The Adoration of Jenna Fox
The Adoration of Jenna Fox
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Annotation: In the not-too-distant future, when biotechnological advances have made synthetic bodies and brains possible but illegal, a seventeen-year-old girl, recovering from a serious accident and suffering from memory lapses, learns a startling secret about her existence.
Catalog Number: #4740089
Format: Paperback
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Square Fish
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition Date: 2009
Pages: 266 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-312-59441-0
ISBN 13: 978-0-312-59441-1
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2007027314
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
The ethics of bioengineering in the not-so-distant future drives this story. Jenna, 17, severely injured in a car crash, is saved by her heartbroken father, a scientist who illegally uses the latest medical technology to help her. Only 10 per cent of her original brain is saved, but Dad has programmed her by uploading the high-school curriculum. She could live two years, or 200. Is she a monster or a miracle? Why have her parents hidden her away? The science (including allusions to the dangerous overuse of antibiotics) and the science fiction are fascinating, but what will hold readers most are the moral issues of betrayal, loyalty, sacrifice, and survival. Jenna realizes it is her parents' love that makes them break the law to save her at any cost. The teen's first-person, present-tense narrative is fast and immediate as Jenna makes new friends and confronts the complicated choices she must make now.
Horn Book
Jenna can't remember her past after emerging from a coma, but pieces of her memory begin to return as she recuperates. The novel is set in a future with advanced biomedical technology, and characters wrestle with the attendant ethical implications. With faith and science woven throughout, this provocative thriller is heightened by its portrait of a family under enormous stress.
Kirkus Reviews
Outstanding examination of identity, science and ethics. "I used to be someone. / Someone named Jenna Fox. / That's what they tell me," begins the hypnotic first-person narration. She woke from an 18-month coma two weeks ago, but she doesn't know how to smile or who her parents are. She watches recordings of each childhood year but they ring no bells. Why has her family brought her to a hidden cottage in California, distant from home and doctors? Mental flashes reveal a void of paralysis where "darkness and silence go on forever." Was that her coma? Voices call Jenna, hurry! into her ears—are those from the night of the accident, which she can't remember? Jenna recognizes that her gait is awkward and her memory peculiar (spotty about childhood while disturbingly perfect about academics), but asking questions provokes only furtive glances between her parents. Pearson reveals the truth layer by layer, maintaining taut suspense and psychological realism as she probes philosophical notions of personhood. A deeply humane and gripping descendent of Peter Dickinson's classic Eva . (Science fiction. YA)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up Mary Pearson's novel (Holt, 2008) provides a thought-provoking and intriguing examination of what really makes us human and where to draw the line with fast developing technological and medical advances. Jenna Fox wakes from a coma more than a year after having an "accident." With no memory, she slowly learns to function physically, but she can't seem to connect emotionally. Written in a beautiful symphony of revealed memories, Jenna slowly begins to recognize that a secret is being kept from her and something complex and dangerous is going on. As she realizes that she essentially died in the infamous "accident" and was reborn through her father's controversial discovery. Jenna begins to question biomedical ethics and human nature. Narrator Jenna Lamia excels at evoking the haunting, yet detached way that Jenna begins to connect the events in her life. Combining science fiction, medical mystery, and teen relationships into an excellent package that is satisfying from beginning to end, this is a must-have for all collections. Jessica Miller, New Britain Public Library, CT
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 8 Up Seventeen-year-old Jenna Fox awakens after more than a year in a coma to find herself in a lifeand a bodythat she doesn't quite recognize. Her parents tell her that she's been in an accident, but much of her past identity and current situation remain a mystery to her: Why has her family abruptly moved from Boston to California, leaving all of her personal belongings behind? Why does her grandmother react to her with such antipathy? Why have her parents instructed her to make sure not to tell anyone about the circumstances of their move? And why can Jenna recite whole passages of Thoreau's Walden , but remember next to nothing of her own past? As she watches family videos of her childhood, strange memories begin to surface, and she slowly realizes that a terrible secret is being kept from her. Pearson has constructed a gripping, believable vision of a future dystopia. She explores issues surrounding scientific ethics, the power of science, and the nature of the soul with grace, poetry, and an apt sense of drama and suspense. Some of the supporting characters are a bit underdeveloped, but Jenna herself is complex, interesting, and very real. This is a beautiful blend of science fiction, medical thriller, and teen-relationship novel that melds into a seamless whole that will please fans of all three genres. Meredith Robbins, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School, New York City
Starred Review for Publishers Weekly

