Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Review: Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande

For teenagers like Brande’s characters, the competing messages of faith and science and the desire to express themselves in a perceived hostile environment is confusing and scary. I loved how Mena turned to blogging as way to express her beliefs, a place where she could think out loud and include others in respectful discussion. There were a number of totally unbelievable characters including the pastor and the teenager who falls down on the floor praying for people. The characters did not need to be so over the top to get the plot moving. 

Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature is the first audiobook I’ve completed. Kaili Vernoff’s voice was perfect for teenagers with her ability to reach those high, fretful notes teenagers are found of. Her subtle distinctions between characters made the text easy to follow. The book is written from Mena’s perspective as though she’s writing in a journal. I had the chance to see the print version and the audio is not missing anything. After the story, Brande interviews Kennth R. Miller, a biology professor at Brown University who argues that a belief in evolution is compatible with a belief in God. 

I’ll definitely try an audiobook again in the future. It was a long listen and I could have read the book much quicker. But I did get some house chores done while listening so that’s a plus! 
Summary: "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.

Publisher: Listening Library, 2007     Duration: 6 hours 25 minutes     Pages in print: 272
Narrator: Kaili Vernoff
     Director: David Raplin
Rainting: 3.5 Stars     Source: IC Plublic Library  


  1. Thank you for this review: I hadn't heard of this novel yet...
    And I love your description of "those high, fretful notes teenagers are fond of". So true.
    Ken Miller always offers rich and intriguing perspectives too: What an interesting addition to a YA novel. Did it enrich the book or distract?

  2. Thanks Laurie! Personally, I found the Miller interview interesting. It brought context to the story. Brande also shared her motivations for writing the book. So, the interview definitely adds!