The Adoration of Jenna Fox, by Mary Pearson

jenna-foxJenna Fox is in a major accident and lives in a coma for 18 months. When she wakes up, she remembers nothing. Her family is very anxious for her to get better, but Jenna senses something is wrong. She struggles to figure out what is off about her identity in a world where science has crossed many ethical boundaries.

I’ve see The Adoration of Jenna Fox all over the place and I’m glad I finally got to pick it up. It’s YA dystopia, but it’s less dystopia as in “government controlling the world” and more as in “advances in science are destroying humanity.” I don’t want to give away any of the plot points, though Jenna’s condition becomes fairly obvious within the first half of the book. I was really wondering how Pearson was going to stretch out this secret for the other half, and was glad when those secrets I suspected were confirmed/fleshed out right around the midway point of the book. The rest of the book dealt much more with ethics and where the line should be drawn between science and nature.

Several weeks after finishing the book, I’m still not sure what to think of it. In the first half, I really enjoyed the book. I had heard several people say it was too shallow, but I didn’t find it shallow at all. I found it very focused and I liked the character development and the natural progression of things. In the second half of the book, however, the plot started to unravel. I wondered if that was done on purpose, since Jenna feels her own world unraveling, but it doesn’t feel intentional. It feels more as if Pearson wanted to bring up too many different aspects in the ethics vs science debate, and none of them got touched on enough. It felt unfocused and scattered, and suddenly my brain was working in too many directions at once and I could no longer process what was going on. I didn’t like that.

Then there was the ending, a very ambiguous one that left me to wonder if Adoration followed a traditional dystopian end or if Pearson was simply undecided herself on which side of the argument should win. It disturbed me and I really didn’t like the ending. If I wasn’t meant to, then good! It was well done! But if I was supposed to be happy with it, that freaks me out a little bit. The ending fairly well horrified me.

I don’t know. In the end, I’m just undecided about this book. It brought up a lot of great issues, but I feel like it fell apart in the second half. I wish it had stayed more focused. Still, it kept my attention and I imagine I’m going to keep thinking about it for a long time, because the issues it brought up are very relevant even in today’s world. Science is already advancing over nature, from things that seem harmless (like engineering plants that will grow better) to more questionable practices (cloning, stem-cell research). Pearson presented a good picture of where we might be headed if we don’t think real hard about the decisions we’re making now.

About Amanda

Writing. Family. Books. Crochet. Fitness. Fashion. Fun. Not necessarily in that order. Note: agender (she/her).
This entry was posted in 2010, Prose, Young Adult and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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