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Evolution, me, and other freaks of nature
Book
2007
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Trade Reviews

  Booklist Review

"As if it's not bad enough being ostracized by her church, her friends, and even her parents for blowing the whistle on an ugly campaign to reform a supposedly gay schoolmate, Mena finds herself embroiled in further drama when the unit on evolution comes up in high-school science class. Brande spares absolutely no sympathy for Mena's persecutors, but the tale is rescued from turning into a catchall antifundamentalist screed by providing an unusually appealing supporting cast. There's a classmate who introduces Mena not only to his unconventional family but also to the twin forbidden pleasures of kissing and Lord of the Rings. There is also a decidedly no-nonsense science teacher whose face-off with a powerful local preacher makes memorable reading. Readers will appreciate this vulnerable but ultimately resilient protagonist who sees no conflict between science and her own deeply rooted faith."--"Peters, John" Copyright 2007 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

Mena Reece's freshman year is not turning out as planned; she's been shunned by her friends because she blew the whistle on them. They all belong to an ultra-conservative church (Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings are banned from her reading list). Suspecting a fellow classmate to be gay, the group harassed him and after his attempted suicide, Mena sent an apologetic letter naming names. The boy's family sues the church and everyone blames Mena for the disruption, especially her parents. Then Mena is paired with Casey Connor, a science geek, and her life takes a positive turn. When the science class begins the unit on evolution, Mena's church insists Intelligent Design be included. As the church ramps up its demands, shy Mena finds her voice as Bible Grrrl, "defender of truth in biblical citations." Suddenly, Bible Grrrl's opinions are hot. Casey's friendship allows Mena to question her conservative upbringing, and the fact that he really likes her helps her outlook immensely. An appealingly humorous take on themes classic and new. (Fiction. 12-14) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
Your best friend hates you. The guy you liked hates you. Your entire group of friends hates you.<br> <br> All because you did the right thing.<br> <br> Welcome to life for Mena, whose year is starting off in the worst way possible. She's been kicked out of her church group and no one will talk to her--not even her own parents. No one except for Casey, her supersmart lab partner in science class, who's pretty funny for the most brilliant guy on earth.<br> <br> And when Ms. Shepherd begins the unit on evolution, school becomes more dramatic than Mena could ever imagine . . . and her own life is about to evolve in some amazing and unexpected ways.
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