Friday, September 23, 2016

THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES BY MINDY McGINNIS - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with a book you MUST READ, otherwise known as The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis. Thank you to HarperCollins Canada for sending me a copy of this book to read for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.


*my apologies in advance for the shouty caps you are about to see*

OH MY GOSH THIS IS THE BOOK. THE BOOK OF THE MONTH. THE BOOK OF THE YEAR. THE BOOK OF THE LIFETIME. PLEASE, I AM BEGGING YOU, IF YOU ONLY MANAGE TO PICK UP ONE BOOK THIS YEAR, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE LET IT BE THIS ONE. THIS IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT BOOK, EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ IT.

*ahem*

Anyways, so yeah, this book, it's kinda perfect.

Do you ever get that feeling, when you're reading a book that you have to get other people to read it. Not necessarily because it is your favourite, or has a great romance, but because it's just something you want other people to have in their minds, to help them understand, to give them some common sense? I never really had that feeling until this book.

I've read all of McGinnis' previous books, and they were good, but nothing like this one. There is so much to talk about, where do I start?

Ok, the story itself isn't too crazy. At it's core, we are following three teenagers, Alex, Jack and Peekay.

Alex's sister Anna was kidnapped, abused and murdered three years ago. They arrested a suspect, but never had enough evidence to convict him, so he walked free. Alex, however, has a bit of a temper, which she got from her dad before he left, decides to take matters into her own hands. Sure, it's murder, but in that small town, everyone knew he was guilty, and knew he deserved it, so it was never investigated.

Jack is your all around typical smart athlete. He's good enough at sports to land himself a scholarship at the college of his choosing, and smart enough to be valedictorian and not lose his scholarship. However, he hasn't always been a stand up guy. He goes through girls like underwear and on the night everyone was supposed to be looking for Anna, he was well, indisposed. However, that doesn't stop him from being interesting in Alex.

Peekay, not her given name, just a nickname she got from being the preacher's kid, isn't a saint. When she and Alex end up working together at the local animal shelter, they become fast friends, and after Peekay's boyfriend, sorry, ex-boyfriend breaks up with her for Branley Jacobs, a girl who has looks and know how to use them, Alex is by her side, no matter what.

Each of these perspectives are woven together in a easy narration. Sometimes, the perspectives blurred a little bit, it was just a bit hard to differentiate, but things got back on track once you got further into the chapter.

This book dealt a lot with feminism and double standards. Some of the things, I knew about, but others, not so much. It was very eye opening to see the differences between what is acceptable for both genders. There was one particular scene where something a male did was just brushed off as "boys will be boys" but as Alex points out, if a female was doing that, it would be inappropriate and unacceptable. While it brought these issues to light, it wasn't overbearing or heavy handed. There was enough examples to get the point across, but not too many to make it, uncomfortable. Most of these examples happened from Alex's perspective, so you also get her weariness of men, but not so much as to her writing off half the population all together.

Another major topic this book dealt with was sexual assault. At a party, Peekay gets away from the group to refill her drink. She is cornered by a few local drop-outs who are a couple years older. Things get out of hand, and someone slips something in her drink. Alex, from the other side of the room, stops the party and intervenes. Soon everyone is watching. Alex blatantly calls them out on their intentions and gets physical. She saves Peekay, brings her home and takes care of her. Even Branley, the resident mean girl helps out. As terrifying as this situation is, it was brilliantly balanced by the sheer girl power. Later we find out Branley's cousin was a victim of sexual assault at her college, and she would have helped out no matter who was involved. Things could have just as easily gone sideways, very, very fast. I loved how all the girls, and most of the guys rallied together to save Peekay. They could have just as easily gone back to their party and forgotten about it, or maybe they wouldn't have scene it. For me, that was one of the most moving parts of the book. The ability, especially of women, to come together and fight back.

This book was very refreshing, offering a realistic portrayal of relationships, school and society these days. Even the police officer that came in to do a presentation on drugs was realistic. He knew what was going on, and urged those to help report things. He made every single student take out their phone and take a picture of his contact info, knowing full well that half the people who needed it, wouldn't come up to the front afterwards to get it.

This is why, I think, this is the one book people need to read. It is real, it is gritty, it is terrifying. But it also has a first love, tales of heartbreak, and guilt. It's one of those books you can't help but relate to, because you could so easily be in anyone of the character's shoes. It's terrifying to think you could be victimized, or even bullied, but there's also the balance of the good things. Finding someone to love you for who you are, being able to move past, to heal those old wounds.

I'm going to stop now, because honestly, I could probably go on for another couple paragraphs, but if I leave you with anything, it is please read this book. It is something you need to read, no matter your race, sexuality, history, gender, age, just read it. It is such an important story.

Overall, read this book!