The Evolution of Ethan Poe
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The Evolution of Ethan Poe

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  218 ratings  ·  33 reviews

In the space of a few months, sixteen-year-old Ethan Poe's life has become a complicated mix of facts, theories, and hypotheses. Things he knows beyond doubt: his parents are divorcing, his older brother Kyle is exhibiting alarming behavior, and his best friend is turning into a spiritual fanatic. Then there are the shifting uncertainties, including his feelings toward his

Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 1st 2011 by Kensington (first published January 1st 2011)
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Ethan is a young man who prides himself on being an outlier. One who chooses to NOT fit in and yet tries to have a positive image of himself despite the judgement of others. He is, as his soon to be boyfriend first notices, a charmer. Ethan's gay and his best gal pal is a disapproving evangelical Christian. His older brother has also turned to the church life and his mother is going through a divorce after kicking her sometimes too childish husband out of their home.

Ethan's also "gone goth" par...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kaje Harper
This book introduces us to Ethan, who at the beginning of the story is an isolated 16 year old. He has one friend, Jorja, who shares his voluntary "outlier" status. His father recently moved out, his brother is becoming more and more religious and strange, and his mother, while trying to cope, doesn't really understand who he is. He's gay, in the closet, and his town is showing stirrings of evangelical Christianity which add even more pressure. Reardon writes really good teen boys, and Ethan is...more
Apr 26, 2012 Andrew rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those looking for a damn good read and those looking for an amazing gay fiction novel.
This has to be the best book that I have EVER read!!

This book had more than a couple moments of sexual activities. Do not tell my mother! ...Oh that's right, she's in my friends list. Hi mum! *Waves with nervous laughter*

I purchased this book after reading the description, which is the following:
In the space of a few months, sixteen-year-old Ethan Poe's life has become a complicated mix of facts, theories and hypotheses. Things he knows beyond doubt; his parents are divorcing, his older brother...more
I am officially confused. Impressed, but freaking confused.

And I'm not afraid to admit that. :)

Reading this book - as it usually happens with Robin Reardon's works - gives me a lot of things to think about. I loved her first book, A Secret Edge, not only because it was a very well-rounded book that entertained and also roused my thought processes, it also has an Indian guy as one of the two main characters. Afterwards, I read Thinking Straight. This one, for me, is also a good book... but there...more
well written, and an engaging story. The characters were well thrashed out, and I felt the appropriate sympathy for them...

I guess my biggest complaint (if it really is that strong of a complaint) is that most of the christian characters are all so extreme... like there is very little middle ground, it finally works out that way, where they finally calm a bit, but the book didn't show any extreme pagans, or extreme atheists/agnostics... I feel like that would have been a better cross-sectional r...more
I've read all of Robin's books because her characterizations are pretty spot on and she makes me want to keep reading to find out what is going to happen next. In this one I rooted for Ethan as he searched for meaning and love and acceptance. The religion debates were interesting as a backdrop for this coming of age/coming out story as it often is a true backdrop. I wondered if the power animal angle, which was almost a religion and is part of some religions, was used in this manner as a counter...more
Sean Kennedy
(4.5 / 5)

This was almost a five star read for me, despite some of the faults I was willing to overlook for what was an enjoyable book which tackled some big issues and didn't result to easy solutions.

Ethan Poe is gay, has a boyfriend that is too scared to acknowledge him in public, his parents have just separated, his brother is convinced that his hand may be possessed by a demon (although bizarre, a real-life disease), and a best friend who thinks he can get rid of the gay if he lets Jesus into...more
Andrew Leavitt
This was the first book I had ever read by Robin Reardon, so though I have heard some of the plot details in "Ethan Poe" seem recycled from her other books (mainly through reviews on Goodreads), I can't speak to that one way or the other. I had actually never even heard of Robin Reardon until I happened to see this book on the top shelf in the adult fiction section of a Barnes and Noble. While I picked it up in the adult section, there can be little doubt that the intended audience of this book...more
Author Robin Reardon, whose previous works include "A Secret Edge" and "Thinking Straight," has become the gay literature scene’s expert on coming-of-age novels. Her latest, "The Evolution of Ethan Poe," continues the trend, and she may have crafted her most well-adjusted gay teen to date, Ethan Poe, whose feelings of heartache and angst stem from the behavior of those around him, rather than himself.

