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Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  4,882 ratings  ·  693 reviews
I knew today would be ugly...

It's the first day of high school for Mena, and already her world looks bleak: she's an outcast, all her former friends hate her, even her parents barely speak to her anymore. And why? Because she tried to do the right thing. And then everything went wrong.

But can a cute, nerdy lab partner; his bossy, outspoken sister; and an unconventional,
Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 28th 2016 by Ryer Publishing (first published August 28th 2007)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  4,882 ratings  ·  693 reviews

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Jan 17, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ya, dnf
In case you don't know this about me, I am agnostic. It is beyond my understanding why so many people think that it is impossible to be a religious person and accept science. I can roll and roll my eyes at those who relentlessly assert that the Earth's age is 6000 years and people walked the Earth along with dinosaurs. I am sorry, I understand there is a lot of unexplained about our Universe and some choose to attribute this unexplainable to a God's grace, but denying scientifically proven facts ...more
Mar 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jessica by: Janina
My friend Janina recommended this to me after I had read Brande’s other book Fat Cat and absolutely loved it and I must say that this was a really nice read as well. I didn’t love it as much as Fat Cat but still, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

You can see from the blurb what the story’s about so I won’t go into that any further. Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature does have an awww-worthy romance included but it’s not the thing the story mostly revolves around. IMO, the main topic is how to
Feb 06, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: young-adult
I really wanted to like this book.

I thought that it was going to be so much more then what it was...

But it wasn't.

You see, I was hoping for this nice story about how a (seemingly) Christian girl found a way to defend her faith and what she's believed all her life. You know, like, Live Out Loud or something! Instead, I watched as Mena (who overall was a very believable character to be sure) learned about and then believed in something that I absolutely do not agree with.

As far as characters go,
Sep 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: realistic fiction, soul searching, etc.
Shelves: teen-lit-read
This totally takes a spot in my top 5 for 2007! (This coming from the guy who doesn't seriously practice a religion or affiliate himself with any church, herd, or mob!) Absolutely amazing, touching, funny, thought Brande presents us with a girl's struggle to remain faithful to her personal Christian beliefs while:
a) learning for herself that science and religion can mix.
b) coming to terms with the fact that the Christian clique at her school (her old gang) certainly doesn't act
John Egbert
I recognized the cover of this book at the library and decided to pick it up. I didn't have anything else to do, so I read it immediately.

I, ack, love this book. Love it like "I would propose to this book if it was a person" love. But that's just it, I loved this book, which is why I gave it five stars. I think it's amazing. But...alas, it's not that great of a book.

There is lots of lecturing, first of all. Which didn't really bother me because what the book was lecturing wasn't bad, but it's
Jan 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this book in the end. Some personal background...I'm a Christian with a degree in Zoology whose favorite class at the Christian University I attended was Evolution. So, I suspected up front, that I'd either love or hate Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature.

For the first half of the book, I felt like the characters were too one dimensional... (evil, uptight, judgmental Christian pastor and kids... smart, cool, savvy science teacher... mean,
Robin Brande has definitely become one of my favourite authors with this book. I loved her second novel, Fat Cat, and her debut, Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature, was great as well.

Mena believes she did the right thing - but the right thing got her kicked out of church, made her former friends hate her and caused her parents to stop talking to her altogether. Not the best situation to start your first year of high school.
The only bright spot is Mena's biology class and her lab partner
Feb 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I just finished this book, devouring it in one sitting. I loved several things about Evolution, Me and other Freaks of Nature: first, that it made me think, second, that I could relate to it and third, that there was a cute, funny, nerdy guy in it. But this wasn’t just a light teen book-this book had real stuff in it-stuff that makes you think and question your own beliefs (always a good thing, in my opinion) so you come to understand WHY you believe what you believe in. All the characters in ...more
Apr 11, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2012
Before I start my rant, let me give credit where credit is due.
The main characters are fairly interesting. There are churches like the one portrayed in the book (though I’ve only heard of them). There are Christians (or at least professing Christians) who believe in Evolution.

That being said, here are my problems with this book. (Now, I waited some time before writing this so it didn’t turn into a flame review, so some details may now have escaped me.)

1. The false dichotomy. Brande sets the
Dec 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. So much so that I'm planning to buy it so I can reread it often. It's a YA book about a Christian girl and her struggles to reconcile what she believes about God and what she learns about evolution in her high school biology class. Since I love science and I'm religious, this has always been an interesting subject to me.

