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Review: The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

The Adoration of Jenna Fox  
Author: Mary E. Pearson (WebsiteLJ)
Release Date: 9/1/09 (Paperback)
Publisher: Square Fish
Age Group: Young Adult (13+)
Source: Public Library (Local)
Overall Feelings: Highly emotional, heart-wrenching, & bittersweet!

Faster, Less Detailed Review:Mary E. Pearson's Adoration of Jenna Fox is a truly gripping novel, one that passionately appeals to the emotions. It has the power to make your heart weep, push your tear ducts into action, and question yourself. The novel displays profound, meaningful messages, some of which make you question your own character. It asks the questions, "How far should one go for their child? How far would you go? And at what costs? Would it be a matter of selfish need or selflessness? Is it right to go the farthest you can?" Reading this novel takes you into the deepest crevices of this black-and-white world, and helps you see the shades of gray in between. 
SummaryHardcover EditionAbout the Author

Set in the future on the west coast, California to be exact, the story follows--surprise, surprise--Jenna Fox, daughter of Matthew and Claire. She has just recently woken up from a coma and has not regained her former self. She has no recollection of who she was, who had loved her (family included), what happened to her before she woke up. The reader is taken along for the ride in uncovering the big mystery behind her strange memories, strange condition, and her family's strange behavior.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox is just what it says and more. It tells the tale of two strong parents who weren't strong enough to let go, let go of their miracle, their only daughter. These two adults more or less break not only the laws of the human world, but nature's laws as well. They essentially cheat death (how, I won't say)...and Jenna is the one that pays for their decision.

While reading, I was torn in so many directions. Can science and medicine really go too far? When is enough really enough, when technology can save lives? Is it right to go forward and stop what is the inevitable outcome for us all: death? Should a parent use any means at their disposal to save their own child? Or should they stop and say enough is enough and let go? Should parents have the right to decide their child's fate? See, these are all questions that this book presents to you, the reader.

I almost hate to say it, but I very much disliked Jenna's parents. Not so much because of the decisions they made, I mean I can sympathize and understand, but more toward their obsessive need to be in control. Their out-of-control over-protectiveness. And okay, maybe a little bit because of those decisions they made for Jenna. 

But, at the same time, when I place myself in their shoes, I can't say for sure that I'd do things differently. Partly because I don't have a child of my own. So, it's difficult for me to take a stance, to firmly pick between what's right and what isn't. This novel really had conflicting emotions beating at my insides.

Even so, I treasured three things: the unexpected romance, the discovery of identity, and Jenna herself.

Unexpected would be an understatement to surmise my reaction to the blossoming relationship between Jenna and Ethan. Joy surged through me, overwhelmed me, when I realized that there was some good, some hope for Jenna in her finding Ethan. Ethan is a character readers will get attached to, will love. He's gentle, but tough. Hard and soft. Protective, not possessive. Understanding, accepting. A shoulder to cry on, to rely on, and an embrace to drown in. He's just a beautiful person, and exactly what Jenna needs.

Though, even with Ethan, Jenna still lacks completion. And with the discovery of identity, the emptiness flees Jenna. I think she realizes that despite all she has become physically, what's deep down inside, what's in the soul does not fade. And all that's within is what makes a person someone, a living being with feelings, a personality, thoughts, opinions, and so forth. And for me, that was the most satisfying aspect of the book. 

Jenna has an immeasurable amount of strength, one that I admire and envy. Even with no memories behind her, she still manages to stand up for herself, push passed her fears to nip the lies right in the butt and bring to light the truth. Her relentless investigation of her former self, former life kept me on my toes because I didn't know what to expect, what secrets she'd uncover. And even after the big secret is revealed, little ones still manage to hide until she finds them.

By the time I got to the end of the book, I had prepared for the worst. But, surprisingly, I had been pleased with the nostalgic, sentimental ending. I think if it had ended perfectly, happily, then it would have taken away from what the book is all about.

And so, I tell you, my good book lovers, that The Adoration of Jenna Fox is a special read, one that I hope you'll all take the time to track down and read.

Thanks for reading!

The original cover is much better, I think.