Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature

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Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature
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Publisher
Age Range
12+
Release Date
August 28, 2007
ISBN
0375843493
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Survival of the Fittest
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4.0
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4.0
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Not only has Mena Reece been ostracized by her church friends, she has actually been kicked out of her church. Even her parents arent talking to her. She is totally friendless. And why, you might ask? Well, Im not going to tell you, because in Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature, Robin Brande will unveil the reason in her own way.

Menas first day in high school is a disaster. Her former friends talk about her in class, bump into her intentionally in the hall and call her names. The year looks hopeless. It is third period biology class with Ms. Shepherd, however, that is going to change things for Mena. Firstly, she was paired with Casey Connor as a project partner. Her parents would never let her go to a boys house, even if it is for school. Secondly, one of the topics Ms. Shepherd will cover is Evolution and survival of the fittest. The church kids would never go along with that&as a matter of fact, when the topic is introduced they all turn their chairs around and face the back of the room.

Casey is a geeky science guy, though not bad looking. It soon becomes apparent that he may be Menas only friend. She lies to her parents in order to go to his house to do their science project. It is here that a whole new world opens up to her. Sheltered by her parents and the church from virtually everything, shes introduced to a fun family, Lord of the Rings films and Kayla, Caseys older sister and editor of the school newspaper, who sweeps her into her web of drama. As the furor of Evolution vs. Creationism accelerates, Kayla convinces Mena to write Biblical essays under the pen name Bible Grrrrrl validating that the scientific method and religion can co-exist, which Kayla will publish on her website,.

As you can expect, Menas role as Bible Grrrrrl, her involvement with Kayla and the school newspaper and her visits to Casey are exposed and big decisions must be made. I couldnt put this book down. What I liked about it was the subject: Science vs. Religion. Brande could have written a very one-sided, dogmatic book. Instead, she took great pains not to denigrate the belief in God and his/her role in the earths creation. There is a lot of action. Theres romance. There are thought provoking issues about life, family, religion, science and friendship. This is a fast reading book and in the interests of survival of the fittest and natural selection, you should select Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature.
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Science Nerds....Gotta Love 'em
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4.0
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4.0
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Reader reviewed by Ari

I had read this book expecting something as amazing as Fat Cat. I was met with something even better. This book showed how seperation of church and state causes issues all the time in school, especially when studying evolution. So when Mena first meets her lab partner I already tell myself, "Just wait at the end of this book they will be together." Although Robin Brande brings into play that classic scenario I still loved this book. Honestly there were a few points were I jumped up screaming, "I JUST KNEW THAT WOULD HAPPEN!" and others were I was like, "wasnt expecting that." Or I was just purley confused and had a dumb struck look on face wondering what was going on. Although confusing and some what predictable I loved that about this book. Not something you would hear all the time. I found that there were a lot of moments I felt like hurting, or hugging one of the characters. Another great quality about this book. You actually get to connect with all the characters. Supporting, major, or even insignifigant. This book connects with people. There were a few parts I was just frustrated with how some characters were acting and I was ready to throw the book out the window. But what is to be expected, I find a lot of books do that. This one though a minute later would change my mind and have me go, "Oh scratch that, I will continue reading."

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Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by Readergirl

The Ultimate battle between Evolution and Creationism takes place in Robin Brande's debut novel, "Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature". The main character is Mena. A girl being torn in two by what she knows is right, and the expectations of her peers. A born Christian, and happy that way, Mena's life takes a turn for the worst when she decides to apologies for being involved in provoking a fellow student. But when he decides to sue everyone in her church Mena becomes the outcast who is ill used by everyone she once trusted, even her parents can hardly stand to look at her, let alone talk to her.
Things start to look up when she meets Casey Conner, a would be geeky kid to her old friends, who ends up helping Mena through her exile and becoming her best friend with potential for more, In her science class. There she also meets the zany Mrs. Shepherd, a teacher that introduces Mena to the thought that both evolution and god could co-exist. When Mrs. Shepherd starts a unit on Evolution things really start heating up. Through all this Mena learns a lot about herself, and realizes what her faith means to her. Robin Brande has done an exceptional job writing such a delicate subject, Evolution VS. Creationism, which she has depicted with such grace and delicacy that I don't think anyone could read this book and go away angry about the focus of the plot. Not to say that there wouldn't be any disagreements on it somewhere, as you can find on any subject today, but that she airs her views so lightly as to give an idea, not a lecture. Lovable characters, interesting idea, brilliant writing; everything you need for a great read. Go out and buy Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature at your nearest bookstore today. You won't regret it.

*reposted with permission*

http://readergirlreviews.blogspot.com/
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Evolution of not just the Darwin-kind
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4.0
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Reader reviewed by Adriana M.

I really enjoyed this book. The main character, Mena, is forced to deal with having her entire church, classmates, former friends, and even her parents turn their backs on her when she stands up for another member of her group when he is being unfairly persecuted and targeted. Although she speaks up in the form of a letter, circumstances arise that balloon into lawsuits for her church and the potential of financial devastation for her family's business. She manages to overcome bullying that includes physical shoving and name-calling, and ends up meeting a classmate whose family adopts her when they work on a project together. Through her new friends and her own development, Mena is able to understand why she made the right choice and in the end come to terms with how her beliefs and scientific evolution can have a place together. In the end I was rooting for her and I got the sense of really getting to know her and sensing her personal growth.
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What a smart book!
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by Krista

This novel is about a girl, Mena, who is having the worst time of her life. She has been ostracized from her church, barely spoken to by her parents, and lost her friends. The novel starts with a first day of high school: a time known for new beginnings.