My favorite passage came towards the end. Mena (the main character) is talking with someone about religion and evolution.

"I believe that God created the
Inhabiting Books
For those who haven’t read the book, here’s a very brief synopsis: Mena, an Evangelical Christian on the outs with her own Church, for reasons not made clear at first, starts high school as a social outcast, but getting assigned to Ms. Shepard’s biology class starts to change her world.

The book deals with themes of evolution vs. creationism, bullying, and prejudice. I was fascinated with Mena’s character growth in this very readable book. Sadly, I can foresee some Creationist-minded Christians
Feb 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-literature
Brande leads with a bit of a mystery: why, exactly, has Mena been banned from her church and ostracized from all of her old church friends? She's miserable, friendless and even her parents are giving her the cold shoulder... and yet she's not about to apologize for doing what she thinks is right. The new friends she makes, starting with her cute/geeky lab partner, Casey, are cool, smart, pro-active and exactly the kind of people her parents would forbid her to hang out with, if they knew. When ...more
Aug 18, 2011 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this more than I did. I am one of those people who happens to believe that science and faith should not be mutually exclusive. I believe in God, believe that this world was CREATED, didn't just happen... but I believe God used scientific principles to do that creating. Do I know HOW he did it? Of course not, but I think it is far more likely He "used" science than fought it. But besides that, I believe in evolution within the species, natural selection, etc. I also don't think ...more
Feb 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Girls (12-15) who enjoy romance or comedy
One of my favorite books I have ever read. It has something for everyone, romance, humor, conflict, and food for thought. While it centers around a religous topic, I think anyone of any religon should read this. It is definately worth reading, and while I at first thought it was going to be a chiche "high school girl" story, I was pleasently surprised.
It is the story of a girl who just entered high school. She is responsible for the sueing of half the people in her church, including her
Diana Welsch
Dec 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kate by: Teen Book Club selection
I chose this book based on the description, which made it sound like a good discussion book, from YALSA's Best Books for Young Adults list. The main character's life reminded me of a young person I know who has strict Christian parents who seem to want to shield him from the reality of the world. There is a whole subplot about the girl not having watched or read Lord of the Rings because it depicts sorcery--I find this argument against classics like LotR and books like Harry Potter so silly, ...more
Abby Johnson
Oct 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
High school isn't starting out like Mena had always dreamed it would. Her friends aren't speaking to her because she's responsible for most of their parents being sued. She's been excommunicated from her church because she did the right thing and put a stop to the evil things her friends were doing. Her parents aren't even exactly speaking to her right now because her actions caused them to lose a big chunk of their business clients.

The only bright spots in Mena's world are her new biology
Aug 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Brande, Robin, Evolution, Me, & Other Freaks of Nature, 272 pgs. Knopf Books for Young Readers; Language~PG, Sexual Content~G; Violence~G

What if all your friends, everyone you grew up with, and even your parents turn against you? What would you do? This is Mena’s life. This last Summer, Mena chose to stand-up against a movement in her conservative community to shun a former member who has announced he is gay. Her parents aren’t speaking to her, her pastor has asked her to leave the church,
Apr 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, 2012
Christian bullies. Does that sounds like an oxymoron? Not so fast. When someone is being physically harmed, taunted, cursed at (yes, from Christians) and otherwise abused, that is bullying. Even if it is from the supposed "good" kids, it is bullying. I was outraged that these kids behaved this way to a former friend as, even though it is fiction it feels very realitic. I wanted to ask these Christian kids about WWJD and if Jesus ever bullied anyone into believing. So I guess you could say this ...more
Dunja *a chain reader*
how was it?
Mena (our main character) did something, that she thought was right and as a consequence she became outcast from her social group. Her old friends hate her, new one are hard to find. Luckily she meets Casey her lab partner. Meeting Casey was crucial point for Mena, because from that point on she started to juggle between her parents and science project, and suddenly she became drawn into something crazy by Casey’s sister.

The story was interesting, issue controversial. Unfortunately I
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is truly amazing.....but first just a warning: if you are reading this in hopes of a well-writen review....STOP READING!!!!

Anyway this book is not superficial, it somehow manages to be "beneficial"(aka something your parents might like that you read) but at the same time so incredibly interesting and entertaining....

