J’adore The Adoration of Jenna Fox

Many books have kept me up until sunrise when I was a child and a teenager. My parents knew of my habit to slip a book under my shirt at dinner time. My math teacher asked me more than once to put my book down and open my textbook instead.
I’ve not lost any of that passion when I start a new book but as I became a better reader I’m now reaching for the book that both delights and transforms me.
One did it last night. The Adoration of Jenna Fox holds the elements of a page turner and the material that bothers your mind long after the book is finished. The author Mary E. Pearson cleverly hints that the story takes place in the future: the last polar bear has died, the cars have a voice recognition ignition system, a major earthquake has stroked in California and viruses have killed thousands.
Seventeen-year-old Jenna Fox is emerging from a year-long coma after a mysterious accident. Waking up in a house she doesn’t know is only the beginning of a thriller with a literary flair. What happened to her two best friends? Did they die too? And what is this accident anyway? Pearson’s writing is concise yet poetic. Her choice of active verbs gives life to her sentences. The characters are fully fleshed with a human balance of flaws and qualities. Jenna is seeking for the girl she once was. Bumping into her mother she used to call Claire and now refers to as Mother and her scientific dad she calls Father, Jenna peels layer after layer to find traces of her past life through tapes her grandmother Lily gave her to watch. Lily refuses this artificial new girl but isn’t the Jenna she loved still the same underneath the Bio Gel that keeps her alive?
Was Jenna her parents’ miracle? So precious they have done the impossible to remake her entire body from scratch? Or was she the one who had set the bar so high she could only be perfect?
The book unfolds page after page with questions and twists subtly foreshadowed. Ultimately The Adoration of Jenna Fox tells of the search of self for a young woman who has lost everything but 10% of her brain. What is the soul made of? Is it acceptable to recreate life from death? Can faith and science cohabit? This book should be on any school list as it approaches with honesty yet care the eternal question of humankind. What makes us humans?
The problem with The Adoration of Jenna Fox is that it sets the bar so high for writers that for a week after I finished it I wasn’t able to return to the revision of my dystopia novel. The good news is that I know that only great reading leads to good writing.
Early and bright tomorrow morning I will dare click on Microsoft Word and dive in my own work with honesty, and the hope that I’ve grown as I read Mary E. Pearson’s well-crafted and thought provoking novel.

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