Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature

Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature

4.4 39
by Robin Brande

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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


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.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
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Random House
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2 MB
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt


I knew today would be ugly. When you’re single-handedly responsible for getting your church, your pastor, and every one of your former friends and their parents sued for millions of dollars, you expect to make some enemies. Fine.

It’s just that I hoped my first day of school—of high school, thank you, which I’ve only been looking forward to my entire life—might turn out to be at least slightly better than eating live bugs. But I guess I was wrong.

I knew I’d be seeing some of these people today, but in first period already? And it has to be none other than my former best friend and the pastor’s daughter—two of the people who have cause to hate me the most.

Having Teresa and Bethany in English might not be so bad if they’d just ignore me, but at the start of class when Mr. Kuhlman called, “Mena Reece,” and I croaked out my “Here,” Teresa had to turn her blond, spiky head around and shoot me the Look of Death, and I got that combined feeling of needing to throw up and possibly pee my pants.

Think positive. Think positive.

Why didn’t my parents let me transfer? There are plenty of charter schools around, or they could have sent me to live with my aunt in Wyoming or with strangers in Alaska for all I care. But I know they want to see me punished. They pretend they’ve forgiven me, but I know deep down inside they hate me for writing that letter, just like everybody else.

It’s only been half an hour, and already I can tell this is going to be the worst day of my life. I don’t know why I’m so surprised. I knew seeing everyone today would be hard. It’s only been a month since they were all served with the lawsuit, and even though I’ve gotten plenty of hate e-mails and phone messages since then, it’s not the same as having to deal with these people in person.

I just didn’t realize I’d be so scared. It’s pathetic. What do I have to be afraid of? My conscience is clear. I didn’t do anything wrong.

No, correction: I did the right thing. And someday the truth shall set me free.

Just not, apparently, today.


Okay, at least second period wasn’t so bad.

Maybe the only good thing about going to New Advantage High School (motto: “Let brilliance find you”—whatever that’s supposed to mean) is they count yoga as PE. Also archery, tai chi, and kickboxing. But I’m glad I picked yoga. If ever a girl needs an hour between English and biology to chill out and breathe deeply and try to prevent her oncoming heart attack, that’s me. Plus, I don’t know a single person in my yoga class, for which I am truly grateful.

I wasn’t sure my parents would let me take yoga. Pastor Wells was on this funk last year about how chanting during yoga or meditation is idol worship, because you’re focused on a word or an image that isn’t God and you’re basically praying to it. He said the only acceptable way to meditate is to picture the Lord in front of you, his arms wide, a gentle smile on his face. Some women from the church even started their own class to teach us how to do it.

So this morning while our teacher, Missy, led us through the pranas and the asanas, I thought about Jesus the whole time. I pictured us on a hillside together, lying back on the grass while his flock grazed all around us.

I talked Jesus’s ear off, but he smiled and let me go on. And when I had unloaded everything that was on my mind, he gave me a hug and called me Little Sister and told me everything will be all right.

It will, won’t it? It felt so good to believe it.

Toward the end of class, Missy taught us some posture that I swear can only come in handy if you ever want to shave your own back. But our reward for pretzeling was that for the last twenty minutes of class she let us lie on our mats with our eyes closed, thinking our most peaceful thoughts.

I am in the woods, beside a calm, serene lake. The birds are singing. I can smell the pine. I am completely invisible. No one can find me. I’ve never heard of Denny Pierce.

And then the bell rang. Happy time was over.

I dressed as boring as I could today—plain jeans, a faded black T-shirt—hoping it would help hide me somehow. Right. As if I could walk even two steps down the hall without someone I know recognizing me and giving me the total Hairy Eyeball.

I kept my head down and plowed through, and had almost made it to my third-period biology class without bodily harm when someone hip-checked me into the wall.

I turned to see my former—don’t know what to call him, really. Crush? Pre-boyfriend? The guy I was stupid enough to like last year and thought I might actually go out with once I’m allowed to date?—snickering and snuffling to himself. Yeah, Adam, that’s so impressive. People must think you’re really cool for tackling some girl you outweigh by a hundred pounds.

But I didn’t say anything, of course. Just mumbled, “Don’t,” and hurried into class. Way to stick up for yourself, Mena. You showed him.

And then as if having Adam in that class isn’t enough, guess who else? Teresa, of course, because apparently having her in English just isn’t enough torture. For all I know, she’s probably in all my classes except yoga, and tomorrow she’ll transfer into that, too, just to make sure I’m living my own personal hell.

