Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande
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.
This is not the first time I’ve discussed having a book on your shelf for literally years (I would say a good five for this one), only to finally take it down, read it, and be completely blown away.
As usual with highly-charged issues, I don’t want this to devolve into a discussion or intelligent design vs. evolution vs. a combo of the two. I just want to talk about this book, which happens to handle that subject with a delicacy and aplomb rarely seen.
Mena was the perfect protagonist for this book. She feels as we all feel….sometimes you can’t just stop life from battering you on all sides. She feels like crumbling. Routinely. She doesn’t consider herself to be a strong person. And she’s not. But there is strength in her ability to get up and go to school every day, especially when her parents are freezing her out, too.
Then, Mena comes into contact with some amazing, passionate, devoted people, and her life changes. She evolves, for lack of a better word. Mena learns that she is more than she thinks she is and that she can be whatever she wants to be. More importantly, she learns that there are sides to everything. That sometimes middle ground isn’t an illusion created by people who want peace. Sometimes it’s a valid argument and an even more valid territory to occupy.
All of the characters were well-drawn and complex, even Mena’s ex-friends. People can be misguided and hurtful, but it doesn’t mean they’re evil. They just don’t see any alternative to believing what they believe. They don’t see grey areas or middle ground or any validity in another’s viewpoint. But it doesn’t make them evil.
265 pages that completely blew me away. Whatever your opinions on the subject matter, pick this book up for a fun, exhilarating, and well-crafted read.