Title: The Adoration of Jenna Fox
Author: Mary E. Pearson
No. of Pages: 266
Genre: Science Fiction
“Seventeen-year-old Jenna Fox has just awoken from a year-long coma—so she’s been told—and she is still recovering from the terrible accident that caused it. But what happened before that? She’s been given home movies chronicling her entire life, which spark memories to surface. But are the memories really hers? And why won’t anyone in her family talk about the accident? Jenna is becoming more curious. But she is also afraid of what she might find out if she ever gets up the courage to ask her questions. What happened to Jenna Fox? And who is she really?”
Thoughts: The Adoration of Jenna Fox is an unusual combination of story and morality lesson. While the story is geared towards a younger crowd, the morality lessons are subtle but complicated enough to be most effective for older, more adult readers. The resulting juxtaposition makes for an eerily compelling story that appeals to all generations while making it one that can easily be re-read without losing any of its impact.
The majority of the story revolves around Jenna as she struggles to rediscover who she is and her place within her sphere of influence. What follows is a fairly typical coming-of-age story as Jenna uncovers the truth surrounding the accident and her recovery and eventually finds her voice and the strength to make herself be heard. This part of the story is neither horrible nor overly well-done. It is standard young adult fare.
What makes The Adoration of Jenna Fox rise to the top is the ethics discussions that ensues while Jenna is re-discovering herself. At issue is the idea of the existence of humanity and where to draw the line medically when it comes to artificial limbs, organs, and the like. Of even more interest to older readers with children is the discussion of just how far a parent would be willing to go to save the life of a child. If anything was possible, should one take rescue efforts to the extreme? Should we draw a line between what is possible versus what is acceptable? As medical technology advances, society will have to address questions like this. Ms. Pearson puts a very empathetic face on such questions, forcing the reader to think of his or her own actions if faced with similar situations.
The Adoration of Jenna Fox is a hybridized coming-of-age, futuristic novel with very real questions about the feasibility versus the acceptability of the use of technology to advance humankind. Its very nature broadens its appeal to a wide audience, making it one of the rare novels that allows for parents to read it together with their teenagers. While it was not one of my favorites, I can see its appeal to others. The ethical debates alone are worth the read.
Acknowledgements: Mine. All mine.