“But boys will be boys, our favorite phrase that excuses so many things, while the only thing we have for the opposite gender is women, said with disdain and punctuated with an eye roll.”
― Mindy McGinnis,
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 over the years, 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 nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.
Eden: I loved this book. It was a fun read even for how series the overall story was. I think McGinnis does a fabulous job creating characters while immersing her readers into the world. At this point, McGinnis is one of my favorite authors simply because she’s just SO good at writing. 5/5 stars.
Caitlynn: McGinnis does it again with this awesome novel. I loved the characters and relationships of each of the characters and found myself looking forward to each characters perspective. McGinnis gives such a powerful language to her novels that is hard to compete with. Overall, I gave this a 4.75/5 stars!
Jenn: This book was amazing. It is like nothing I’ve read before. I appreciated the voice that McGinnis gave to the women in this book. It felt very empowering while talking about a major issue in our society. This is a book where the women banded together and acknowledged that rape culture and gender inequality is not right nor will it be tolerated. I think this book gave amazing insight and that everybody should read it. I gave it 4.5/5 stars.
Jenn: So, I haven’t rated it yet on Goodreads but I’m probably going to give it a 4.5/5 stars.
Eden: I gave it a 5/5.
Caitlynn: I’m going to go with 4.75/5 because I’m leaning in the middle.
E: Why did you give it a 4.5 Jenn? You’re the one that rated it the lowest out of all of us.
J: Well I really liked it. Like, I really liked the plotline and all of the issues it tackled in it. I was not a fan of Jack and I felt like he was made redeemable in a way that I wasn’t comfortable with. I didn’t like the way he spoke about her and some of his interactions rubbed me the wrong way. I also was hoping he was going to kill him at some point. But, I really liked it overall. That just nudged it down.
C: As soon as you finished it you said you could have done without his chapters so I think that says a lot.
E: So, I had problems with that as well. When I first finished it I also wanted her to kill Jack. But, I’ve had time to think about it. I didn’t like that Jack was made to seem like he could be made yo be a better dude just because of one person. But, then I thought about the whole idea of it just takes one person to save a person.
J: I didn’t like who he was with her.
E: I didn’t have a problem with how he was with her. I will say I didn’t like how at first Branley was like your typical girl. I did really like her twist though.
J: Yeah I really liked Branley. I actually wish we would have had Branley chapters instead of Jack chapters.
E: See, I don’t think I would have liked Branley as much if I would have had chapters from her perspective. I liked not knowing everything in her head and being pleasantly surprised by who she is.
J: But, I feel like even she wouldn’t have the insight that you got from Alex’s perspective on her. The things we saw with Peekay we didn’t see it outright in her chapters but Alex was the one seeing it. So, I feel like if we got Branley chapters even she would be surprised by some of her actions when it came down to it.
C: Why did both of you think she was going to kill him?
E & J [in unison]: I didn’t think she was going to kill him.
J: I was just hoping she would.
C: Why did you think she would though?
J: He was so possessive at some points and he talked so much about sex and his urges that I was very weary when they got into the situation where they went to talk at the cabin. I was like he’s going to push her too far or something’s going to happen. Because, every time he would talk about her at one point he continued to call her my Alex and focused on her body and how womanly she was. It felt very aggressive sounding. I think it felt like he was kind of the antithesis of the kind of guy that she would be with. It was very superficial and possessive at times so it made me uncomfortable.
E: I wanted her to kill him. The only reason I could think of to give her to kill him was thinking back to the night that they found her sister and the position he was in at that time. I assumed she played it off like she just didn’t remember because Alex is portrayed as this crazy intelligent person who seems to forget nothing. Like Jenn said when they went to the dance and they talked after, I thought she would think about that event. Also, he’s scorned her decision, which she thought was the right decision, this could be her reason for killing him.
J: I also wasn’t a fan of the way that he just brushed the murders to the side and basically said, “Let’s just put this away and pretend that you never killed a man. Just try not to kill people when you get the urge.”
E: His question was literally, “Can you stop?”
