Thursday, March 19, 2009

REVIEW: The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

Adoration of Jenna Fox coverGenre: Fiction, Young Adult, Science Fiction
Pub. Date: 2008, Henry Holt and Co.
Format: Hardcover, 266 pages
Source/FTC Disclosure: I borrowed my copy of this book from the library. I was in no way compensated for this review and my opinions are my own.
Who is Jenna Fox?

Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a year-long coma, and she's still recovering from the terrible accident that caused it. Her parents show her home movies of her life, her memories, but she has no recollection. Is she really the same girl she sees on the screen?

Little by little, Jenna begins to remember. Along with the memories come questions--questions no one wants to answer for her. What really happened after the accident?


Well, it's no wonder that no one wants to answer Jenna's questions... It brings up a pretty big ethical discussion--is what Jenna's parents did to save her right? Moral? Human? Really loving? From the start of the novel, I thought it was pretty clear what had likely happened to Jenna Fox after her accident. Not down to the letter, but I had an idea--especially after some discussion that Jenna had with one of her classmates in the special charter school she was attending.

The discussion of medical ethics and bioethics is a big part of this book. The idea of Bio Gel is fascinating, if not entirely believable, but hey, this is a book set in the future, down the road from where we are now. OK, I hate giving away anything about the plot, but with this book it's rather hard not to. Pearson writes an incredible story--it's another one that grabbed me from the first page and kept me turning pages until I finished it. And another thing I loved about this book is the thinking that it provokes regarding said ethical issues. The ending (even before the epilogue) certainly provokes questions of the ethical nature of what has been done to Jenna and could be done to others.

Bottom line: I enjoyed this book. It was generally well-written, with a slightly different format instead of the usual chapter 1, 2, etc. The portrayal of Jenna is believable, though there are times when I wonder how she understands some complicated concepts but has to review definitions of simple words. I suppose that's Pearson's way of stressing what is really going on in Jenna's mind as she rediscovers herself. I've also never been in a coma for a year, so I have no idea what it would be like to try to function again after so long. Pearson also does a great job with the other characters in the story--you really get a sense of what they're like. I love how she frequently focused on what people's eyes say, as opposed to what may be coming out of their mouths. There may be a "sci-fi" feel to the story, but there's so much more to it than that--it's a study of identity, self-discovery, bioethics, relationships. I'd recommend this book to anyone.

 4 stars

Other reviews of The Adoration of Jenna Fox:


  1. I like stories that center around ethics (in general). Usually provides my brain with a lot to think about.

  2. This is another book I have on my TBR list. Great review!


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