This is my favorite book read this year (and it would have been my favorite book read last year, but I read it on the second of January). I’ve already read it twice, when I really should have been studying for finals. I only hope that my teacher for freshman biology is a fourth as good as Ms. Shepard. Oh, yeah, I have a major crush on Casey. How can one not like him?

Mena Reece is a conservative Christian living in an extremely conservative town and she makes one huge mistake. Now her best friend Teresa, who wears shirts two sizes too small that say “Jesus Loves Me”, hates Mena’s guts. Pastor Wells hates Mena, as well as all Mena’s old friends and the boy she thought she liked, and liked her. Worst of all, Mena’s parents are making her go back to school where she will start her horrible freshman year of high school.

And all this is because Mena made the right choice. Humiliated by even her parents, Mena struggles on through life until she meets Casey, a genius boy with an unnatural talent for making Mena laugh. Science with him becomes the best part of her day, and the afternoons working on her science project.

Except… Casey is a boy. Mena is not allowed over boy’s houses. One lie topples onto another, until Mena’s new life is completely entangled with falsehoods. There’s no way to tell her parents, especially with the Ms. Shepard controversy.

Ms. Shepard teaches biology to Casey, Mena, and 14 “back turners”, the kids who don’t listen to her teach evolution. Mena begins to worry, what if Ms. Shepard isn’t allowed to teach any longer?

READ THIS BOOK. Seriously, this is the most uplifting, realistic, genre-less book that I have ever read. How many books do you find about conservative Christians for evolution? Let’s count, Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature , nothing, nothing, nothing.

I am very biased towards this book because I am so much like Mena. Even though I don’t go to a church like her church, I retain the values that so many of Mena’s old friends lost. I never had a problem with Evolution and God, either, so this book is close to my heart.

Casey is now my number one fictional guy, just to let everyone know again. And, well, he’s almost unrealistic. At least I can’t seem to spot a Casey at my school.

There is a multitude of great messages in this book, and I find it very helpful. One of the best, to me, is “One should not lie to their parents, even when they think they are wrong.” Ms. Shepard also tells Mena, “Lying is for the weak-minded. If you can’t think of a truthful way to solve your problems, you’re not thinking nearly hard enough.”

This book belongs on my “favorites” shelf along with Shannon Hale, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. I think this is one book that I will remember for a very long time. It has already strengthened