Sixteen-year-old Ethan from Maine is a distant, far-removed relative of the legendary author, Ed...more
Elisa Ramblings
In The Evolution of Ethan Poe I recognize Robin Reardon’s previous book but I also think she did a jump ahead with this one. What I always liked of her books is that these young men have to face a lot of trouble to be who they are and love who they want, but in the end, they are still teenagers, with all the insecurities and fears so typical of being young. But with being young comes also another main aspect: being still in evolution, not being perfect, being faced with multiple choices and with...more
Dec 16, 2011 Amy rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011, glbtq
Normally as I read a book, I think about this site and what rating I am going to give it. This book went through a sort of 'evolution' as I read more of it. Or is that devolution? At first, the book was good and had some interesting and different ideas, like Ethan's friend Jorja and the problems with his brother Kyle. It was hovering around a 4 star rating. Then everything the book was leading up to happened around the middle of the book. Very unsatisfying and the rating dropped to 3 stars. Then...more
I'll be honest, I wasn't impressed. The author is not particularly subtle about his agenda; here's what a reader gets out of this book: 1. Anyone believing in Christianity (eg, anyone who believes the Bible and lives a Christ-centered life) is a. ignorant b. afraid c. close-minded and d. likely to resort to violence instead of reason; 2. Ditto anyone believing in Intelligent Design; 3. Most believers are that way because they have a real problem (mental illness, being abused by their step-father...more
I wanted to like this--I really did.

The major problem I had with this nook was that it never felt like Ethan, Jorja, Kyle and Max were real teeanagers... They just felt like how someone older would imagine them to be and it took me out of the story a lot to make excuse for why they seemed to be acting and --in Ethan's case--thinking at points like 30 somethings.

It makes me sad because I enjoyed what the story was trying to do.

The plot tries to fuse coming out, first love, intellgence design, bod...more
The Evolution of Ethan Poe is a great book that has three story lines, one of which I can't say because it would (I think) count as a spoiler. The second one is about Ethan, and his life as a gay person. The third one is the one that got my attention: whether or not to get ID (Intelligent Design) involved with science.

I the first and second stories are the main part in the beginning, so I'll talk about them first. The second one, I think that there is a bit too much, "Get in the back of a car an...more
After reading Thinking Straight, I was looking forward to Reardon's The Evolution of Ethan Poe. Unfortunately, I was not impressed, and often annoyed while reading.

Reardon based this book on the debate in Dover, PA about Intelligent Design, and sensationalized it. From what I remember of the debate that occurred only a few counties away from my hometown, there was a good deal of verbal confrontation and editorials in the paper, but not physical violence. In her book, Reardon portrays supporters...more
The book was pretty good. It was one of those that immediately hooked you in and pulled you along for the ride. In it it confronted many things which was all very good. Homosexuality, intelligent design vs. evolution, mental illness, religion, and trying to decide who you are. There was one thing I really enjoyed besides Reardon's honesty with Ethan. She put so much research into the book and it made it so much better. But there were a few things that got to me. First off the text lingo. Reardon...more
Daniel G.
Mar 17, 2012 Daniel G. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: GLBTIQ youth
Recommended to Daniel by: Crusader Hillis
Crusader at Hares and Hyenas recommended this as a choice for the bookclub I was in at the time. I was also after something that suited what I'd enjoyed in the past, and as usual, Crusader's recommendation hit the mark.

Even though the core of this book is Intelligent Design being taught in the classroom, the story hasn't been forced to make a story around this. Instead, it's a coming of age romance against a backdrop of religious nuttiness.

