The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis | Spoiler Free Review

Hey guys! I’m Trina and today I’m going
to be reviewing a book by one of my all-time favorite authors. I’m going to
be reviewing The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis. Y’all know how much I
love Mindy McGinnis’s books and this one was no exception. Now, I did get the
advanced readers copy of this but it was sent to me by one of my friends that
just picked this copy up at BookCon earlier this year. Let me tell you what
this book is about and then I’ll end the video by giving you four reasons I
think you should read it. The Female of the Species is a young
adult contemporary novel set in a small town in Ohio and it examines the
everyday sexism and rape culture that girls have to face in high school. If
you’re unfamiliar with what the term rape culture means, this is a term that
is referring to a culture in which sexual coercion or sexual assault is
kind of encouraged through the media that we see – the representation of sex
and of women. Actions like cat calling or feeling up a woman who’s had too much
to drink are just kind of seen as ok and they go unchecked. It’s a culture in
which, by and large, the victims of rape and sexual assault are the ones that are
blamed for this happening to them. Like how often have you heard, ‘Well that girl
was drinking and wearing a really short skirt so she must have been asking for
it.’ It’s also the idea that boys will be boys and that men are not responsible
for their actions because they don’t have free will and can’t possibly
control themselves! [sarcasm] So it’s the woman’s responsibility, or the victim’s
responsibility, to ward off being raped. Rape is kind of just assumed to be
something that will happen if you dress the wrong way or act the wrong way. Now
back to this book – the way in which it takes on rape culture is by telling
this story by three points of views. Two of these points of views are girls and
the third is a boy named Jack and I want to start with Jack’s point of view because
Jack was the hardest character for me to read. At the start of this book Jack very
much views girls as conquests. He’s a jock and his buddies often partake in
locker room talk, where they talk about the girls they’ve hooked up with. So Jack,
starting out, is our example of the male gaze. He is definitely a great example of how
boys are kind of brought up and expecting what kind of behavior they
should have – like if you’re not always hitting on the girls you’re not a macho man. Reading from
Jack’s point of view at first was very difficult for me because I thought, ‘what
is going on here? I thought this book was going to be going against all these things
that I’m seeing in his point of view.’ If you feel that way too, stick with it because
Jack, after he meets the other two characters who also narrate this book,
his mindset starts to change. Jack’s not a villain of the story but he does
have a big purpose in showing us the male’s side to the sexism that occurs.
The second character that I want to talk about is Peekay. Peekay is the daughter of this
small town’s preacher and she just wants nothing more than to rebel, get out from
under her father’s grasp. She wants to go to parties. She’s a bit too trusting when
it comes to like taking a drink from a stranger, you know, she doesn’t think
anything bad is going to happen to her. Peekay is also an example of how women can
be sexist towards each other. Prior to the start of this novel Peekay’s longtime
boyfriend was stolen by a girl in her school named Branley. Throughout the novel
Peekay very often does slut-shame Branley. She really harshly judges her. Again, by
the end of the book her point of view has drastically changed. She’s kind of our point of view that
shows how even girls can play into sexism and into overall rape culture
based on what we think and say and how we treat other females. And the third
point of view is my favorite one, it is Alex and Alex is the character that you’ve
probably heard about the most if you’ve seen any kind of marketing or synopsis
for this book. Alex is our vengeance character. Before
the book started her younger sister was abducted, raped, and murdered and the man
who did this was put on trial and then set free. They didn’t have enough
evidence to convict him and because the law wouldn’t punish him, she decides to take
things into her own hands and extract her own brand of a vigilante justice. So Alex, at the start of this book you know that Alex is a killer. She kills for revenge. She hates how
sexual predators largely go unpunished. She feels so much heartbreak for what
other girls and women have gone through that she just can’t stand to sit back
and watch it happen. Alex is definitely a morally gray
character or the anti-hero. If you like reading about characters like that, this
is your girl. It’s not that this story is justifying murder but it’s a great
examination of like what happens when our vindictive thoughts turn into
actions. Alex is the character that is basically
like wish fulfillment of what a lot of women wish that they could do or wish
that they could fight back. The most beautiful thing about this story is how
these three characters start to learn and grow from meeting each other. As I
said, talking about Jack and Peekay, initially a lot of their points of views about other
girls in the story can come across as being very problematic. However, the
characters doing these problematic things don’t mean that the book itself
is problematic. It’s bringing up these negative things in order to make a point
about them. A couple of other things I want to point out about this book is
that we do get a lot of observations about what the differences between human
vs animal nature in this book. We are seeing how women can be predators but
also how a lot of time society casts them as prey. And I also want to point out
that there is a lesbian side character in this book. If I’m remembering correctly
she is the only diverse character that’s included in this book but this is a
very small town and that character makes some statements about what it’s like
growing up gay in a small town. However, her role is so small that I
hesitate to call this good or bad representation. Two of the characters work in
an animal clinic. Because they’re working in a clinic with injured animals, if
depictions of animal injury are something that highly upset you this is going to have some unsettling
scenes. If you’ve liked any other Mindy McGinnis books and the topics that she
writes about, her writing style, her character’s, this is definitely one not
to miss. I felt it was incredibly well-written and it tackled a very very
important topic. I want to end this video by recapping four points this book
covers that I think would be reasons why you might want to pick this one up. Reason number one why I think you might
like this one is if you’re looking for a book that takes on sexism and rape
culture. Reason number two I think you might like
it is if you enjoy reading from morally gray characters. Reason number three is if you enjoy
stories that are told from multiple points of view that weave together
really well. And reason four why I think you might like this one is if you’re
looking for a book that focuses much more on friendships that on romance. There’s a small romance here but overall
it’s the friendships, and especially the female friendships,
that really shine in this story. That’s my review for The Female of the Species.
In my opinion it was another hit by Mindy McGinnis. I love seeing her take on a
contemporary issue, something that is so important. Let me know if y’all are looking
forward to reading this one or if you’ve already read it tell me what you thought
about it down below. I would love to discuss it further with you. Thank you so much for watching and I
will see you in the comments. Bye! [music only]

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