starlady: Kazuhiko & Suu landing (fly)
Pearson, Mary E. The Adoration of Jenna Fox. New York: Henry Holt, 2008.

I read this book, which is quite short but packs an inversely proportional wallop, for [ profile] calico_reaction's book club, and all in all I liked it. I would unquestionably have never read it otherwise, though. 

In the near future, seventeen-year-old Jenna Fox wakes up after more than a year in a coma and must somehow fit the pieces of herself back into a coherent whole, as well as figure out exactly what caused the accident that changed her life irrevocably.

The book, while YA, is definitely on the sf-nal edge of the genre, and accustomed genre readers will see the big reveal coming from about page 1, if not beforehand, so the intrigue of the book becomes not Jenna's problem but what she does with it, how she finds out what she is now and how she decides who she is. I really liked the fact that at one level, despite the dystopian future trappings--viral plagues? check! end of antibiotics' effectiveness? check! transgenic plants and animals causing massive environmental damage? check! polar bears extinct in the wild? check! Nigerian-descendant female PotUS? check! okay, so the future isn't all bad--Jenna's story is only half a metaphor for the process everyone goes through in life and particularly in adolescence: figuring out who you are and what matters to you. I also liked that the narrative puts science and religion (as one might guess from the title) on an equal footing, metaphysically speaking. And I also liked that Jenna's parents are put under a microscope, in the way that most teens do but with an added edge.

I do think the supporting characters are somewhat hit or miss, though--Jenna's classmates Allys and Ethan are pretty believable (I like Allys in particular, though I do think she's a bit dogmatic at times) , but sociopath Dane in particular gets short shrift, particularly for someone who's supposed to be the person in contrast to whom Jenna defines herself. But Jenna's grandmother Lily, and her eccentric neighbor, are fully fleshed out, particularly Lily, whose reaction to the accident and to Jenna is diametrically opposed to Jenna's parents'. All in all, a thought-provoking read.


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