Luckily, things begin to look up thanks to Ms. Shepherd, Menas crazy science teacher, and her lab partner, Casey Connor (a boy). Alas, new problems arise when Ms. Shepherd begins the evolution section, and class members refuse to believe or be taught the theory.

One of the reasons I loved Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature was that it was SMART. It covered so many topics in just 272 pages. Combining science & religion. Right vs. wrong. Teenage love. I could keep going on and on.

In the book, Caseys sisters boyfriend makes t-shirts with the most hilarious one-liners. My favorite: Gravity Is Just a TheoryWhy Wont They Tell Us the Truth?
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Right on Point
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by Beth

Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature is about Mena trying to find out what she believes in. Mena has been raised in a very conservative church, but then got kicked out of that church. The story revolves around her biology class, specifically the unit they cover on evolution. Mena has to decide what she believes and what is right.

I absolutely adored this book. The struggle to reconcile faith and science is one that I know all too well. It was refreshing to see Christians portrayed in different lights because not all Christians believe the same things. I would recommend this book to anyone, but especially someone who is having a tough time being able to believe in God and evolution.
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Great!
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4.0
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Reader reviewed by Mary

Mena has good reason to not want to attend school. Everyone at school hates her. But then again, staying at home wouldn't be much better. Her parents say they're not mad at her but she cn tell especially since they sometimes refuse to talk to her.

Mena always thought you were supposed to do the right thing. And so she did it and what did she get? The position of social outcast. But luckily for her there are some people that don't care/don't know about her new social standing. Casey is one of them. Soon Casey and Mena become closer as Mena realizes that sometimes you have to tell the truth and stand up for what you believe in...


This is an extremely good book with both an interesting plotline and interesting characters. It really hooked me in. I can't wait to read Robin Brande's next books.
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powerful in its own little way
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Reader reviewed by abscae

Mena apparently committed a sin. A sin that turned her parents, her friends, her church, and her faith against her. She stood up for something she believed in, and being an astute Catholic (along with her family), she now is faced with the constant rejection of everyone around. Here enters the theory of evolution, introduced by Mrs.Shephard in a science class. And along with it, Casey, the guy who can make her laugh, and excepts her.

Thus ensues Mena's trials and tribulations, her confrontations, and the revelation of what faith means to one.

I found this novel to be powerful, and quite enchanting. It addresses issues such as personal faith and morals, ideas that I don't find quite too often in the newer young adult novels. The characters are vivid, and overall, it was a wonderful read.
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Interesting and Thought-Provoking Novel
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by Jocelyn

I was going to wait and blog about this one tomorrow, but I couldnt sleep (yes, Im still up at 5:30 AM), so forgive me for any fuzziness/mistakes in this post, as I havent slept since yesterday. My mind is too busy, with various things, to sleep. Including this book, of which I intended to read a chapter of before going to bed but ended up reading the whole thing.

Yes, it really is that good. I dont want to give away too much, but Im going to have to tell you more than whats on the back cover because that is very vague which is all well and good, but dont read on if you are very very anti-spoiler.

At the start of the book, everybody in Menas group of friends, who all happen to be from her church, hates her for doing the right thing in a situation where that meant going against what her friends did. So shes starting high school not only friendless, but with people actually knocking her books out of her arms in the hallway. The atmosphere at home is a bit chilly, too; her parents seem to have sided with her church.

Theres one bright spot in Menas day, though: science class. Ms. Shepard is a really amazing (and really weird, but in a good way) teacher, and her lab partner, Casey, isnt too bad either. Soon, Menas got a new crowd: Casey, his big sister Kayla, and her friends.

Kayla, however, is a very outspoken and opinionated sort of person. So getting involved with her pretty much means that Menas not going to be suffering the freeze-out from her church in silence for very long.

First of all, I have got to say I LOVED Kayla. Mena was a great character, toothey all werebut Kayla was by far my favorite. I guess shes the outspoken, intelligent person I want to be but dont have the guts to be. Ms Shepard is another fantastic character; shes a science teacher I wish I could have! Josh, Casey, Mrs. ConnorI could go on about how great all of the characters are, but you get the idea.

EVOLUTION certainly talks about controversial issues, but its not in a heavy-handed Christian fiction sort of way. The topic of evolution obviously comes up, and it is nicely addressednot as evolution vs. intelligent design, or evolution vs. religion. I read a comparison somewhere of this book to the movie SAVED (brilliant movie, by the way, see it!), I cant remember where, and that was right on target (not that Mena gets pregnant or anything, just in the way the issues are addressed).

I love the characters and the story in this book, but its also just a very well-written novel. It obviously flowed well, if it had me in its clutches all night! Robin Brande is pretty much brilliant. This is a smart, absorbing novel sure to find a fan in anyone who reads it!
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What do you Believe?
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4.0
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4.0
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Reader reviewed by MRose52

An adorable tale of wit and love. "evolution..." will make readers question their belifs.

When Mena sends in a letter to defend a boy in her school, she didnt know it would be used in cour to sue her church for millions of dollars! Now wveryone hates her! And when her new teacher, Mrs. Shepard, starts teaching about evolution, overhalf the class revolts into chaos, staging protests and refusing to participate. A few months ago, Mena would have been one of them, but now that she's no longer one of them, she can have opinions of her own...so what are they?

Thsi book will keep you turning until the last page! Make sure to pick it up, it is definatly a teen must-read.
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Awesome
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by Kiersten

I enjoyed this book so much that i wish there was sequel to it. I love Mena and I hope she eventually gets off restriction. I wonder if everything work out with mena and casey. i hope all the puppies are taken good care of. i want ot know the whole story of why she is hated by everyone in the school.
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