Review Blog

Mar 25 2009

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

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Allen and Unwin, 2009.
(Age 13+) Highly recommended. Who is Jenna Fox? Is she the miracle that her parents call her? Why is she hidden away? When Jenna wakes up after 18 months in a coma, she can't remember the devastating accident that she was in, and what she can recall about the person she was from before her accident doesn't add up. Mary E. Pearson has written an engrossing story about medical ethics and what it means to be human. Set in the not too distant future, the book paints an enthralling picture of just where medical science could take society.
Teenagers will identify with Jenna's angst. Not only is she uncertain of who she is and how she got there, but she has parents who adore her, but who totally control her and seem to be keeping dark secrets from her. As Jenna gradually learns to do things and pieces of her memory come back, she is faced with the dilemma of working out how much of a person is needed to be human, and what makes a human. She begins to make conscious choices about what she does and who she wants to be, and it is this that reveals her humanity.
This is a gripping read and raises many interesting questions that could engender lively discussion about the limits of medicine in a world of scarce resources and where science should go. Toss this theme in with free will and parents' right to choose to keep their child alive, a fascinating heroine, some love interest and family tension, and you have a rivetting read.
Pat Pledger

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