J: I just wasn’t a fan of his character. I remember I got to a line where he said “I looked over and say my Alex in the crowd.” I just felt like no, you saw Alex in the crowd who is her own person.
E: Preferred point of view? Did you have a preference?
J: It depended on the point in the story. I liked Alex for the majority of the story because I liked seeing her reasoning. But, I also liked Peekay’s perspective on Alex.
E: Yeah, I thought at the beginning of the book that I wouldn’t like Peekay. I thought I was going to think she was annoying. I thought she was this weird party girl trying to break the preacher’s kid mold. Then I actually really enjoyed her. We were obviosuly meant to like both of them. Alex, like you said I liked Peekay’s perspective on Alex. Even more I loved her responses to Peekay. I thought they were hilarious in the way that their conversations went. However, I liked Alex’s perspective a lot of the time because I liked the way she looked at things.
J: Yeah, I liked her break down of everything that was happening around her.
C: I liked Peekay because it was more of my style of thinking. She was very simple as opposed to Alex who was very analytical.
J: I think another thing I didn’t like about Jack and reading his parts were that it was so centered around Alex but they never seemed to really have full conversations. So, I never understood their relationship.
E: For Alex I took it as a lack of real physical relationships with anyone in her life at this point. So, it forced a stronger connection quicker. I took it as her being so deprived of relationships that the minute she has the opportunity with a boy she takes it.
J: See, but I don’t see her as that kind of person.
E: He says at one point that she’s always touching him. She has to bee touching him.
J: Yeah, but I don’t see that. The start of it totally felt natural to me. She was big on the fact that he talked to her about herself. Whereas everybody else looks at her and only sees her sister. I just didn’t see the relationship building like I wanted it to.
C: Yeah, it just felt like it went really fast and really far but we didn’t get any parts of that.
J: I think because of the other things happening in the story at the time we couldn’t really focus on the relationship. So, it didn’t upset me I understand why the focus was shifted. The other plot points were crucial. It was just something I wanted to see more of. I think that’s why it bothered me with how he interacted with and thought about Alex.
E: Did you guys wonder how she got away with murder with Comstock? My thought was as a police officer in an ongoing investigation the people you would want to talk to would be the people that were disgruntled by this person right?
J: But, when you look at Alex they say you don’t expect that from her.
C: I felt like that about the uncle. Like, there’s no way they thought this was an accident. So, at that point maybe the police and the investigators turned a blind eye because those people did shitty things.
E: Also, they continue to mention that it’s a small town.
C: That good ole boy police force.
J: We are also seeing a totally different perspective than an outsider would. So, we understand how much it bothered her. For everyone else, she doesn’t talk about her sister. She doesn’t talk to anybody. So, yeah it’s something that happened but it doesn’t seem to have really effected her.
C: And every time someone brings it up she acts like it’s nothing.
J: So, the police looking in probably don’t suspect anything. They probably thought there was no way a teenage girl could do all of these things to this man.
E: She told the story and I was just like damn.
C: Let me tell you, this book was intense. The first scene starts out with a bang and then the scene with Jack and Branley as well show how much of a visual writer she is. I was like oh my god, I can see everything that she’s writing right now. It had such depth and it had the desired effect on me.
E: I’ve read two books by Mindy McGinnis and both of them I have raved about. A Madness So Discreet had such a different specific tone to it. This was so wholly different.
C: Yeah, it felt totally different.
J: I honestly love her writing.
E: When you look at some other authors their writing style doesn’t change at all. It’s almost identical. Mindy McGinnis has been able to write two totally different books in different styles.
J: I don’t think it’s different styles. This still totally feels like McGinnis and I love that. They do have completely different tones though.
E: Yeah, maybe I meant tone instead of writing style. I could see that.
C: Yeah they feel like completely different books. But, you can tell that it’s her writing.
E: I think she’s an incredibly talented writer. I really liked this book.
J: I did too. I adored it. It also flew by.
C: I can’t wait to read more by McGinnis.
Have you picked up a book by Mindy McGinnis? If not you should definitely give this book and A Madness So Discreet a chance.