I was hoping for a ‘smart’ story, with a character that, despite the issues in their life was moving forward, growing and learning. Not having read Scott’s earlier book, I was unfamiliar with her style and storytelling, and was surprisingly pleased with this gem of a book.
Emily is ostensibly a typical teen girl who has a series of issues that are becoming more common in today’s society: an autistic sister, an agoraphobic mother and having to learn the social coping mechanisms that are so unfamiliar since she was in a homeschool environment. If the social awkwardness isn’t enough – it’s a new school with new people, and everything feels new and different. Except her running – the one thing that keeps her grounded. And Emily is a runner: first away from the cloistered and confining boundaries of home and to new options, opportunities and a perspective on life.
Full of smartly inserted insets that use biology and chemistry to make points and add depth, Scott has developed a wonderful character in Emily, giving her depth and showing her growth as she learns to navigate the world outside her home, and developing new ways to relate and navigate the difficulties at home. The careful portrayal of her mother and sister add heart and a sense of honesty to both the emotional toll and the frustrations, from all sides. Learning and dealing with the social scene at school is wonderfully detailed, and gives an opportunity for the author to add in some fairly deep issues that are handled with care: neither becoming heavy-handed and preachy, nor passing them off as unimportant. From mental health to lifestyle choices, homosexuality and stereotyping, Scott touches on each issue with care, giving readers the opportunity to learn and understand more, while leaving them without judgment from the story of the ‘right or wrong’. Readers can learn, empathize, experience and start to understand the depth and difficulties in someone else’s life that may not be instantly apparent, and come out the richer for it.
My first opportunity to read this author and it is a story that I can’t recommend highly enough. While I did feel that there was a race to the end to wrap up several hanging threads, for the most part the text and pacing gave the characters plenty of time to develop and grow, with nice insets of friendship, learning and humor.
Title: The Evolution of Emily
Author: Kate Scott
Genre: Contemporary Sweet Romance -Adult, Teen Reads
Published by: Elliott Books
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ iTunes
Emily Charles knows how to run away. Away from her overprotective, agoraphobic mother. Away from her biology-obsessed, autistic sister. Away from her quiet sheltered claustrophobic homeschooled life. When Emily's escape plan involves starting her junior year at Kennedy High School, she realizes she's no longer running away. Now she's running towards. Towards her quiet thoughtful cross-country teammate, August. Towards her zany enthusiastic lab partner, Miles. Towards friendship, love, independence, and life.
Thanks to her sister's special interest in biology, Emily knows all about the birds and the bees. Boys are a lot more confusing!
Readers who enjoyed Counting to D won't want to miss Scott's second novel, also set at Kennedy High School.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.