Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Ninja Reviews. . .Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande

I actually read this book months ago, but I love it so much that I talk about it enough to irritate my co-workers.

Mena did the right thing, but it got her kicked out of her church, it made her friends ditch her, and it has made her parents so angry that they barely even talk to her. Mena knows she was right in what she did, but the consequences of doing the right thing are almost too much to bear.

When Mena takes high school biology, she's not quite prepared for another opportunity to stand up against what she thinks is wrong. A group of students, along with their pastor, wants Ms. Shepherd (the biology teacher) to teach Intelligent Design during the lesson on Evolution, but Ms. Shepherd refuses on grounds of scientific principles. Mena isn't sure what to do because she's not sure what she should believe.

Author Brande takes an incredibly controversial subject and makes it easily readable. While those who do believe in Intelligent Design might feel a bit uncomfortable reading some of the things in the book, Brande does a good job of writing an ending that is fair for both sides.

Besides the controversy of the subject matter, there is also a little mystery (the reader doesn't find out for a long while exactly what it is that transpired to get Mena kicked out of church) and even a bit of romance. Readers should especially enjoy the characters of Ms. Shepherd (who always seems to know the right thing to say to those who challenge her), Casey (who is brilliantly funny), and Casey's sister, who can be a bit of a bully, but is genuinely good.

Recommended for teens 14+.

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