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The Evolution of Ethan Poe

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  498 ratings  ·  52 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, 379 pages
Published August 1st 2011 by Kensington Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  498 ratings  ·  52 reviews

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Apr 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those looking for a damn good read and those looking for an amazing gay fiction novel.
Shelves: favorites, teen-fic
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
Oct 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Kaje Harper
Apr 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, intense, ya
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
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A reviewer often has more than one possible opening gambit. In the case of Robin Reardon’s The evolution of Ethan Poe I can think of at least three, and I’m going to use them all.

Firstly: I hope and trust the world is ready for excuses like “I’m sorry that I’m so sleepy / that I didn’t complete the marking / report / task – I am reading the next Robin Reardon after all!” There were some 01:30 bedtimes during the reading of this novel. One just has to know.

Secondly: when I finished chapter 15 and
Feb 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alannah Davis
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very definitely 5 stars for this YA novel about Ethan Poe, a relative of Edgar Allan Poe (yes, THAT one). Ethan is a gay teen whose older brother Kyle has been exhibiting strange behavior, whose parents have separated, and who befriends an older lady and her dog. There is so much going on that I can't give this book justice by trying to describe everything that has enamoured me to it. Just trust me when I say, READ THIS! You don't need to be a young adult to be affected by Ethan's story. This is ...more
Sean Kennedy
Sep 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
(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
Nov 08, 2011 rated it liked it
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
R.J. Seeley
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I do not know where to begin.

This book was a definite interest to me, especially with me being a Christian who believes in evolution, but this book became so much more than that. Of course, I am a keen reader of Reardon, I love all her work. But this one, this one was almost different.

Yes I loved it, it was thought inducing, funny, sexy and as sad as ever, but I don't know, I felt a different kind of vibe with it.

I loved Ethan's voice, I loved Max, I loved Etta and Two, there was so much
Aug 30, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Andrew Leavitt
Apr 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-novels
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
Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Gavin Stephenson-Jackman
A very interesting fictionalization of some very scary events and a very compelling read. It amazes me that so many people are willing to believe something because they are told to and the violence that some will go to in their efforts to suppress their opponents. Having an open mind and engaging in rational thought seems beyond some people as illustrated by the supporters of ID in this story. As wonderful as the story was I'd still have liked to see an additional chapter or two dealing with the ...more
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I didn't quite expect to like this as much as I thought. It started out intriguing, then got boring for me, then it intrigued me again, and then it took off.

Sadly we do not live in a world that is open minded enough to allow this in high school classrooms. Like for literature reading. Or you could call it English Class, because this book really has the potential. I feel like this was a great read, but so underrated. And that makes me sad. Perhaps one day, that will change. Until then, I advise
Ulysses Dietz
May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Evolution of Ethan Poe
By Robin Reardon
Kensington Books, 2011
Five stars

“I don’t pay a lot of attention; it’s not something I care about.”

How did I miss this for nine years? Now, I’ve read a lot of YA books with LGBT main characters. What prompts me to give any given book five stars is individuality – of style, of character, of setting, of plot arc. This is one of those books that stands out, because the title character, Ethan Poe, undergoes a dramatic transformation during the few months in w
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Probably more of a 3.5 to me. Can't really put my finger on it, the idea of power animals is super interesting, but I almost feel like they were a bit too on the nose with the descriptions and the scenarios lined up a bit too perfectly and it kinda took me out of the story a bit.

Likewise, Ethan's journey through the story is said to be about balance in his life when it seems incredibly obvious that there are "right" and "wrong" sides to each of the issues he faced, eventually evolving into "tra
Jan 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-lit, library, lgbt
3.5 stars. I really loved watching Ethan's character growing throughout this book. I understood the power animals thing but at the same time it was a little weird. The whole ID/Evolution debate throughout the book and the violence it brought was very thought provoking and interesting. Of all the things I could have disliked about this book...there was only one thing I actually did dislike and that was Max. I just...hated his character for some reason.
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is an awesome book. This is one of those books you couldn't put it down until you finish it. Character development or 'evolution' of this story is brilliant. This book deserves more spotlight. I loved it.
Dec 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Aug 06, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtqia-books
Ethan Poe is a 16 year old who dresses goth and likes being a outsider at school. Ethan’s only friend and his older brother are extremely religious.His parents are getting a divorce. He gets pulled into a debate on intelligent design that he didn't want anything to do with.Ethan deals with all of that while also being in the closet and falling for a boy from his school.

The book was a much slower read for me. This book was very tense throughout.The conflict was so real and varied.Each plot point
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gay-themed
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
Aug 17, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Once you start reading this book, you won’t put it down, it’s that engaging. The author mixes together some really interesting topics and comes out with a five star book. Lesser writers would have a jumble, but Reardon makes it work, she makes you love fall in love with the main character and lets you watch over his shoulder as he pulls his stuff together. Extra bonus, somehow, and I’m not sure why, Ethan’s mother reminds me of Cher (From Mermaids). Which makes the book that much better.

Apr 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Caidyn (BW Reviews; he/him/his)
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
Aug 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Okay... this was a good book. Well written and interesting and I gave it 4 stars and yet... I don't know if I can say I liked it. There's something really oppressing about this story; the whole religion vs science battle and the mental problems, abuse and other dark things that are for sure part of life but left me with a heavy feeling that didn't quite go away. Maybe I felt so strongly about it because I read this right after a real feel-good teen lgtb book.

At times it was a bit difficult for
Apr 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbt, young-adult
Maybe 3.5 stars? Enjoyed this quite a bit but the book went too far with the evolution vs. intelligent design storyline - there were a lot of long didactic passages that served as a vehicle for rhetoric/ ideology rather than as conversations real people would actually have. I liked reading about the main character's journey and decisions. The mentors in this book (view spoiler) were a little too good to ...more
Gino Alfonso
May 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Backlot Gay B...: The Evolution of Ethan Poe, by Robin Reardon 1 4 May 11, 2020 03:02PM  
The Evolution/Intelligent Design debate 5 7 Jul 25, 2015 04:22PM  
The guy on the cover. 2 15 Apr 23, 2012 11:39AM  
YA LGBT Books: Rainbow YA awards 2 27 Dec 08, 2011 08:54AM  
Outliers 1 4 Oct 20, 2011 12:58AM  
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

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