The Adoration of Jenna Fox

The Adoration of Jenna Fox

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by Mary E. Pearson

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She wasn't supposed to survive the accident.
But she did.

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She wasn't supposed to survive the accident.
But she did.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“* Raises the ante in unexpected ways until the very last page.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“* This is a beautiful blend of science fiction, medical thriller, and teen-relationship novel that melds into a seamless whole that will please fans of all three genres.” —School Library Journal, starred review

“* Outstanding examination of identity, science and ethics.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Readers will respond eagerly to this provocative novel.” —Kirkus Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy Special

“What will hold readers most are the moral issues of betrayal, loyalty, sacrifice, and survival.” —Booklist

“Fascinating and thought provoking.” —Kliatt

“This novel is truly unlike any other I have ever read and is a breath of fresh air in the often predictable world of teen literature.” —ELLEgirl

“This is an amazingly powerful, thought-provoking, just brilliant novel.” —Teen Book Review

“An extraordinarily fine novel.” —VOYA

“Gut-punch plot twists.” —The Seattle Times

Publishers Weekly

Sometime in the near future, Jenna Fox, 17, awakens from an 18-month-long coma following a devastating accident, her memory nearly blank. She attempts reorientation by watching videos of her childhood, "recorded beyond reason" by worshipful parents, but mysteries proliferate. Jenna can recite passages from Thoreau yet can't remember having any friends. As memories return, however, Jenna starts picking at the explanation her parents have spun until it unravels. Pearson (A Room on Lorelei Street ) uses each revelation to steadily build tension until the true horror comes into focus. Even then Pearson does not stop; she raises the ante in unexpected ways until the very last page. Clues are supplied by the supporting cast: Jenna's father, who made his fortune in biotechnology; a classmate whose loss of limbs has turned her into a crusader for medical ethics; Jenna's Catholic grandmother, who is hostile to her. A few lapses in logic- if Jenna's father is world-famous and the family in hiding, why does she enroll in school under her real name?-can be forgiven in favor of expert plotting and the complex questions raised about ethics and the nature of the soul. Ages 14-up. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
AGERANGE: Ages 12 to 18.

Seventeen-year-old Jenna Fox wakes from a coma and doesn’t know who she is. She has been involved in a horrific accident and is brought home to recuperate with her mother and her grandmother, two women she does not remember. In fact, she is not really at home; her parents have moved miles away to give her time to fully recover. And, she has the distinct impression that her grandmother is angry with her. When Jenna insists on being able to go back to school, she is sent to a charter school where every student has had some difficulty to overcome--some have emotional scars, like Ethan; others, like Allys, are struggling with physical handicaps. Jenna becomes friends with both, and quadriplegic Allys draws Jenna and Ethan into a political passion for strict medical controls. Gradually Jenna starts to glimpse her past life, the accident, and strange memories that don’t make sense to her until she is able to come face to face with the medical practice that has saved her. The novel is part mystery and part science fiction. Set in the future, it raises issues of biomedical ethics, suspended animation and the enduring human spirit. Jenna narrates, and we experience her confusion as she struggles to make sense of events she only vaguely remembers. Students will be intrigued by the medical treatments that allow her to recover and there is much to debate in terms of how far science should go in medical treatment. Is there a line that should not be crossed? This is fascinating and thought provoking. Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson
March 2008 (Vol. 42, No.2)

Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
Jenna Angeline Fox has ostensibly just awakened from a year-long coma, supposedly the result of a serious accident, and she cannot remember anything about her prior life. Her parents assure her that will change. They are living in a crumbling California house with her maternal grandmother, Lily, who seems inexplicably hostile, although Jenna feels sure that was not always the case. Jenna's memory does begin to come back, but in strange ways. She can remember things that happened when she was much too young to have clear memories (her baptism), and yet she cannot remember if she ever had any friends. Her parents have documented her life in hours of video recordings, and Jenna watches them in an effort to recover her life and herself. What she finds is that her parents adored her, almost to the point of obsession. Can someone love you too much? As a parent, what would you do to save your child? This is a speculative novel set in perhaps a not-too-distant future when biogenetics can preserve and even promulgate life. Science has run amuck, and millions have died or been maimed by antibiotic-resistant germs. The backlash has created government mandates about what some see as life-saving technology. Jenna's narrative as she gradually uncovers the mystery of her history and existence is haunting and compelling. The other characters—family members, neighborhood friends, school friends—are equally complex and believable. Teen readers will be drawn in because the story is well-written, it is well-paced, and it deals with many of the same relationship and existential issues that shape adolescence. But the story also pushes us to think about larger philosophical questions such aswhat is it that makes us truly human? Neal Shusterman's Unwind and Nancy Farmer's The House of the Scorpion examine similarly thorny dilemmas about the value and meaning of an individual life. This book would be a great catalyst for a discussion around science and ethics—about our responsibilities to one another, to the environment and to society at large. Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D.
VOYA - Hilary Crew
"Then what am I?" asks seventeen-year-old Jenna Fox when she is told the truth. When her body is beyond saving after a car accident, her father's medical team creates a new, "illegal" body infused with "Bio-Gel." Her brain is scanned, improved, and uploaded, but all that physically remains of the original Jenna is "ten per cent" of her brain-the "butterfly." She remembers the accident-for which she was blamed-and discovers the back-ups of her brain and those of her two friends who were killed. Jenna then makes a decision between betraying her parents or being loyal to her friends and between protecting herself or sacrificing her dependence on a machine-should things go wrong. Now living in California, where she will have a longer "shelf-life," Jenna slowly begins to make a new path for herself. Pearson creates an extraordinarily fine novel. There are clear explanations of how the new Jenna is created. The ethics of biotechnological advances are debated and seamlessly woven into a well-developed story. Pearson writes with acuity about the dilemma of parents who adored their daughter and could not let her go and of the complex relationships among Jenna, her parents, and her grandmother. Jenna's innermost emotions and recovered memories, including reliving the "hell" of days in a dark place, unable to express her wish to die, are conveyed in free verse on pages interspersed with her first-person narrative. In this beautifully written novel, Pearson deals with the heart of what it means to be human. Reviewer: Hilary Crew
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up

Mary Pearson's novel (Holt, 2008) provides a thought-provoking and intriguing examination of what really makes us human and where to draw the line with fast developing technological and medical advances. Jenna Fox wakes from a coma more than a year after having an "accident." With no memory, she slowly learns to function physically, but she can't seem to connect emotionally. Written in a beautiful symphony of revealed memories, Jenna slowly begins to recognize that a secret is being kept from her and something complex and dangerous is going on. As she realizes that she essentially died in the infamous "accident" and was reborn through her father's controversial discovery. Jenna begins to question biomedical ethics and human nature. Narrator Jenna Lamia excels at evoking the haunting, yet detached way that Jenna begins to connect the events in her life. Combining science fiction, medical mystery, and teen relationships into an excellent package that is satisfying from beginning to end, this is a must-have for all collections.-Jessica Miller, New Britain Public Library, CT

Kirkus Reviews
Outstanding examination of identity, science and ethics. "I used to be someone. / Someone named Jenna Fox. / That's what they tell me," begins the hypnotic first-person narration. She woke from an 18-month coma two weeks ago, but she doesn't know how to smile or who her parents are. She watches recordings of each childhood year but they ring no bells. Why has her family brought her to a hidden cottage in California, distant from home and doctors? Mental flashes reveal a void of paralysis where "darkness and silence go on forever." Was that her coma? Voices call Jenna, hurry! into her ears-are those from the night of the accident, which she can't remember? Jenna recognizes that her gait is awkward and her memory peculiar (spotty about childhood while disturbingly perfect about academics), but asking questions provokes only furtive glances between her parents. Pearson reveals the truth layer by layer, maintaining taut suspense and psychological realism as she probes philosophical notions of personhood. A deeply humane and gripping descendent of Peter Dickinson's classic Eva. (Science fiction. YA)

