The Adoration of Jenna Fox, Mary Pearson

Recommended by: Melissa

I know that when writing a story is going well, everything seems connected, but it felt a little weird reading The Adoration of Jenna Fox right after spending an hour hunting for titles for my own story.  I was thinking of themes and words and trying to free-associate and when that failed, I went and read The Adoration of Jenna Fox with all the words still whizzing around in my brain.  The three primary ones – family, protection, secrets – as well as agency, actually – were remarkably relevant.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox is about a girl who has just woken up after a year of being in a coma, and she’s trying to relearn all her old skills and words and memories.  There are many strange circumstances all over the place.  Like the fact that her family brought her from Boston to recuperate, but they only moved here two weeks ago, like they somehow knew that she would be waking up from the coma exactly now.  And the fact that food has no taste, and how her grandmother is weirdly hostile towards her.

It was a good book.  The obvious revelation – I won’t say though you’ll figure it out anyway – gets explained halfway through the book, which I liked because it gives Jenna all this time to contemplate her humanity and the decisions she gets to make, and that was an interesting process.  I thought some of the characters weren’t fully explored – as important as Alyss ended up being, she was sort of a one-note character, and Dane never went anywhere much either.  What worked beautifully was the development of the relationship between Jenna and her grandmother, and the relationship of the pre-coma Jenna with her parents.  There was a most genuine and remarkable moment in the book when Jenna tells her parents – well, I won’t say.  It’s a good moment.  I am a ruiner of major plot points but not emotional moments.

My other complaint – I’m such a complainer! – was the epilogue.  It felt tacked-on, tying everything up – all these messy issues – in a nice little package.  The ending of the book came so abruptly, and then the epilogue happened, and then it was over.  Because I thought that the Alyss plot thread worked less well than the rest, I wasn’t thrilled about where that went.  The logical climax of the book was Jenna’s declaration of her own agency, but then it went round and had another high-tension moment and then BAM that was the end.  I don’t know.  I didn’t like it.

This was an excellent book nevertheless.  It explored themes.  I liked it so much I trotted into my sister’s room and gave it to her to read.  If my mother had been awake I’d have recommended it to her as well.  I love telling people what to read.  Thanks, Mary Pearson, for giving me this opportunity.

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2 thoughts on “The Adoration of Jenna Fox, Mary Pearson

  1. You know what I found most chilling? those little grey sheets in between chapters. It’s not that they’re so well written – they’re not – but they did have a haunting quality of dark and empty. And that was the theme that disturbed me most in this book – the idea that this could happen to someone. Like me. *shivers*

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