Sometime in the near future, Jenna Fox, 17, awakens from an 18-month-long coma following a devastating accident, her memory nearly blank. She attempts reorientation by watching videos of her childhood, “recorded beyond reason” by worshipful parents, but mysteries proliferate. Jenna can recite passages from Thoreau yet can't remember having any friends. As memories return, however, Jenna starts picking at the explanation her parents have spun until it unravels. Pearson (A Room on Lorelei Street) uses each revelation to steadily build tension until the true horror comes into focus. Even then Pearson does not stop; she raises the ante in unexpected ways until the very last page. Clues are supplied by the supporting cast: Jenna's father, who made his fortune in biotechnology; a classmate whose loss of limbs has turned her into a crusader for medical ethics; Jenna's Catholic grandmother, who is hostile to her. A few lapses in logic— if Jenna's father is world-famous and the family in hiding, why does she enroll in school under her real name?—can be forgiven in favor of expert plotting and the complex questions raised about ethics and the nature of the soul. Ages 14-up. (Apr.)

Voice of Youth Advocates
"Then what am I?" asks seventeen-year-old Jenna Fox when she is told the truth. When her body is beyond saving after a car accident, her father's medical team creates a new, "illegal" body infused with "Bio-Gel." Her brain is scanned, improved, and uploaded, but all that physically remains of the original Jenna is "ten per cent" of her brain-the "butterfly." She remembers the accident-for which she was blamed-and discovers the back-ups of her brain and those of her two friends who were killed. Jenna then makes a decision between betraying her parents or being loyal to her friends and between protecting herself or sacrificing her dependence on a machine-should things go wrong. Now living in California, where she will have a longer "shelf-life," Jenna slowly begins to make a new path for herself. Pearson creates an extraordinarily fine novel. There are clear explanations of how the new Jenna is created. The ethics of biotechnological advances are debated and seamlessly woven into a well-developed story. Pearson writes with acuity about the dilemma of parents who adored their daughter and could not let her go and of the complex relationships among Jenna, her parents, and her grandmother. Jenna's innermost emotions and recovered memories, including reliving the "hell" of days in a dark place, unable to express her wish to die, are conveyed in free verse on pages interspersed with her first-person narrative. In this beautifully written novel, Pearson deals with the heart of what it means to be human.-Hilary Crew.
Word Count: 62,853
Reading Level: 3.8
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.8 / points: 9.0 / quiz: 122297 / grade: Upper Grades
Lexile: 570L
Guided Reading Level: Y
Fountas & Pinnell: Y

I look at my fingers again, the ones that trembled and shook just a few days ago at Mr. Bender’s kitchen table. I bring them together, fingertip to fingertip, like a steeple. Each one perfect by appearance. But something is not . . . right. Something that I still have no word for. It is a dull twisting that snakes through me. Is this a tangled feeling that everyone my age feels? Or is it different? Am I different? I slide my steepled fingers, slowly, watching them interlace. Trying to interlace, like a clutched desperate prayer, but again, I feel like the hands I am lacing are not my own, like I have borrowed them from a twelve-fingered monster. And yet, when I count them, yes, there are ten. Ten exquisitely perfect, beautiful fingers.



Excerpted from The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Who is Jenna Fox? Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a coma, they tell her, and she is still recovering from a terrible accident in which she was involved a year ago. But what happened before that? Jenna doesn't remember her life. Or does she? And are the memories really hers? This fascinating novel represents a stunning new direction for acclaimed author Mary Pearson. Set in a near future America, it takes readers on an unforgettable journey through questions of bio-medical ethics and the nature of humanity. Mary Pearson's vividly drawn characters and masterful writing soar to a new level of sophistication. The Adoration of Jenna Fox is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.


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