Jenna Lamia delivers another outstanding understated, yet absolutely riveting performance in The Adoration of Jenna Fox.
Horn Book Magazine

...Lamia becomes the transparent agent of Jenna's story: she leads the listener along that path by keeping her voice continually in the now, her nuanced, authentic teen inflection reflecting Jenna's newly won proficiency with language and her gradual decoding of the emotions and motives of her limited circle of family and friends. Lamia holds the rare gift of communicating not only the words on the page but also the punctuation and white space, infusing all with emotion. Listeners are taken beyond the book by the inclusion of a bonus interview with Pearson, which provides the gripping description of the author's driving force behind the writing.

[Lamia] has to be one of the best voice actors that I've heard, easily transitioning between different characters and helping distinguish between them, always clear and concise. Her contribution was certainly a benefit to the novel.

Narrator Jenna Lamia brilliantly brings to life one of the most empty -- literally -- young women in fiction
This novel is truly unlike any other I have ever read and is a breath of fresh air in the often predictable world of teen literature.
Teen Book Review
This is an amazingly powerful, thought-provoking, just brilliant novel.
The Seattle Times
Gut-punch plot twists.

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Product Details

Square Fish
Publication date:
Jenna Fox Chronicles Series, #1
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)
570L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

I look at my fingers again, the ones that trembled and shook just a few days ago at Mr. Bender’s kitchen table. I bring them together, fingertip to fingertip, like a steeple. Each one perfect by appearance. But something is not . . . right. Something that I still have no word for. It is a dull twisting that snakes through me. Is this a tangled feeling that everyone my age feels? Or is it different? Am I different? I slide my steepled fingers, slowly, watching them interlace. Trying to interlace, like a clutched desperate prayer, but again, I feel like the hands I am lacing are not my own, like I have borrowed them from a twelve-fingered monster. And yet, when I count them, yes, there are ten. Ten exquisitely perfect, beautiful fingers.


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The Adoration of Jenna Fox 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 252 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
What makes us human? How far would you go to save your child? What is ethically and morally right and wrong? These are heavy questions that the author will make the reader ponder long after the last page has been turned.

Jenna Fox has just woken up from over a year-long coma. She doesn't remember anything, but has fragments of memory that she is slowly trying to piece together. There are people there that say they are her parents, and another woman that is her grandmother. Left with the video disks of her life, she starts to watch and ponder "Who is Jenna Fox?"

There has been an accident, but no one will talk to her about the details. As she slowly heals, Jenna questions everything and starts to fill in gaps. After a little while of recovery, she pushes to go to school and begins to attend a local charter school. There she meets an odd assortment of classmates.

Alice has medical issues of her own, and starts to explain the federal ethics board to Jenna. Each person is allotted 100 lifetime points to be used for medical reasons. Alice has prosthetic limbs and explains that limb replacement is relatively low on the point scale. Other procedures would be worth much more. Dane is a neighbor but something seems off with him. When Jenna looks in his eyes, he seems empty. And then there is Ethan. He's hiding a dark secret of his own.

As Jenna discovers the world around her, the secrets and mysteries that are her life slowly start to be revealed. Remembering what Alice has explained about the lifetime points, Jenna comes to realize that there are even deeper secrets about her that she must uncover. Her parents have moved her from Boston to California. Is it to protect her from those that were involved with the accident? Or does it have more far-reaching medical and ethical implications?

Without wanting to give away the plot twists and hidden mysteries of the story, I will tell you that the issues Ms. Pearson raises will cause you to ponder how far science should be allowed to explore. As Jenna tries to discover, the reader will also be forced to wonder how much of us do we need to keep us truly human? Ms. Pearson makes the reader question if it's truly the flesh and blood that makes us human, or if there is something further inside that gives us our identity. Comparing the
lack of emotion that Dane has with Jenna's unwavering questioning of everything, it shows the reader that things are not always black and white. The majority of us live in the gray area that is between the two extremes.

