EVOLUTION, ME & OTHER FREAKS OF NATURE
To listen to a recent podcast interview with all sorts of behind-the-scenes information about writing this book, listen here!
BIG NEWS!!! From the announcement in Publisher’s Weekly:
Proving that Hollywood’s interest in YA fare is showing no signs of waningâ€”and is scouring the backlist for moreâ€”producer Diana Ossana (Brokeback Mountain) optioned Robin Brande’s Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature, which Knopf published in 2007. The novel, Brande’s debut, is about a high school girl who becomes unwittingly embroiled in local controversy after shining a light on an organized push to “de-gay” a classmate she’s ostracized by friends, her church and her family. Eric Reid at William Morris Endeavor brokered the deal on behalf of Laura Rennert, at Andrea Brown.
Thank you, Diana Ossana! Not only did she produce Brokeback Mountain, she also won the Academy Award for co-writing the screenplay with Larry McMurtry. I am honored and thrilled that she’s going to write the screenplay for Evolution!!!
Great news!: Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature was just selected as one of the 20 books on the Texas Lone Star Reading List for 2009-2010! Wow! It’s a recommended reading list developed by public and school librarians from the Young Adult Round Table, intended to encourage students in grades 6, 7, or 8 to explore a variety of current books. Thank you, Texas librarians!
More great news! Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature recently won the Michigan Library Association’s 2008 Thumbs Up! Award for excellence in Teen/Young Adult literature. THANK YOU, MICHIGAN TEEN LIBRARIANS! I’m actually going to Lansing, MI next spring to accept the award. Whoot! Appreciate it!
Other recognitions, for which I am equally grateful:
Fall 2007 Book Sense Children’s Pick! Thank you, Book Sense and the American Booksellers Association!
Selected by the National Council for the Social Studies and the ChildrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Book Council as a Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2008. Thank you, NCSS and CBC!
And check this out! The Amelia Bloomer Project, part of the Feminist Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association, picked Evolution as part of their 2008 list of books that “affirm positive roles for girls and women” and “promote feminism to today’s youth.” Sweet! What a wonderful recognition! Thank you, Amelia Bloomer Project!
And even more! It was also selected by Borders as one of their “Original Voices” for last September! Thank you, Borders!
(Okay, we’ll stop now. All those exclamation points are exhausting.)
Mark Bradshaw, Watermark Books, for BOOK SENSE:
“Biology class is a battleground for a high school freshman who wants to embrace her Christian faith and her newfound love of science. Brande’s writing is authentic and sweet, and her heroine’s quest to think her own thoughts is quietly challenging.”
“Evolution vs. creationism, religion vs. science, the separation of church and state–Robin Brande’s buoyant story thoughtfully takes on debates both timeworn and current.”
VOYA (Rated 5 out of 5 for Quality/4 out of 5 for Widespread Popularity):
“. . . informs as it entertains, piques curiosity, has broad appeal . . .”
“Brande tackles fundamentalist thinking and the hot-button issue of evolution vs. intelligent design in her ambitious YA debut. . . . fluid storytelling offers thought-provoking situations and ideas.”
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL:
“The most impressive thing about this novel is the fairness and empathy with which Brande presents Mena’s heartfelt struggle to reconcile her belief in both God and in science. She addresses a difficult subject with grace, humor, and humility.”
Liz Burns, A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy:
“Once more, I have the difficult task of saying ‘this book is the best ever’ while not being able to give away too much . . . I will say that because of the sensitive way Brande balances a coming of age story with topical issues of religion and science, it’s on my best books list for 2007.”
Sarah Miller of Halfway Down the Stairs Children’s Book Shop, Rochester, MI, for Publishers Weekly Children’s Book Shelf Galley Talk:
“Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature is a killer read, loaded with timely issues of censorship, religion and freedom. . . . Evolution has a voice that’s smart and sharp (a bit reminiscent of Melinda Sordino in Speak, yet respectful of the religion Mena still holds dear, and a cast of bold and brassy characters that will make you laugh out loud, all while dealing with questions of faith, loyalty, reason and freedom.”
Jennifer Hubert, Reading Rants:
“In Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature, Robin Brande explores what it means to have faith–in God, in nature, in friendship, but most of all, in yourself. This is one articulate, well-written debut. Bravo to Brande for writing such a balanced, timely tome that humorously and sensitively addresses the current debate between intelligent design and evolution.”
“. . . her depiction of a religiously inclined teenage world is skillfully portraited without stereotyping or over the top dramatics. Both science and religion are given respect and praise, even by the very teacher who wants to give her students the full facts on evolution. An open minded view that suggests that you can accept Darwin and Jesus without one cancelling out the other is presented and frankly, that’s a viewpoint which should be included in adult discussions on this subject, too.”
Jennifer Laughran, Not Your Mother’s Bookclub:
“Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature is as smart and unique a teen novel as I’ve read. . . . This is a story about faith and science and truth-seeking. Best of all, it’s important while never being dreary, funny and clever while never being mean-spirited or jaded. I loved it! And it made me have even more of a crush on science! And nerdy boys!”
Banna Rubinow, River’s End Bookstore, Oswego, N.Y.:
“The issue couldn’t be more timely: the teaching of evolution in public schools and the backlash from religious groups. But this isn’t an ‘issue book.’ It’s the story of a teen’s growing awareness and compassion, of the conflicting desires to be invisible and to take a public stand. As is often the case in teen lit, there are adult villains. But Brande gives us
some adult heroes, too — one of them an inspiring science teacher. This wonderful book celebrates critical thinking while telling a great story.”
William Coughlan, MotherReader:
” . . . this isn’t a story about heroes and villains, but about the rest of us, and about how we deal with conflict . . . . No, scratch that, this is a story about how an individual deals with growing up, with finding first love, with becoming aware of just how big the world is once she steps outside childhood’s protective boundaries. An individual through whom we can all remember our own such development (or, for younger readers, see it reflected in the present). And that’s what makes this book worth reading.”
Camille, Book Moot:
“In this family we know we have a great book in hand when one of us stops reading and says to everyone present, ‘Listen to this!’ I did that so many times last night, I might as well have read the whole book aloud.”