teens quickly intersects and relationships grow. Even through the development of these relationships, there is always an undercurrent of tension and dark. Alex has secrets, but just how deep do they run?
Female of the Species is told from the perspectives of Alex, Jack, and Peekay. While the story line focuses on these three and their intertwined relationships, there is a much deeper thread with questions about justice, and violence. Alex attempts to find her power and justice in a culture that normalizes violence against women. This book isn’t for every reader, but those who do read it will be left with many more questions than answers about the book, and our society.