You connect to the characters and get carried on their e...more
Gino Alfonso
Another thought provoking story by Ms. Reardon, best for ages 16+, her most mature work reminiscent of the Spencer Tracy movie Inherit the Wind. I would love to see Robin write a movie...the emotional pull she gives her stories is what old Hollywood was made of. I finish a book of hers and can't wait to read more. There's not enough space or time to appropriately review one of her works, you just have to read for's a world unlike any other. I don't have a favorite book yet, becaus...more
Andrew Porteus
Wow, talk about a mix here - teen boys coming out, evolution vs intelligent design in the classroom, body integrity identity disorder, power animals, spirituality, tattoos, and sexual abuse. The thing is, Reardon takes all of these and weaves them into a thoroughly engrossing and believable novel. Even the best people in the book are portrayed with their flaws making them more human. Certainly makes me want to read more of her titles.
I really liked this story. And I learned a few things along the way as well.

Tells a story about a boy, who struggles with himself and his surroundings. Religion verses evolution. Strong feelings and beliefs.

Ethan Poe's having a tough year. His parents are getting a divorce, and his brother and best friend seem to be falling into a sort of religious hysteria as the evolution/creation debate comes to a head due to a school board election. The only upsides are his relationships with one of the school board candidates and with another boy from school--and both of those relationships are fraught as well. Will things ever be right again? I really loved how this coming-of-age story unfolded.
This book tackles difficult topics, but is too preachy. Too often, it felt like the author was lecturing through the characters, who each had a specific role to play. Several of them did evolve over the course of the novel, not just Ethan. The title is a nice play on words. I enjoyed Ethan's perspective as a gay teenager, but the overly didactic tone turned me off. Perhaps if the book was condensed, it'd be a tighter story.
Ethan is a high school student and his story revolves about the tumultuous time in his life when he's just coming out, falling in love, dealing with a mentally ill brother on the back drop of a community conflict around teaching intelligent design verses evolution in the school. Ms. Reardon takes you on this journey weaving the tale well and developing the character and his growth to a satisfying outcome.
Wow, this book really surprised me on quite a few levels! There were so many things going on that I don't really know if I can write about it coherently, but this book was really terrific and I recommend it highly! The relationships of the characters, and the learning curve they go through, as well as the entire town, is just really well written and an enjoyable read.
Xondra Day
Not a good read for me.

The religious aspects of the book's storyline annoyed me along with the scenes with Etta. I did enjoy Ethan. I would have liked for the book to have concentrated more on him. I was often bored when reading and found myself pushing on to get to the good parts which didn't come unfortunately.
Oct 03, 2011 Bob rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: high school teens and adults.
Shelves: ya
This was not a typical gay coming of age story. There is so much in this novel--family communication, evolution verses intelligent design and many gray layers of christianity and mysticism. With no right or wrong answers. Truly an inspiring book and a great story.
It would've been four stars but the ending kinda falls apart and the last few paragraphs made me roll my eyes so hard they nearly fell out of my head. A pretty decent and fast read meanwhile.
Great book...The parts about the "Election" were kinda silly and turned me off a bit but the ending made me cry.
This was an interesting "coming out/coming of age" story. I really like Robin Reardon's writing.
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The guy on the cover. 2 11 Apr 23, 2012 11:39AM  
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Can you remain friends with someone who disapproves of you? 1 4 Oct 19, 2011 09:34PM  
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I'm an inveterate observer of human nature, and my primary writing goal is to create stories about all kinds of people, some of whom happen to be gay or transgender—people whose destinies are not determined solely by their sexual orientation or identity. My secondary writing goal is to introduce readers to concepts or information they might not know very much about. On my website,
More about Robin Reardon...
Thinking Straight A Secret Edge A Question of Manhood The Revelations of Jude Connor Giuseppe and Me

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“It's an erectoral vote.... it doesn't mean dick.” 2 likes
“The police move around again, and the crowd gets just quiet enough so that we can hear the guy holding the sign calling Pagans Athiests say, "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." Mom pops up out of her seat, turns in that direction and shouts, "Professing themselves to be Christians, they commit violence.” 1 likes
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