Review – The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

adoration-of-jenna-fox“But with all the scenes, the birthdays, the lessons, the practices, the ordinary events that should have been left alone, what I remember most are Jenna’s eyes, flickering, hesitation, an urgent trying.  That’s what I remember most from the discs, a desperation to stay on the pedestal.  I see that in her eyes as much as I see their color.  And now, in the passing of just a few weeks, I see things in faces I didn’t see before.  I see Jenna, smiling, laughing, chattering.  And falling.  When you are perfect, is there anywhere else to go?  I ache for her like she is someone else.  She is.  I am not the perfect Jenna Fox anymore.”  (109)

Every once in a while, a blogger’s review will make me stop, slow down and say, “I’ve got to read that book.  NOW.”  Trish’s review of The Adoration of Jenna Fox over at Hey Lady! Whatcha Reading? was that  kind of review.  I immediately put the book on hold at my library and then immediately moved it to the top of my TBR pile.  I’m definitely glad that Trish made me pick this one up, because it was every bit as exciting as she said it was.

It’s the future, no specific date, but anywhere from 40 to 50 to 100 years in the future.  The world only looks slightly different from our own, but Pearson includes quite a few clues to illustrate the differences.  Jenna has just woken up from a coma, but she doesn’t remember anything.  Not her family, not her friends, not her old life.  Not only that, but there are other odd things going on.  Even if she can’t remember her life, she can recite the entirety of Walden and ramble off facts about any world event.  Jenna can’t leave the house, her grandmother doesn’t seem to like her (and obviously it should be a law that grandmothers love their grandchildren), and when Jenna scratches herself her parents freak out, even for just a small cut.

Pearson skillfully reveals information about Jenna’s past.  We learn things at the same time as  Jenna, either as she remembered them or as they are revealed to her.  The pacing is well-done and Jenna is an especially interesting character, past-Jenna and present-Jenna included. This novel is smart and expects its readers to be smart, and there’s nothing I like better in a YA novel.

“Turning the pages, feeling the paper, I wonder if any of the trees from Thoreau’s forest are still alive and wonder what Thoreau would think today if he could visit my small pond and eucalyptus grove.  I wonder if, unlike Thoreau, two hundred years from now I might still be able to visit my pond and forest.  When I turn the pages of the book and read the words and the spaces like these are not written down or uploaded into my Bio Gel.  These thoughts are mine alone and no one else’s.  They exist nowhere else in the universe but within me.

I’m stopped by this new thought.  What if I had never had the chance to collect and build new memories?  Before I can think what I am saying, I hear myself whispering “thank you” to the air.  I am thankful, grateful, in spite of the cost, to be here.  Have I forgotten the hell I traveled, or are these new memories a cushion softening its sharpness?” (pg 193)

I think out of context that quote might sound a little cheesy, but it really isn’t.  We see a lot of anger (understandably) from Jenna and it was a nice change from that.  There are a lot of interesting questions asked here.  To what extent would you go to save someone you loved?  What makes a person who they are?

I thought that this  was a thought-provoking, enjoyable and fascinating read.  I didn’t understand the difference between the shaded pages versus the clear pages and didn’t like their inclusion, but that is a small complaint.  MINI SPOILERS AHEAD: I also wished that Jenna wasn’t mostly absolved of all of her guilt at the end.  I didn’t understand why that  was thrown in there.  Maybe this wasn’t the novel for it, but it would have been interesting to see Jenna come to terms with that.  I’m still deciding if I liked that it came down to a peer pressure discussion. END SPOILERS.

I really loved reading this book.  I devoured it in under three hours on Sunday and I couldn’t put it down.  It was creepy, in a wonderful way, and asks a lot of questions about parenting and medicine in an engaging novel that doesn’t feel like it’s only about the questions.  Not only that, but it’s an engaging read that will hook you from the very first sentence.

Thanks Trish, for making me get my act together and read this one, I’m glad I did!

So go read this!: now| tomorrow | next week | next month | next year | when you’ve exhausted your TBR pile

Other reviews:

Hey Lady!
My Friend Amy
The Neverending Shelf
Life in the Thumb
Presenting Lenore
The Written World
Library Queue
YA Fabulous
Book Addiction
ReviewerX
Writing it Out
BookNut
nothing of importance
Becky’s Book Reviews
The YA YA YAs
A Chair, A Fireplace, A Tea Cozy
Teen Book Review

Did you read and review The Adoration of Jenna Fox?  Let me know in the comments and I’ll link to your post here!

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5 thoughts on “Review – The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

  1. So about a year ago, I put this on my list from a friend’s recommendation, though I knew nothing about the book. This summer, I took it off because I knew nothing about it. Then I heard it was a dystopia, and I’ve put it back on. One day, I’ll get around to reading this book, but it has certainly been on a rollercoaster as far as my TBR pile is concerned!

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