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The Female of the Species

by McGinnis, Mindy

Book list *Starred Review* What would you do if your sister were raped and murdered, but the killer went free? Alex delivers her own brand of swift, ferocious justice for her sister Anna, and then hides in plain sight from the close-knit, rural Ohio town where everyone thinks they know everything. The community is surrounded by woods that serve as a great place to party or, in her case, run from her mother, her memories, and the fellow classmates she can't trust herself to be around. While volunteering at the local animal shelter, she meets Claire, known as Peekay (preacher's kid), who becomes her first friend, and as a result, Alex begins to participate in senior-year activities. Chapters shift between these characters and the local Casanova, Jack, creating three distinct perspectives as the story unfolds. Alex may not be polite or even law-abiding, but she is truthful and loyal; she won't settle for an unwelcome advance toward her or her friends, and she protects those she loves with an unwavering vigilante fervor, matching violence with violence. Whether a catcall, an unwelcome touch, or more, sexual aggression towards females happens daily; McGinnis explores how one teen uses violence for justice in this gripping story that should be read and discussed by teens, as well as those who work with them.--Ginman, Karen Copyright 2016 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 10 Up-After her sister was brutally murdered, Alex Craft sought revenge when her killer walked free. Alex cuts herself off from everyone in her small backwoods town, until Peekay, the shy preacher's kid, and Jack Fisher, the most popular guy in school, force their way into her life as friends, with unintended consequences for all of them. An unsettling and stark exploration of small-town life and the secrets that we all keep. Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-McGinnis presents readers with a darkly captivating look at the lives of small-town teens seeking escape through drinking, drugs, and sex. Alex Craft prefers to be untouchable, thinking of herself as a caged and dangerous wolf who should not be allowed around others for the sake of their own safety. Following the grisly rape and murder of her beloved older sister, however, her cage is unlocked and she is set loose on the students, befriending a few but scaring many others in her quest for justice. Is Alex a danger to their ideals and benefits, or a savior from the pervasive evil leering through unlocked doors at night? This is an astoundingly dark but beautifully written tragedy, brimming with sexual assault, violent murders, and accounts of animal abuse that will be difficult for most individuals, but also tempered with glimpses of genuine human emotion and extremely touching displays of kindness that cross social barriers and species. Sexual abuse and assault are treated with sensitivity here but also portrayed with the necessary weight and power, and the dangerous repercussions of poor self-esteem, limiting social expectations, and secret-keeping are discussed openly and frankly. VERDICT Highly recommended for collections serving teenagers, this book will likely be especially well received by those who enjoyed any of Gillian Flynn's novels.-Emily Grace Le May, Providence Community Library, RI Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Three high school seniors come together in McGinnis's harrowing rumination on and the power of friendship in a small town. Three years ago, Alex Craft's older sister, Anna, was raped and murdered, but there wasn't enough evidence to convict the killer. Someone took matters into his or her own hands and killed the perpetrator, and McGinnis (A Madness So Discreet) doesn't make it hard to guess who. Once a girl on the periphery, Alex attracts the attention of jock Jack Fisher, who's more than just a guy who can put a ball through a net. Despite differing personalities, Alex and Peekay-shorthand for preacher's kid, though her real name is Claire-bond while volunteering at the local animal shelter, with Peekay in awe of Alex's stoicism. McGinnis gracefully avoids the pitfalls of creating a teenage vigilante, instead maintaining a sense of piercing realism. Alex is a pained girl in dangerous free fall, whose fierce independence is challenged by newfound friendships, even love, though neither may be enough to stave off the inevitable. Ages 14-up. Agent: Adriann Ranta, Foundry Literary + Media. (Sept.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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