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Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

Summary: The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson was much more thought-provoking than I expected. A little more than a day after I finished reading it I am still pondering the implications and the questions brought up by this teen sci-fi read.

Jenna wakes up from what her parents tell her is a lengthy coma with little memory of who she is. All her parents will tell her was that she was in a horrible accident and that she is still recovering. But there are things that just don’t seem right – like why are they living in California now instead of Boston? Why does her father rarely come visit them? Why does her grandmother, Lily, seem unhappy with her “miraculous recovery?”

As Jenna’s memory starts to come back and connect the holes in her past, she finds herself with even more questions - questions that no one wants to answer. Who is Jenna Fox? What is she? Is she even human?

The Adoration of Jenna Fox can be enjoyed as a great read (which it is), but for those who enjoy a little deeper thought, it also brings up issues and questions that are important today, and could be even more so in the future.

One of the characters, Allys, is a victim of one of the many untreatable diseases that run rampant throughout the world of this novel. These diseases are blamed on the unchecked use of antibiotics – a problem that is already a reality. Allys has multiple prosthetic limbs due to the drastic measures that had to be taken in order to save her life. Could these antibiotic resistant diseases become the problem they are in the book? (Or is a better question “When will they become the problem they are in the book?”)

Organ transplants in the world of Jenna Fox are more accessible and less dangerous than in our world, but a limit is put on how much a single individual can have transplanted. Each organ or body part is deemed worth a certain number of points, and each person can only have so many points within a lifetime. Will this happen in our world?

The Adoration of Jenna Fox reminds me somewhat of another book that raises many of the same issues, Unwind by Neal Shusterman. (If you haven’t read it, you really must! It is amazing!) Like Unwind, The Adoration of Jenna Fox raises the question: What makes us human? What part of a human contains the soul, that essence that makes us who we are? It’s an unanswerable question, but one that is always worth pondering.

What makes us human?
What is acceptable use of technology?

Age Appropriateness:
10 and up

Areas of concern (content):
Foul Language: none
Nudity/Adult Content: very mild
Violence: none

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