17-year-old Jenna Fox was in a terrible accident that left her in a coma for over a year. When she wakes she remembers very little about her life before the accident. Removed to a remote location with her mother and grandmother, she feels disoriented and confused. How did she manage to recover from her life-threatening injuries? Just how far would her parents go to hold on to the child they adore?
Set in the future, this psychological thriller offers some very interesting scenarios for those who wonder where modern medical and scientific discoveries will eventually lead society. The story itself is well-written and engaging, but the real appeal of this novel is the skilful blend of scientific, medical and ethical themes with the more relational themes of identity, family dynamics and teen relationships.
The Adoration of Jenna Fox offers much food for thought on issues such as biomedical engineering, genetic modification of foods, use and overuse of medical treatments such as antibiotics, and philosophical questions such as what defines an individual’s humanity.
While it would be easy for a novel dealing with so many deep and complex issues to become heavy and ponderous, author Mary E Pearson maintains a sense of suspense and pace particularly fuelled by Jenna’s own desire to understand her situation and find answers to the inconsistencies she discovers as her recovery progresses.
I read this book in one sitting and it has come to mind several times in the past few weeks. I think it raises some wonderful issues for consideration and would be fantastic for both teens interested in thoughtful, dramatic fiction as well as being ideal for discussion in a high school classroom setting.
Title: The Adoration of Jenna Fox
Author: Mary E Pearson
Publisher: Walker Books UK, £5.99
Publication Date: April 2010
For ages: 13+ years
Type: Young adult fiction