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The female of the species
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Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn't feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence. - (Baker & Taylor)

Living a life in the shadows after violently retaliating against the killer who walked free after murdering her sister, Alex unexpectedly befriends guilt-ridden athlete Jack and defiant preacher's kid Peekay, who must navigate Alex's darker nature throughout their senior year. Simultaneous eBook. 60,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

Three years after her sister's murderer walked free and Alex Craft skillfully achieves her vengeance without detection, she begins to form a friendship with the preacher's daughter and draws the attention of popular Jack Fisher, until the dark side of Alex finds its way out. - (Baker & Taylor)

Edgar Award-winning author Mindy McGinnis delivers a riveting contemporary YA novel that examines rape culture through alternating perspectives. A stunning, unforgettable page-turner.

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.

2017 Tayshas List Selection * YALSA Top 10 Best YA Fiction of 2017 * School Libray Journal Best of 2016 * Junior Library Guild Selection * The Globe and Mail Best Books of 2016 * Bustle&;s Best Young Adult Books of 2016 * Mashable&;s 8 Best YA Books of 2016 * Seventeen's 10 Best YA Books of 2016 * CCBC Choices 2017 * 2018-2019 Louisiana Readers' Choice Award Nominee * 2019 & 2020 Choose to Read Ohio Booklist


Flap Cover Text

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn&;t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can&;t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

But Jack Fisher sees her. He&;s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna&;s body was discovered hasn&;t let him forget Alex, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn&;t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.

So does Peekay, the preacher&;s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad&;s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex&;s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.

Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex&;s darker side breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever. Edgar Award&;winning author Mindy McGinnis artfully crafts three alternating perspectives into a dark and riveting exploration of what it means to be the female of the species.


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Trade Reviews

Booklist Reviews

*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. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

Alex always felt rage. But when her older sister was raped and murdered, she acted on it--so brilliantly she got away with her crime. Now a senior, solitary Alex befriends preacher's daughter "Peekay" and falls for popular Jack; the three small-town teens' fates intertwine dangerously. With hard partying, sexual violence, and a razor-sharp voice, this novel is provocative but eminently captivating and thought-provoking. Copyright 2017 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews

Three teens in small-town Ohio struggle with sexual violence, together and individually, in a tragic thriller.Alex, Jack, and Peekay are white high school seniors looking ahead to the next phases of their lives. Alex's older sister, Anna, was raped and murdered their freshman year, and she's been quietly seething ever since. In fact, she stalked and killed her sister's murderer so skillfully that she has evaded any legal repercussions, and her vengeful exploit has become legend in their close-knit, economically blighted town. Relationships within the group shift: preacher's kid Peekay (given name: Claire) befriends Alex when their volunteer shifts at the local animal shelter overlap; Peekay's boyfriend, Adam, cheats on her with classically gorgeous cheerleader Branley; swaggering Jack breaks off his friends-with-benefits arrangement with Branley to pursue Alex. This gives readers a close look at how the emotional claustrophobia of their town affects everyone. When you party i n the same crumbling, abandoned church that your parents used for their illicit beer-soaked parties, how do you confide in them or the local sympathetic police officer about the rape your friend barely saved you from? All three teens are haunted by the memory of Anna's murder, and Alex's inclination to both considering and exacting revenge with cruel efficiency leads them all inexorably to an explosive, terrible finale. An unflinching look at rape culture and its repercussions. (Thriller. 15-18) Copyright Kirkus 2016 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

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.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC

School Library Journal Reviews

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

[Page 83]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Reviews

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 School Library Journal.

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