Mena knows that her first day of school will be horrendous, but she doesn't think it will ever get as bad as it does. All her old friends hate her, she got kicked out of church, and it seems that her parents don't understand the meaning of unconditional love. All of this because Mena did the right thing. One good thing did happen on the first day of school - Mena got paired up with Casey Conner as a lab partner in Ms. Shephard's Biology class. Casey doesn't know anything about Mena, which she thinks is a great thing. Soon Mena and Casey have forged a friendship and Mena is starting to see that she has missed an awful lot because of the sheltered life her parents created for her. Casey convinces Mena that they must immediately start working on a project that hasn't even been assigned to them. Mena is skeptical at first and even has to lie to her parents that Casey is a girl, but it is all worth it. Mena realizes that the project Casey has planned has to do with puppies. Soon she is not only attached to the puppies but the Conner familyas well. At school life is still not great. Her old friends are still hip-checking her into the wall and they've started to turn their backs on Ms. Shephard when she says the word "evolution." Much controversy arises when Ms. Shephard starts her unit on evolution and many hateful words are shared. It seems many people believe that the school should teach evolution based on the Bible instead of Darwin's theory. Mena becomes wrapped up with Casey and his sister Kayla, in a fight to defend Ms. Shephard. As the conflict continues Mena realizes that both parties could be right. Will Mena find that happy medium where religion and science can live peacefully?
This was a great book. I loved how Robin Brande took such a controversial issue and turned it into a fun story. I also loved how Mena discovered who she was and who she wanted to be. In today's society people are partially shaped by what other people think. I thought that Mena did a really good job breaking free of all of this drama. The little bit of a romance going on between Mena and Casey made the book even more fun. Robin Brande did a great job creating strong characters that I felt like cheering on. This is a great first novel and I look forward to reading more books by Ms. Brande.