Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Book Review: The Adoration of Jenna Fox

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson. (Grades 7+)

In a future America where overuse of antibiotics has led to the existence of super-bacteria that cannot be cured and genetic engineering has wiped out some species of plants, Jenna Fox was in a car accident. She doesn't remember the accident. In fact, she doesn't remember much of anything. And her parents aren't providing the answers she needs.

Jenna knows that they recently moved across the country. She knows that she used to have two best friends, but they're not around anymore. She knows that her grandmother seems to hate her, but she doesn't know why. And she knows that something fishy is going on.

As Jenna starts to remember more about her life, she uncovers exactly what happened to her. And she finds out just how far her parents would go to keep her from dying.

I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book from Amanda's giveaway and I devoured it immediately. I've read bunches of great reviews of this title and I was eager to sink my teeth into it. Why was I intrigued?

First of all, it's sci-fi with a girl for a main character. It seems like our local schools always end up giving a science fiction reading assignment and it can be such a struggle to find sci-fi that appeals to girls (if they're not already fans of the genre, that is).

Secondly, it's set in a well-imagined future America with problems that could really conceivably happen. It's future, but it's a future that seems so real that one could imagine it might not be that far off.

Thirdly, I've really been into amnesia books this year and this definitely has some flavors of that as well.

The book is totally gripping. The reader finds out what's going on as Jenna begins to uncover what happened to her. For the first half of the book I couldn't put it down because I wanted to know What Happened to Jenna?! I had my theories and they were partly right. For me, it was the perfect building of suspense, the perfect amount of clues and uncovered information. The answer wasn't obvious, but by the time we got there, it wasn't totally out of left field either.

So the first half of the book is completely suspenseful. The second half of the book was really intriguing because we get to see how Jenna deals with the information she finds out. She realizes just how much her parents wanted to save her, but she also figures out that she can make some decisions on her own. Her whole life Jenna was this perfect little girl on her mommy and daddy's pedestal, but now she can essentially start over. Will she want her life to be the same as it was? Or might she want to change some things?

I really, really enjoyed this book and the more I think about it the more I really like it. I'd hand it to fans of The House of the Scorpion or anyone looking for a great sci-fi read.

Read more reviews at The Well-Read Child, Becky's Book Reviews, Jen Robinson's Book Page, Reading Rants!, The YA YA YAs, and oh so many more... Mary E. Pearson was interviewed for the Summer Blog Blast Tour and wrote a guest post over at Teen Book Review.

Many thanks again to Amanda for holding the drawing and to Henry Holt for giving away copies! This'll end up as a prize book in our teen silent auction at the end of the summer, so the love will be shared!