Book Review | The Adoration of Jenna Fox

The Adoration of Jenna Fox (The Jenna Fox Chronicles Book 1)

by Mary Pearson

“Faith and science, I have learned, are two sides of the same coin, separated by an expanse so small, but wide enough that one side can’t see the other. They don’t know they are connected.” 

“I used to be someone. Someone named Jenna Fox.”

Seventeen year old Jenna Fox awakens from a coma with no memory of the accident that put her there, or of her family. She did not wake in a hospital, but in an unfamiliar house, but then everything is unfamiliar. Struggling to relearn how to speak, think, and function, Jenna starts to recover in a strange setting.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox is book one in a trilogy.

The story is interesting, easy to follow and well written. Jenna’s confusion came through without being confusing to the reader. The story is steeped in secrets that unravel as time goes on. And these secrets are horrifying in true medical mystery, dystopian fashion.

I enjoy novels that make you think, and this is one that does. This book is good for discussion of many issues. The characters were believable and relatable. I felt the conclusion was satisfying.

SPOILERS

Jenna is horrified when she learns that her body is non-human, primarily made up of blue bio-gel, a substance her father invented. Ten percent of her brain is all that is left of the original Jenna.

After a terrible accident, Jenna’s parents could not let her go and devised a way to ‘download’ her mind into a static environment while they prepared a body. From Jenna’s point of view, this waiting environment is described as a dark, empty place where no one could hear her screams.

“Awareness
There is a dark place.
A place where I have no eyes, no mouth. No words.
I can’t cry out because I have no breath. The silence is so deep I want to die.
But I can’t.
The darkness and silence go on forever.
It is not a dream.
I don’t dream.”

Because of the extreme medical intervention her parents have undertaken, Jenna’s existence is ‘illegal’ and oversteps regulated medical limits.

In one part of the story, Jenna crosses into an area at a chapel she is not allowed. She also kisses a boy in the chapel, and the boy says a ‘bad word’ in the same scene. Jenna wonders if these things are ‘marks against’ her.

Jenna discovers her parents have kept the minds of her two friends who died in the accident and an additional backup Jenna in environments. The idea of keeping someone’s mind alive and actively trapped while their body is gone plays well on the fear most of us have of being trapped, unable to communicate our pain and distress.

If she is ever faced with charges stemming from the car accident, Jenna may need her friends to testify as witnesses to her innocence. This is why her parents have secretly procured their uploaded minds. Now Jenna must decide whether or not to let them go by destroying these ‘mind downloads’ and how to get into the locked room where they are kept.

There are religious themes throughout, with mentions of the grandmother genuflecting, Holy water, baptism and prayer.

Profanity/Sex/Violence

Several expletives typical of teens. In one scene Jenna uses a word she heard at school not knowing what it means.

Kissing between Jenna and a boy

Car accident, being burned in the accident, deaths as a result of accident, Jenna purposefully breaks dishes to see if she can override her parent’s commands, Jenna is accosted in the woods by a male classmate and fights back by grabbing his privates

Mature Themes and Issues

Definition of the Human Soul, Medical Ethics, Moral Limits of Medical Intervention, Quality of Life, Medical Decision Rights, Perfectionism, Searching for Self

In an interview, Mary Pearson said the seeds of this book were planted by the question of how far would a parent go to save their child.

I listened to the audiobook read by Jenna Lamia. It was well done and easy to listen to.

 

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