Read THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX to find out what it means to sacrifice everything for love and how to really be human.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Adoration of Jenna Fox By: Mary E. Pearson Waking up after 18-month-long coma, 17-year-old Jenna Fox has no recollection of anything, not even her name. She feels no love for her mother and father; after all, she doesn't even remember them. Why should she love strangers? She is reminded of her past through her parents' verbal stories and home movies they provide her. Jenna doesn't feel comfortable in her body, which doesn't seem to work just right. Her hands don't intertwine together smoothly, and her classmates point out her awkward gait. Jenna wants to fit in again. She aspires to be the Jenna her parents knew and cherished. It is difficult, though, when all she can remember is bits and pieces of her life before the accident that sent her into a never-ending coma, most of which are insignificant. She wonders why she can't eat normal food, and why her grandmother no longer loves her. She wonders why she lives in California when her dad and her old house are still in Boston. She makes desperate cries in the middle of the night to anyone who will listen, "Tell me who I am" (29). With so much to take in so quickly, Jenna feels overloaded with information in an attempt to find out the answer to the most important question: Who is Jenna Fox? Taking place in the future, this science fiction novel explores the implications of today's medicine in the eventual future. In addition, innovative technologies advance medicine to new heights, some of which may cross the line. In my opinion, Mary E. Pearson did an excellent job crafting The Adoration of Jenna Fox. The chapters allow for the reader to easily follow the story, and each chapter smoothly transitions into the next. The storyline itself is one of a kind and keeps you gripped from beginning to end. The book contained no boring sections because every paragraph, every line, and every sentence was a piece of the puzzle I, as the reader, needed to figure out exactly who Jenna Fox is. While reading this book, expect to be surprised. You are taken along the journey with Jenna, and only find out what she finds out. This format provides for a captivating, page flipping book that grips you to the end. Whether you enjoy mystery/science fiction or simply enjoy reading, Mary E. Pearson's The Adoration of Jenna Fox is a sure winner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Adoration of Jenna Fox and it's sequel are two very detailed and mind-blowing books. Everyone should read these books, because they have a special way of capturing the reader's attention. These books change the way you think! (in a good way)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Adoration of Jenna Fox By: Mary E. Pearson There was an accident, an accident that had changed everything for Jenna Fox. In Mary E. Pearson's The Adoration of Jenna Fox, Jenna Fox grew up like any other only child. Her parents adored her and would do anything for her. Maybe even something illegal. In this book you get to be inside Jenna's head as she is learning to cope with the new life she has been given after her accident and how she deals with all this new information. You get to be right there with her and hear everything she hears and see everything she sees and think the way she thinks. After Jenna's accident her parents felt it was necessary to move Jenna from their home and life in Boston to somewhere in southern California. Jenna's mother Claire and her grandmother Lily dropped everything and moved without really telling anyone were they were going and why they were moving. The grandmother, Lily, in this book is very interesting but fascinating. She starts out not liking the "new" Jenna and ignoring her and not wanting to have anything to do with Jenna. But as Jenna starts to become more and more Jenna again, Lily opens up and is the one that is really there for Jenna. And Lily doesn't hold or hide anything from Jenna like others do. She tells Jenna everything like it is. I enjoyed The Adoration of Jenna Fox a lot. I love being inside Jenna's head; a thing that Jenna always thought about was why she has memories of things that don't seem very important memories. She would always try and piece them together. She once said "A bit for someone here. A bit there. And sometimes they don't add up to anything whole. " (231). As Jenna moves on from her accident, she learns more and more about what is important in life and what can just be left behind. I would really encourage anyone to read this book if you are looking for an easier book that makes you think ahead to what is going to happen next and try and figure out what else her parents are trying to hide from her, Jenna Fox.
Haley Pfeilsticker More than 1 year ago
I found myself strangely enthralled with this little story: the characters, the mystery of it all, the real feeling that seeps from every word. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it.
LadyHester More than 1 year ago
