Review: The Adoration of Jenna Fox

Review: The Adoration of Jenna FoxThe Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
Series: Jenna Fox Chronicles #1
Published by Henry Holt BFYR on April 29, 2008
Genres: Dystopian, Mystery, Science Fiction
Pages: 266
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

Who is Jenna Fox? Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a coma, they tell her, and she is still recovering from a terrible accident in which she was involved a year ago. But what happened before that? Jenna doesn't remember her life. Or does she? And are the memories really hers?

This fascinating novel represents a stunning new direction for acclaimed author Mary Pearson. Set in a near future America, it takes readers on an unforgettable journey through questions of bio-medical ethics and the nature of humanity. Mary Pearson's vividly drawn characters and masterful writing soar to a new level of sophistication.

Although The Adoration of Jenna Fox is technically a dystopia, its main focus is more on Jenna’s personal struggle with identity than on the society’s problems. The futuristic society presented is a terrifyingly realistic one where medical advances have made terrible and amazing things possible. It questions what medicine may be able to do and how much we should do.

The plot advances in longer chapters of dialogue and paragraphs of description. These chapters are enjoyable and capture the reader’s attention, despite Jenna’s somewhat distant narration. The short chapters, generally of less than a page in duration, interspersed with the other, struck me as largely (ironic) pretentious, overdramatic and unnecessary. While the story overall does a good job of bringing ethical questions to the fore and making the reader think, these chapters hit the reader over the head with the issues. Pearson should have more faith in the reader’s ability to figure some of the issues and questions out themselves.

Despite this weakness, I really did enjoy reading the book. It is quite short and likely exciting enough to hold the attention of reluctant readers. Dystopia readers will want to check this out, as will folks with an interest in ethical questions.

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