Book Review: The Adoration of Jenna Fox
By: Mary E. Pearson
Published By: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: 2008
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Audience: Young Adult - Science Fiction
The Adoration of Jenna Fox is another science fiction novel. Odd since I typically am not a science fiction reader. I seem to be breaking that notion left and right in my reading this year. However, while entertaining, this one left me feeling flat when I was done. I wonder if I had read this one before reading others like Uglies and Skinned if this book would have rated higher with me. It wasn't a bad read by any means, but it didn't have a spark for me. I also had trouble finding Jenna to be a character I wanted to side with throughout the novel. There were moments I was on her side, but it wasn't consistent. The idea behind the novel was intriguing, but not intriguing enough to make it one of my favorite reads. I will also say it is difficult to review this one without giving spoilers so I tried to evaluate things other than just plot.
Jenna was injured in a horrific car accident that left her almost dead. Her parents are devastated by their grief and fear that she will die. They make a decision that will alter their lives and their daughter's life forever when they decide to harvest the viable parts of her body and put them into a new being. The science behind this seemed unbelievable to me, but it is explained in the book at length. While the arguments between ethics supporters and science supporters was interesting I don't think there was any resolution. I suppose that's realistic to real life, but I crave more tied ends in my reading.
I also am a big fan of happy endings and even though this ended happily it left me unsatisfied. It was too easy, too clean, too perfect. There was not enough resolution. It didn't seem to jive with the mood of the rest of the book. I don't understand how things could end up so neatly when there was so much conflict throughout the book. I also don't understand how things could have been resolved so neatly with Alice. I don't want to spoil anything, but I'd be interested to hear the thoughts of others who have read this one. It just did not seem realistic.
I think one of the major problems with this was the pacing of the novel. The action moved so quickly in moments and dragged in others. Another major problem was the characters. I couldn't connect with any of the main characters and I wasn't satisfied with the level of knowledge I had of the supporting characters. Ethan and Alice were the two characters I found most intriguing and I only go snapshots of them and their lives. Perhaps Pearson chose to do this because of Jenna's circumstances and inability to feel human emotion at an intense level. However, by making Jenna so robotic in her human relationships it made it difficult for me to understand her thoughts and emotions.
Ultimately, The Adoration of Jenna Fox is a novel of love, devotion, and choice. It is well written and may appeal to those who love science fiction and dystopian reads. However, I would caution readers to take some time between reading this and other books of similar plot lines.
As an audiobook, this would also be rated a 3. The narrator's voice wasn't too annoying, but it also wasn't very expressive. I wonder if I would have enjoyed the story more if I had read it on my own or the narrator had been different.
One Last Gripe: I really wanted to know more about Dane and what made him tick
My Favorite Thing About This Book: Jenna's time at school
First Sentence: The first week mother poured over the details of my life.
Favorite Character: Lily
Least Favorite Character: Claire
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.