Although, this is not the most in depth story it is worth reading. The idea behind the plot is extremely thought provoking. What lengths would you go to as a parent to save your child? Technology is changing the world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How far would you go to save your child? What makes you,you? These are the things Jenna Fox has to learn...again. She wasn't supposed to survive the accident... but she did. Jenna's life turns upside-down when she wakes up from a year long coma in the so-called state of California that her parents moved her to from Boston during the coma so she can stay away from tne people that were involved. Jenna's dad isn't helping very much to here when he goes on a business trip back to Boston while Jenna is recovering with her mother, and Lily, which supposovly is her grandmother. But Jenna knows Lily, wait Grandma, doesnt like her. But mom says she is still in shock and has to recover herself, but Jenna isn't sure. When Jenna goes back to school she meets others with problems of their own. Jenna realizes that she is human, and what makes you human is whats inside of you and nothing can change that. You must read this book, it is very heart-warming story about Jenna's road to recovery. I loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was thoroughly impressed with this book. As soon as I started reading it I could not put it down. This story captures the reader and brings them along on this uncertain journey with Jenna Fox. This book is captivating and something like I have never read before. Mary E. Pearson does an excellent job of explaining, in detail, every thought or feeling of the "new" Jenna Fox. As the story begins Jenna does not know who she is and can not remember anything from before the accident. As the story goes we are caught up with characters and rooting for Jenna to find out the truth of her mysterious new life. The reader will not want this book to end because of the relationship developed with Jenna. As a first time reader of Pearson, I can honestly say she has caught my attention with this thrilling and mysterious novel.
Annibebe More than 1 year ago
Just know this.. After finishing this book, I went out and bought two more by the same author. Interesting and intriguing read.
spanish-lullaby More than 1 year ago
this book is pure genius. it keeps the reader guessing as long as jenna does. it's like the reader is on the journey with her. plus this novel brings up great philosophical questions like how far will you go to save someone? for those who like science fiction or even reluctant readers of sci-fi will enjoy this book.
Jamie Swenson More than 1 year ago
Best book ever!!
SoaringLove More than 1 year ago
The Adoration of Jenna Fox is a stunning futuristic story about a girl who went, mysteriously, into a coma for one whole year. Now, Mother (at least that what Jenna calls the women) makes her watch their home videos of what the old Jenna Fox was like... But, as Jenna learns more and more, The old Jenna Fox isn't someone she wants to be. As she makes new friends (and enemies) Jenna ventures out into the unknown. She has questions, too. Who was she? What were her likes? Dislikes? Why can't she taste? And why is there a blue goo underneath her skin?? Pearson is a smart, funny, and lovable writer... I will never forget this book! The Adoration of Jenna Fox is Gorgeously Stunning!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very scientific, great storyline.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Her parents are hiding things. That is what make sthis sstory go round, trust. This book is soo worth reading. I usually dont like Science Fiction, but this book and the Giver by Lois Lowry are my exceptions. I was forced to read for school, now I am forever grateful I was forced.
TheBookshelfRev More than 1 year ago
Profound and thought provoking, this book had me captivated from the start. It is such a different theme then what I am used to reading. It is about a girl that wakes up from a coma and doesn't know who she is and there is some funky things going on that she has to try and figure them out. I decided to read it because I won the sequel to this book, The Fox Inheritance, in a giveaway. I don't know if I would have picked it pu if I hadn't won the sequel. I am glad I did. I was pleasently surprised at how good it was. The characters really draw you in. The were well thought out and there was enough detail put into them that you could relate to what they all were going through. Jenna and Allys(I still really don't know how to pronounce this name if anyone who read this book knows how to pronounce it please let me know in the comments) are my favorite characters. They really spoke to me in a deep way. I can kind of relate to what they both had to go through. The one thing that I didn't really like was that this book was somewhat predictable. I could guess what was going to happen before it happened. Overall this book was amazing and I would suggest it to anyone to read. The ending was really perfect and I really like how it ended. I already started the sequel and can't wait to tell you guys my thoughts on that one as well. It is really good so far.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Our teacher read this book to us, and I couldn't wait for her to finish it. Their is a sequal to this book that I am currently reading, called The Fox Inheritance. If you want to know what happens to all of them after 200 years, you need to read the sequal. They are both really good books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I needed to read this story over the summer for school, and I really enjoyed the fast paced book. I believe this story is appropriate for ages ten to thirteen. It changed my whole outlook on what technology is doing, and I really think you should read it. My only issue is, the sentences are too instead of saying "She went shopping for shoes at the mall" the author would say,"She went shopping. She needed shoes." I don't know that just annoyed me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well -written and a quick read
