Nancy's Reviews > Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature

Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande
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's review
Jun 24, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: young-adult-interest, june-2008, own

After the taunting, teasing, and heartfelt, but misguided attempts of Mena's church group friends to convert a gay student to heterosexuality lead to his attempted suicide, Mena realizes how wrong they all were. While not a participant, Mena feels guilty that she did nothing to stop the situation, and she writes a note of apology to the boy in question. When he and his parents find out who the perpetrators were, they sue the families in question. In turn, Mena is excommunicated from her church, and ostracized by both her former friends and her parents.

Assigned to work with a nice, but very liberal boy as a science lab partner, Mena struggles with family restrictions: she can't go to a boy's house, even for school work, she can't watch the unchristian movies (Lord of the Rings trilogy) he recommends, etc., and kissing is out of the question since she's not allowed to consider dating for another year and a half. And when their science teacher starts the unit on evolution,and her former friends create a daily disruption in class, Mena struggles to find a way to hold on to both her religious faith and her interest in science. Her evolution into "Bible Grrl," commentator in her science partner's older sister's blog, and source of information about the goals of the church group for the school newspaper, reported by said sister, is revolutionary for Mena.

The resultant lies and avoidance of the truth ultimately catch up to Mena, and she must find a way to learn to be true to herself, and honest with her parents, who also grow somewhat more sympathetic as they realize what she's been struggling with.

Her science teacher provides Mena with a role model, as she sticks to her curriculum, explaining to the church pastor and the rebellious church group students the difference between scientific theories such as evolution, and philosophical beliefs such as creationism.
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