Friday, June 11, 2010

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

The Adoration of Jenna Fox

Mary E. Pearson

SUMMARY: A seventeen-year-old girl has just woken up from a yearlong coma, the result of a horrific accident from which she is still recuperating. At least this is what she been told. Jenna Fox woke without remembering her life or her name; there are strange gaps in her vocabulary yet her knowledge of history, literature, and science seems unnaturally detailed. Jenna’s only connection to her mysterious past is the series of home videos recording the first sixteen years of her life that her tense mother and absent father have instructed her to watch. But soon Jenna’s memories begin to resurface and she starts to ask questions no one seems willing to answer. Can she really be the same person as the carefree girl in the videos? What actually happened after the accident? Why will no one speak about the important event itself? What have her parents risked to save their precious child?

ONESMARTCUPCAKE THINKS: I need to make a confession. You know the whole ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ thing? I totally ignore that rule in many situations. While I will never give up on a book because it has an uninteresting cover, I will consistently at least pick up a book based on my interest in its cover or title. The Adoration of Jenna Fox first caught my eye in this precise fashion. I had seen the title somewhere and then saw the cover and was totally caught by the neat cover art. But it was the addictive mystery that kept me reading once I opened the cover.

I liked The Adoration of Jenna Fox. The suspense and slow revelation of the primary mystery kept me turning the pages. The premise allows Pearson to provoke fascinating and frighteningly current questions about the technological rush to beat death, scientific and medical ethics, and the definitions of humanity. Additionally, I quite like Jenna. Her struggle to understand herself is filled with an earnestness, fear, and uncertainty that would seem familiar to any teenager and anyone who remembers being one; while most seventeen-year-olds’ search for identity takes place in less extreme circumstances, the emotions remain universal.

However, upon completing the novel my final impression was of enjoyment with slight disappointment. The ride had been thrilling but at times, a little hazy. While I found most of the secondary characters interesting, some (such as Dane or even Allys and Ethan) were underdeveloped in comparison with Jenna or her grandmother. Also, there were occasional events or plot points that lacked full explanation or connection to the larger narrative. However, I enjoyed The Adoration of Jenna Fox; it’s a sci-fi thriller with a touch of romance and medical ethics thrown in and the unique combination results in an addictive and thought provoking novel.


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