I was finishing up Mary E. Pearson’s The Adoration of Jenna Fox in my favourite local coffee spot yesterday, when the woman sitting next to me commented on the beautiful cover of the book and asked me about it. I agreed that the cover is gorgeous (just take a look at those colours and the striking design). As soon as I tried to tell her a bit about the book, I realized I couldn’t describe it without really spoiling it. That is because something happens to the main character of this novel that you will never see coming, and when you read as many books as I do, is it ever a treat when you find a story with a twist that takes you completely by surprise.
17-year old Jenna Fox is a mystery girl. After a terrible accident that put her in a coma for a year, Jenna wakes up remembering nothing of her past or herself. Everything is strange: the old cottage that her parents have recently moved into, her grandmother, Lily, who treats Jenna as coolly as a stranger, and her parents, who seem to be guarding many secrets. So Jenna starts watching home movies of her life to work on rebuilding her memories. But something is not right. Something will not quite fit. That’s all I will tell you because you’ll want to read it yourself.
That feeling, of something not being quite right, is so strong in the early parts of this book that the reader shares Jenna’s sense of unease. The pages practically turn themselves. The genre is a part mystery, part verse novel, part Sci-Fi, as the story takes place at some point in the not-so-distant future. It’s a story about searching for answers and identity. It explores how different forms of faith – in God, in Science, in humanity – can serve as pathways to self-knowledge.
The Adoration of Jenna Fox is begging to be read in teen book clubs. Begging. It opens up questions about the possible future science might bring to us and the ethical implications of these possibilities, the nature of love between parents and children, and it certainly makes readers think about forgiveness. I really loved this book. I’m not a great rereader of books, but I can imagine going back to this story again because I’d like to think about it some more.
Possible Pairings: The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood and Uglies/Pretties/Specials – Scott Westerfeld (futuristic societies), Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac (memory & self-discovery)
Take a look at a few other bloggers’ reviews, the website for the book, and a great interview of Mary E. Pearson too:
Teen Book Review
The Reading Zone
The YA YA YAs
The Adoration of Jenna Fox Website
Mary E. Pearson at Cynsations