Okay, I do admit that I am a complete geek... but I really think that even the least avid readers would like this book, if they gave it a shot. I love the way this book
Feb 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, realistic-fiction
Mena is just beginning high school and frantically tries to get through the first day knowing all of her friends hate her, her parents are barely speaking to her and she is forbidden to attend church—all because she did what she thought was right. Add to that, science teacher Ms. Shepherd teaching evolution and things really get out of control in Mena’s life. One good thing for Mena is being paired with brainy reader and science partner, Casey, who proves to be a stalwart friend with an awesome ...more
Jan 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, 2008
This is a strong book for the younger YA set, grades 7-9 or so. It tackles some very contemporary issues of religion and the evolution debate, while also hitting on timeless issues of fitting in, love, when or if to challenge authority, and learning to come into your own. And it still manages to be funny!

I liked that Mena has a healthy respect for religion in general, and the pieces that are meaningful for her, while coming to recognize that her old church is too predatory, smothering and
Nov 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book certainly dealt with some interesting topics...religion vs. science and how to have faith as well as believing in science. I thought the author dropped the ball a bit though on the issue with the girl writing a letter to the boy who was badgered into almost committing suicide...this in itself was a whole novel and she never really delved into it. I was sad the parents never saw that she was RIGHT to send that letter and that they never saw their daughter as brave for confronting the ...more
Mar 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Great book about a faithful Christian teenager's struggle to form a universal theory of science and religion. Believable narrative voice, subtle commentary on religious hypocrisy, and a great love story to boot. The author manages to convey deep respect for and love of Christianity while still warning against the hurtful crusades that sometimes spring from misguided fundamentalism. I highly recommend this one!
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So I found this to be a book that makes you think. Like really think. It also makes an impression. Well at least it did on me. This is a story about a girl who grew up and church and is shunned for doing something that she believed was right. She wanted to help someone who she thought her friends had wrong. Not knowing that things would be blown out of proportion. Then the same people who shun her start a stupid protest against evolution. She slowly develops a relationship with her lab partner ...more
Penny Linsenmayer
Nov 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Mena's journey of exploring other ways of living and yet still being true to her religious convictions could be enormously helpful to other teens who may find themselves living in similarly circumscribed or restricted situations. Mena's parents, though well-intentioned on many levels, have given her a very sheltered life, and as a consequence, Mena is not terribly savvy on many levels. She has very limited exposure to pop culture that other kids her age have enjoyed. But Mena has enough ...more
Jun 22, 2011 rated it liked it
I was curious just from reading the title of this book but started it filled with misgivings, predicting it would be just another story criticizing the religious as close-minded drones compared to the more enlightened and liberated scientific mind. I'm frankly tired of today's media constantly stereotyping the devout that way.

In the end though, I was impressed that, though many characters are portrayed as narrow-minded religious fanatics, there are some religious characters (particularly the
Feb 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who aren't offended by Christian values or the argument against said values
Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature was a great book. The whole premise is one which I personally haven't read in a young adult book before. And I like how Brande focused on the aftermath of Mena's actions, and another serious issues within the Christian faith, that of evolution, rather than the initial issue (which I don't want to spoil).

Mena's characterization was strong. I felt she was portrayed honestly, and realistically. Mena is in a tough situation, and the reader is able to
Nov 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: realistic
Very interesting teen novel about the usual stuff--being an outcast at school because your friends have decided to snub you for something you did, meeting a cute new guy whom you start to have a crush on, dealing with a new school year's classes--but also a novel about a very big issue in contemporary society: teaching evolution and "intelligent design"/creationism in public schools. Ninth grader Deanna has been kicked out of her church and is hated by her former youth group friends, because of ...more
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Robin Brande is an award-winning author who writes in multiple genres, including fantasy, science fiction, young adult, romance, and nonfiction. Her young adult novels have been named Best Fiction for Young Adults by the American Library Association.

She is also a martial artist and martial arts instructor, designer, lawyer, entrepreneur, and certified wilderness medic.

Connect with Robin at:
“I'm proud to be a freak of nature.” 33 likes
“Maybe if I had to boil it down to one easy sentence, it would be this: I believe in evolution, and I believe in God. I just haven't worked out the details yet.” 23 likes
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