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Born Again

3.26  ·  Rating Details  ·  188 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
What happens when a Bible Quiz Champion takes on Darwin? Mel, a faith-filled Pentecostal, has the chance to escape Slow Rapids, Indiana, by attending academic summer camp. The only catch? She has to read forbidden tomes like The Origin of Species . So she forges the permission slip, promising God she’ll bring him a lost soul in exchange.

Mel conscientiously uses her Biblica
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by Mariner Books (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 295)
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Apr 04, 2013 Themarie rated it really liked it
What struck me the most about this novel is that the young protagonist, 14 year-old Mel, is far more complex than I originally expected her to be. She has been raised in a fundamentalist Pentecostal church, where she has won several Bible trivia championships and has recently pledged her virginity to God. Mel attempts to evangelize at school (and miserably fails) and she criticizes others for their sins or for attending non-fundamentalist churches.

Yet at the same time, she longs for thong under
May 13, 2008 Colette rated it it was ok
A good concept, but there was WAY too much going on behind the main plot: ex-alcoholic father! schizo mother! a sister who's a teenage mother! anarchist brother! Pick one and move on and leave the rest for another novel.
Apr 05, 2009 Jaylia3 rated it it was amazing
Oh, this is a beautifully written novel. Sometimes I would leave my bookmark back a page or two so I could reread particularly gorgeous passages. I think this is so far Kelly Kerney's only book and I hope she writes more. Mel, a young evangelical teenager, goes from faith and conviction to reflection, expanding awareness and doubt. The Origin of Species is assigned reading for Mel's invitation-only academic camp, but she knows her parents and God would not approve. Mel hides the book from her pa ...more
Sep 14, 2012 Jeff rated it did not like it
Shelves: real
This book disgusts me. Boring, bloated, inconsequential, and absolutely wretched with shamefully cheap symbolism, this is a book that'd I'd hesitate to burn for fear of the flames. What if smoke or ashes from the book infiltrated my pores and sinuses? What if its shittiness became a part of me?
Jan 20, 2010 Ashley rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-fiction, religion
I don't think I "got" this book. It's about an evangelical girl reading Darwin for the first time and her struggles with it. I felt that it was full of cliches and a bit over the top. There has to be a better book on this topic.
Lara Abdallah
Jan 09, 2012 Lara Abdallah rated it did not like it
One of the most messed up things I have ever read. I can't believe I wasted my time with this book.
Aug 19, 2009 Marvin rated it really liked it
Shelves: midwest, religion
Narrated by a bright, 14-year-old girl who's grown up in a Pentecostal family in Indiana with an older brother & sister who've both gone astray, while she's a model Christian & Bible Quiz Champion who has thoroughly absorbed the teachings of her church & family but is beginning to struggle with them. She has been accepted into a summer academic camp for which she's supposed to read Darwin's Origin of the Species. She's curious about it even though it's on a list of her church's banne ...more
Apr 04, 2013 Lorna rated it liked it
This is a book that every youth pastor should read and probably every Christian parent. It is the journey of a girl away from her faith in God toward neo-Darwinism. This is an eye-opener and can shed light on some of the reasons that our youth are rejecting faith as they mature. In just a few short months, the young lady goes from being the "perfect church girl," to a "demon-possessed maniac," back to a "perfect church girl." She settles back into the church routine, doing what is expected of he ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jocelyn Pearce for

Starting this book, I wasn't sure what to expect. It deals with religion, so I thought it might be preachy. It talks about Darwin, so I was expecting some strong opinions on the subject--everyone has them. BORN AGAIN is Kelly Kerney's first novel, so I had no expectations as to the writing. In the quote on the back cover, Mel (the main character) talks about using the Bible to prove Darwin wrong. I, personally, am not a religious person and believe
Jun 14, 2008 Az rated it liked it
Recommends it for: religious debaters
the average academic will wince while reading this book. why? because it's in the voice of a fourteen year-old who belongs to a strict pentecostal church. they believe in their own salvation right alongside pat robertson.

