Sunday, February 17, 2013

Review: The Adoration of Jenna Fox

I cheated on this one, because I don't have this book in my library. Although, with girls coming next year and our need to have more books with female leads, I'm going to add it to my list of books to buy.

The original  hardcover, via amazon.com
Before I left the US, I loaded up my iTunes library with books on CD's I got from my local library. I justify any possible copyright infringement with the fact that I delete the files after I listen to the book, so I'm really just borrowing them.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox is the story of a Jenna, who had a terrible accident, was sick and in a coma for a long time, and just woke up with very limited memories. Except she has perfect memory of some things, almost like she has a textbook inside her brain. She lives with her Mother, Claire,  and Grandmother, Lily, in California, while her Father lives and works in Boston. Jenna is confused, trying constantly to remember who she really is, learning to integrate herself back into the world, and constantly haunted by the foggy memory of the accident that brought her to this point.
Lily, once the very picture of a doting Grandmother, also causes confusion with her barely contained loathing of Jenna. Also, what happened to Jenna's friends, why isn't she allowed to go outside on her own, and why does she seem to follow her mother's orders with a robot-like perfection? Who is Jenna Fox, really?
The paperback edition cover, via amazon.com

I loved this book. Set slightly in the future, but still dealing with things that seem all too possible in our world. With questions about medical ethics, environmental management (sometimes we should leave things alone), and conservation, it is thought-provoking without being preachy. The writing (although, like I said, I listened to it) was well paced, with natural dialogue. I especially liked the way Jenna's mind worked, she was struggling with bits and pieces of memories and life, and the pacing and tone reflected that very well.

I was actually disappointed to learn that they've now tried to make it into a series. It is a perfect stand-alone book, with elements of science fiction, realistic fiction, mystery, a little bit of romance, and some light suspense. Overall. I feel confident in recommending this book to anyone grade 7 and above.

LibraryThing review:

Jenna was in an accident, or so she's been told. She was very sick and in the hospital for a long time, but then she was moved to California from Boston and now she's fine. Except, she's not really. She can't remember everything before the accident. Her Grandmother, who used to love  her, seems to barely contain her loathing. She's not allowed to go outside by herself, eat real food, or tell people her real name.  And her memories that are coming back are too specific, should someone remember their christening in such vivid detail? Who is Jenna Fox, really?
 The Adoration of Jenna Fox is part science fiction story, with serious questions about medical ethics, and part a realistic fiction story, about a girl in a serious accident who now has to reshape her life. Jenna is a complex, funny, confused, and heartbreaking character. She knows something is different, but she can't quite understand what it is. Thought-provoking without feeling preachy, well paced, and dialogue that feels like a 17-year-old's. Students grade 7 and above will appreciate Jenna's predicament, her frustration with her mother, and will empathize with trying to figure out who you are.

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