I grabbed a seat as far away from her as possible, but Teresa still managed to throw me a look like would I do everyone a favor and just die.

If the day keeps going like this, I might.

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Robin Brande has been a trial attorney, yoga instructor, black belt, entrepreneur, community college professor, Wilderness First Responder, insurance agent, outdoor adventurer, Girl Scout leader, and Sunday school teacher. Robin Brande spent her high school years in the make-believe worlds of books and Drama, and finds that she still prefers it that way. This is her first novel.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a strongly written, edgy, often heart-wrenching story about Mena Reece, a young woman whose whistle- blowing on her church youth group has cost her everything. Her former friends ignore or abuse her. Her parents resent her for endangering their business and standing in the community. When some salvation comes from her maverick high school biology teacher and a new, science-geek friend, Mena is forced to confront the people who she has hurt and who have hurt her. This is an astonishing first novel, full of heartache and alienation, but also hope and much clever humor. The characters are believable, and the love story that underlies the novel's drama is palpably bitter-sweet. Further, the book's setting - in the midst of the US school dispute over intelligent design - makes this an ideal book for young people struggling to define themselves and lends a broader, philosophical strength to Mena's narrative -- Highly recommended
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mena is starting out high school with no friends. Her so called friends deserted her after Mena did the right thing at her church group, but her pastor and chruch friends thought differently about her decision. So Mena was kicked out of church. But when Mena's science teacher has a lesson on evloution and she is paired with a friendly lab partner, Mena discovers just how much friendship and church means to her. Evolution, Me and other freaks of nature is an amazing book that has a great message. I connected well with Menas thoughts about everything that happens and her lab partner, Casey, was the perfect friend for Mena. I suggest this book to all types of people, even if you aren't christian. The book has a wonderful message!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was really well written and challenged the reader to pick what they believe in, science or religion. When Mena Reece wrote something that goes against her religion and results in the church being sued and her being hated by her friends, church, and family, she was challenged herself. Even though she thought she had made the right decision her church didn't think so, they thought it was totally against her religion and theirs. She starts school and nobody will talk to her or even look at her they just ignore her because they too had gotten sued. She tries to stay hidden from them so they don't hurt her or talk to her but that doesn't work, Teresa, her former best friend is in almost all of her classes. She finally gets a science partner named Casey who is a genius when it comes to science. They end up becoming good friends and always hangout together. When her science teacher, Ms. Shepherd, introduces Evolution to the class the religious kids refuse to listen and turn their backs. This challenges Mena to think about Evolution and how the evidence proves it but she also mix's in her religious side and made it come together as one. By: CJH (Carly)
JoanneLevy More than 1 year ago
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 this book are 3D and a lot of fun and I always like reading about smart, caring and inspiring teachers who take the time to make sure students are not just fed information, but are active participants in their own learning. Great job by author Robin Brande and I can't wait to see what she comes out with next.
Hillann More than 1 year ago
This book was a really good read for those confused about religion. Me, being agnostic, wasn't really affected by the religion aspects of the book, but some confused may feel differently. There is also a little romance in there for those who like a little lust in their books. I would recommend it. =]
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this it challge my mind
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a different read for me. I don't usually read stories where the main character is involved with the clash between religion and science and I liked how the herione dealt with her beliefs in both and became stronger because of her conflicts. I would've preferred her to have been harder on her parents though. I thought they were in the wrong too as much as the people they go to church with. I loved how Mena and Casey's relationship "evolved" at the end as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very entertaining. The comedy, sadness, and romance is all mixed perfectly! It really shows the feelings of an outcast. I didn't know who this author was but am glad I decided to get the book. Well worth it. Definitely looking for more books by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To girly and romancey for me
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't stop reading. I was only supposed to read 100 pages but I ended up reading the whole book. and I NEVER read! Its so beautifully written. Well done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
gabbi angstrom More than 1 year ago
Goooooooooood boooooooook. Hate the parents, love the argruements, love the puppies. Wanna eat up how cute mena and casey are. 201 pages. Buybuybuybuy! :D
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dachely111 More than 1 year ago
This story was awesome. It has romance, comedy and it's really cute. I never thought the book was going to be this good. The main character, mena is trying to find the balance between science and religion. On her first day of high school she gets a new science teacher and along with her new lab partner. Mena starts to see what her lab partner means when he says that their science teacher is the coolest and knows everything about sciene. And from there the story continues. Definetley read this book. You don't HAVE to buy it. you can simply request it through the public library, like i did, and pick it up there. JUst read it!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago