27 May 2013

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

I wonder if I should duck my head in shame that I've only just now gotten around to Mary E. Pearson's The Adoration of Jenna Fox. Back in 2008, just months before I started Beth Fish Reads, I read about this young adult novel on one of my favorite blogs, Seven Impossible Things before Breakfast. I immediately bought the audiobook and put it on an mp3 player. Now, five years and several mp3 players later, I finally plugged in.

So for the two of you out there who haven't yet read The Adoration of Jenna Fox, here's the premise: Seventeen-year-old Jenna Fox lives sometime in the future. It's after the big earthquake that changes the shape of California and technology is well advanced, but Jenna's America is not a dystopian one.

The book begins when Jenna wakes up after having been in a coma for almost a year after some kind of accident. She is struggling to regain her memory and get back her old life, which are made extra difficult because while she was still in the hospital, her mother and grandmother relocated her to the West Coast, leaving Jenna's father in their native Boston, where he must stay because of his work as a research geneticist. The more Jenna remembers, the more she senses something is not quite right--with her mind, her body, and her relationship with her parents.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox follows Jenna's journey to her reawakening to herself and the realities of her life after the accident. Pearson's world building is very cleverly done, especially because she set the time in the near future, in which people are coping with some of the problems that are today just beginning to rear their ugly heads, such as the effects of too many GMO products on the natural environment.

To keep from spoiling the story, I don't want to go into the characterizations too deeply. But I thought Jenna and her classmates reacted realistically to each other and to their circumstances. Pearson did a particularly good job with Jenna's grandmother, who is a little more traditional than the younger generations, and with the mysterious artist who lives next door.

I'm sure that many book clubs have discussed The Adoration of Jenna Fox over the years. The Macmillan website has a link to a reading guide with twenty-six great questions, ranging from the parent-child relationship to the future of technology. Teens and adults will find plenty to talk about after finishing this book.

I listened to the unabridged audio edition (Macmillan Audio; 7 hr, 44 min), read by the fabulous Jenna Lamia. Few narrators can capture the voice of teen as well as Lamia, and her talents shine in The Adoration of Jenna Fox, which is told from the first-person point of view. Lamia injects just enough emotion to allow listeners feel Jenna Fox's confusion and frustrations, anger and love without becoming overly dramatic. An audiobook treat.

Buy The Adoration of Jenna Fox at an indie or other bookstore near you.
Published by Macmillan / Henry Holt & Co., 2008
ISBN-13: 9780805076684
Rating: A-
Source: Bought (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).


Joanna Hennon 5/27/13, 7:09 AM  

I loved this, both for the interesting storyline and the characters. Oh and I agree, the audio version is superb. I didn't like the sequel as much, but that often happens!

Unknown 5/27/13, 9:45 AM  

Oh my. This was all over the place in the early days of my book blogging life. I'm not sure but I think I've even got a copy I mooched way back when burried at the back of the bookcase somewhere...

Definitely one of those I've been meaning to read!

SuziQoregon 5/27/13, 10:37 AM  

Ha! you're not the only one. It's been on my TBR list for years and I want to read it but I just haven't read it yet. One of these days . . .

Lisa 5/27/13, 12:12 PM  

I read this a few years ago. One of the things that impressed me was that while it dealt with the problems of young people, it didn't play down to teens, focusing on very grownup subject matters.

Nise' 5/27/13, 12:28 PM  

I read this when it came out and enjoyed it, but have not read any of the following books.

Sandy Nawrot 5/27/13, 2:08 PM  

I absolutely loved this book when I read it, but weirdly never read the sequel. What is wrong with me? I even have it! And don't feel bad...I've got audios on my iPod that have been there for YEARS. You have fun in NY with my Jill. Wish I was there with you!

bermudaonion 5/27/13, 2:45 PM  

I remember when everyone was reading and loving this book. I added it to my wish list way back then but haven't bought it yet. It sounds like the audio is the way to go.

Heather 5/27/13, 3:40 PM  

I borrowed thiis from a friend a little while back and am still looking forward to reading it.

Beth Hoffman 5/27/13, 4:40 PM  

I read this a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm sure Jenna Lamia's narration was utterly fantastic!

Megan 5/27/13, 11:02 PM  

That's funny, I just finished this book, and I thought I had to have been among the last few readers in the world to read it. At least I'm in good company, and it is an excellent book that I'm glad I finally rescued from TBR oblivion!

Heidenkind 5/27/13, 11:18 PM  

I liked this book a lot, too, even though I thought it lagged in the middle. It definitely provided food for thought!

chrisa511 5/28/13, 1:40 AM  

I LOVED the audio of this one!!!! The sequel is great too! I have the third one too :) Can't wait to listen to that one!!

Andi 5/28/13, 12:46 PM  

This is one I see and think "Oh! I want to read that!" and then I promptly forget. *sad trombone*

Michele 5/29/13, 4:09 PM  

Okay. So as it turns out, this book has been unread on my Kindle since 2008. I hang my head in shame.

Anonymous,  5/30/13, 8:28 AM  

I haven't read this one yet, either but it's been on my tbr for what seems forever. I think I will put this on my audio wishlist now; thanks to you.

Jennifer 5/30/13, 10:00 PM  

I'm part of the small club of people who haven't read this. But after reading your review, I'm going to be adding it to my list!

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