however, the central character is too smart to buy all of it. oh, she buys plenty of it, but you'll find yourself cheering when she discusses contradiction between scripture and the real world. trouble is, she's only got about half a theory. her scope is too limited to understa
Mar 02, 2016 Laura rated it liked it
A seriocomic look at growing up in a dysfunctional evangelical family. 14 year old Melanie is a crusader for God and bible quiz champion, who is committed to proving Darwin wrong when her assigned reading for an academic summer camp includes "The Origin of Species." As Melanie learns about Dawin's concept of adaptation, she also learns about her family and herself. Kerney is a little heavy handed with her message, but it's an entertaining book and the ending made me smile.
Mar 03, 2008 Beth rated it liked it
Shelves: literary_fiction
This turned out to be a darker, more complex book than I had thought the first time I picked it up at Room of One's Own bookstore in Madison, Wisconsin. It turns out not to be a young adult book, at least not in the classic sense. It's a book about a teenage girl told from her perspective, but its themes are in some ways more adult--religious/faith crises, when parents lie to control their kids, when churches lie to control their members (!), etc. I certainly think older teens who question adult ...more
Kara Elam
Jan 11, 2016 Kara Elam rated it liked it
A glimpse into a world that I already thought was scary, but after reading, now I am horrified. The author did seem to lose steam at the end.
Oct 28, 2010 Joy rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
14-yo Mel, a believing Pentecostal Christian, reads Darwin for a summer academic camp. She's got to hide it from her parents and the pastor. As she reads and analyzes it, it draws much more of her life into focus--in particular the dynamics of her abusive, dysfunctional, and frankly nutty family and her analysis of the natural world-- but also her relationships with her classmates. The Ohio landscape is also well-drawn--Mel goes fishing a lot, and many characters in the book work at a chemical p ...more
Apr 15, 2007 allison rated it liked it
i picked this book up and thought, oh ew. a christain book. you know, one of those where they preach to you the whole time. but something made me keep. No, we wont say "it was godly forces" curiosity. when i read it. i almost put it down after the first chapter. it was 'too godfilled' but i kept going. and i am glad i did. it challenged all beliefs in a way that i loved. and it made me think about, not about my faith, but about other situations where i thought i knew everything.
Jul 13, 2010 Teresa rated it liked it
This was a pretty good book. I really wondered which way the bias would go. I really think it was pretty good at not trying to sway the reader to a certain point of view. We're all looking for something. We want to have things all tied up in a neat little package, so we don't have to think so much. We want certaintly. But its just not that easy. Life is messy and there are no absolutes.
Lee Fox
Jul 05, 2007 Lee Fox rated it really liked it
Very insightful on how religon and Darwin's Theory are analyzed by a teenage girl - wonderful details on how the two are related yet can be so different. The relationship with the family members is the exact opposite from what one would expect but ironic that they all survived when they clearly they would have eaten eachother alive to fight to stay on top of the food chain.
Amanda Scaramella
Feb 23, 2015 Amanda Scaramella rated it did not like it
Shelves: novel
A good premise, but horribly executed. It spins out of control with the family's multiple issues and abandons the original concept of main character challenging her religious beliefs. Towards the end, I merely skimmed through, hoping to see it improve, which it didn't.

Not a book I plan to keep for my library.
Aug 09, 2010 Natalie rated it really liked it
A young girl struggles to comprehend her world. She has extremist religious parents, but is attending a secular school. She's smart and wants to learn about science, but her church believes all of it is wrong.

Really strange in the end. Exactly like the Pent. Church I attended as a teenager.

Interesting book.
Dec 22, 2013 Beckie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2006
i'm not sure if this was meant to be ya or not. i thought it was a pretty believable and engaging portrayal of an evangelical kid coming to question her beliefs, although i'm not sure the characters were entirely consistent.
Jul 26, 2007 Lucy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2006
i'm not sure if this was meant to be ya or not. i thought it was a pretty believable and engaging portrayal of an evangelical kid coming to question her beliefs, although i'm not sure the characters were entirely consistent.
Dichotomy Girl
I feel like this should have been better than it was. As a former fundamentalist of the pentecostal variety, I really should have appreciated this, but if I couldn't relate to it, I'm not really sure who would.
May 22, 2007 Sue rated it liked it
Not bad. Written by a Bowdoin grad. The best part of this book is the main character, Mel. The other characters, esp. the sexed up pastor and the crazy mom are without -- but it's worth reading for Mel.
Jan 08, 2008 Abby rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: anyone who is sorta in-between christianity and science
She didn't learn anything!!! I've read a couple of books like this one, and they usually learn something, but maybe after that twist at the end, it was all too much for her. Poor fictional girl.
Sep 28, 2007 Molly rated it did not like it
This is like Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature...if Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature was overwritten, underedited, and boring. MFAs are wayyy overrated.
Apr 11, 2008 Marie rated it really liked it
Interesting coming-of-age story about a young daughter in a fundamentalist family, trying to reconcile her Christian born-again faith with reading Darwin.
Aug 03, 2008 Laura rated it it was ok
I can't wait to read this! I live in a Christian fundamentalist community, and this is a book that I need so that my thoughts won't be stifled.
Jan 05, 2008 Cat rated it it was ok
i think this book was trying to give off the same satirical message as the movie saved.

bottom line: skip the book and rent the movie.
Jul 10, 2008 Chelsea marked it as stalled
I don't have much to say on this one save: boring. I didn't bother finish it, and I couldn't even tell you why. Yawn.
Aug 15, 2010 jess rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2007
fiction, repressive christianity, evolution, coming of age, girls, bible trivia championships
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Kelly Kerney is an American novelist. Her first novel, Born Again, was published in 2006.

After having been raised in a Pentecostal Church, Kerney graduated from Bowdoin College in 2002 and later received her MFA from the University of Notre Dame.

Born Again follows an evangelical Christian who comes to terms with evolution. The novel received several positive reviews, including ones from Entertainm
More about Kelly Kerney...

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