Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Review: Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature

Author: Robin Brande
Publish date: 2007
Source: Classroom library
"Your best friend hates you. The guy you liked hates you. Your entire group of friends hates you.

All because you did the right thing.

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.

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.
" (Goodreads)

This is another example of a book I'd never heard of until we ordered it for school. It caught my eye as I was putting it on the shelf, mostly because of the cool cover. It was a pretty quick read, although I'm not sure if I necessarily liked it.

I liked Mena a lot as a main character and actually enjoyed most of the other characters. Casey seemed adorably nerdy and pretty awesome. Also puppies! I was disappointed in how Mena's parents treated her; I didn't think it was quite justified, despite what Mena "did." Ms. Shepherd was pretty kick ass, which I loved. Nice to see a teacher portrayed like that.

I guess my issue is that I didn't think the book would revolve so much around religion. I mean, yes, I knew it had something to do with religion since the blurb says that Mena has been kicked out a church, but I didn't realize what a pivotal role it would play. Had I been aware of that, I probably would have read the book differently. I felt like the author made the religious characters pretty typical (thinking LOTR promotes witchcraft?) and it seemed overdone in some parts.

That all said, I didn't dislike the book and think it will be popular in my room, especially with 9th grade students since Mena is that age. She grew as a character and it was nice to see her realize some things about herself. I look forward to book talking this in a few weeks when I get new students!

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