by Robin Brande
I have to say, sometimes I have a hard time reading books that are set in high school. One of the big reasons is the romance. I never liked a single guy in high school and I pretty much never dated. So high school romance just isn’t pleasant. Another thing, I was an over-achiever who never wanted to be popular and I was almost living a college life (without the dorm silliness) in high school–school was about learning for me.
So when I started reading this, I was a bit skeptical. I’m not saying that I’m against any book set in high school at all. I’m not. I just sometimes don’t want to go back to high school, because, well, I graduated.
But this book pulled me in and kept me there. The characters were so much like how I view people and were so real to me that I could see myself in the book with them. I even had a personally clash with a certain character who was sort of like me, but different enough that she drove me nuts.
The main character, Mena, was a wonderful narrator and I enjoyed my time spent with her. She was figuring out life the way most of us figure it out–slowly, with many questions, few answers, and just trying to live one day after another. As I read, I actually started to clench up. This tension wasn’t relieved until I read the end. For me, the one part of the story, (spoilers, sort of) when Mena emails her teacher, made all that tension I had built up over the book simply go away and I felt relaxed again, as if I had been released from some great worry. The battle that had been raging in the book and in my own self was immediately resolved and I felt at peace. And I think I felt what Mena was feeling too. (end)
The book was personal to me and made me reflect upon my own religion, my own beliefs, science, and myself.
My only problem was the romance, but it was convincingly done, and that’s just because of my own experience.
Really good book, especially if you often think about religion, evolution, science, and creation. (another spoiler ahead) At one point, Mena says (I paraphrase), “I believe in evolution. And I believe in God.” That for me is the essence of the book and believing in both of those things is the most rational thing someone can do.