The Female of the Species

The Female of the Species
Written by Mindy McGinnis

Publisher’s Summary:
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.

Primary Source Pairing:

“You see it in all animals – the female of the species is more deadly than the male. Except humans.” ― Mindy McGinnis, The Female of the Species

Alex is deadly – but does she have a right to be? Do the circumstances of her life give her the right to kill? The Female of the Species is a multi-narrative reflection on relationships and how they impact you – for better or worse. For this primary source pairing, examine a photograph of a female praying mantis. This female insect is notorious for her predator ways even to her own species. Encourage students to make connections to the text during their exploration of the photograph. Learn more about the praying mantis insect on Wikipedia.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • What is the physical setting?
  • What’s happening in the image?
  • How does the praying mantis connect to the theme of the book?
  • Which character is most like the praying mantis? Cite textual evidence.

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
“Female New Zealand Mantis” photograph: Wikimedia Commons
Mantis article: Wikipedia