milcaly rodriguez More than 1 year ago
this book is really good, i enjoyed reading it. the main characters is so conflicting with her surroundings. she discovers screts and lies and desperation form her family. as she tries to remember her past she is trying to build a new life as the "new jenna". but her parents want her to be the same jenna as she was before...i dont want to go to any further details but its a good book. the ending couldve been better but if u enjoys suspense and romance and it :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book reeled me in. It was absolutely fascinating but also horrific! When jenna discovered what really happened I was ready to cry! When jenna was angry, I was angry. At the end of the day, you have to come to the conclusion that this book is marvelous!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. I had to read this for school and I couldn't stop reading. I finished the book a little more than a week before my class. The one problem my clas and I have is that the ending was terrible. I recomend anyone to read this, but don't have high hopes for the ending.
GLW13 More than 1 year ago
This book was good, but not the best. I felt that the book didn't get to the point when it was the right timing, and it was pretty slow throughout parts of the book. At times, there was a part that I just couldn't put the book done! I would recommend this book to people who in join weird, and science based books. Also, I would recommend this book to people who are interested in future plans. I recommend that as a reader you should read this book or something close to science fiction to get a broader view of genres whe reading.
Kristin Hromowyk More than 1 year ago
This was a superb book. At times it could get a little boring but when you get to the good parts you wont want to put it down. It is a very interesting concept. Apparently takes place sometime in the future, a bit science-y, but not overly so. Characters pretty well developed. Many twists that are appreciated. I recommend this book.
Galleysmith More than 1 year ago
The plot behind this book is quite innovative, however, I'm not really able to speak to it as much as I'd like for fear of spoiling some of the outstanding revelations the reader is party too as the story unfolds. What worked for me - Pearson wrote Jenna's struggle for identity so profoundly. The hurdles of secrecy from those around her, seeking and navigating new friendships, the desperation to remember who she was all shaped how Jenna constructed who she was presently. I enjoyed the ethical dillema's Jenna's circumstance created. These dilema's affected every relationship she had as well as the nation as a whole. It was definitely an interesting aspect of the story that surrounded morality and values. Further it was thought provoking enough to lead the reader to question their own thoughts on the issues presented. I do feel like this would make an excellent book club read as there is a wealth to discuss. What didn't work for me - the end. I felt like the epilogue rushed to tie everything up with a nice pretty bow. We'd spent all this time in the messy aftermath of Jenna's accident and then we travel however many years after major revelations are made and we have epic scale closure. Personally I would have liked to have either seen a small progression in time from said revelations or, even better, read the story between when they were made and where Jenna landed in the epilogue. The tone. The tone of this story was quite docile and monotone to me. I think given the circumstances of Jenna's accident and the secrets being kept this choice made by Pearson was a conscious one. But because it was so flat I didn't feel the emotion as much as I would have liked. Further I think some of the urgency was lost when we learn some of the higher level secrets being kept from Jenna. Ultimately, Adoration of Jenna Fox was a good read that certainly makes a person think. It's one of those YA books that I feel could appeal to those who are not sold on the genre. It would make an excellent first foray for adults curious to experience young adult literature.
ReBeKAh_REaD_aLOT More than 1 year ago
This is a great book. i really like it. it makes you think about how hard it is for Jenna Fox in how she must discover herself. she doesn't know what to do with herself. I wanted to just skip to the end to find out what happened. It has a slow start to the book but once you get a few chapters into the book you just are amazed and also frightened about what happened to her. That's all I am going to say about the book before I spill the beans.LOL. I liked this book a lot!!