Monday, March 31, 2008

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

"I used to be someone. Someone named Jenna Fox. That's what they tell me. But I am more than a name. More than they tell me. More than the facts and statistics they fill me with. More than the video clips they make me watch. More. But I'm not sure what."

Jenna has just woken up from a coma. She was in an accident and initially can't remember anything at all about her life. The problem is when she starts to remember, her memories are things that she has no business her baptism and entire books verbatim. What exactly happened to her after her accident? She knows that her parents are keeping secrets from her and she's got questions. Questions that no one wants to answer.

This book is set in the not too distant future where people have backed themselves into a corner by meddling with the DNA of foods and people. Antibiotics are no longer effective and so virus plagues periodically devastate the population. There is a regulatory board that states no person may get more than 49% of their body altered. Meaning you can get organ transplants, get a new virtually real prosthetic hand, get neural chips - but 51% of you must actually be you.

Jenna knows that she is not the same Jenna from before the accident. But how much of her is actually different? What did her parents do to save her? How far is too far to save someone you love?

Blew. Me. Away. This book was sooooo good. It deals with morality and science in a way that is completely fresh and engaging. It deals with what makes a person who they are, what makes a person human (and there are some great contrasts with people who are more machine than people versus people who are completely human but are sociopaths - who is actually more human?). Post accident Jenna is not the same, but her fight to regain her life is completely spellbinding. The book is filled with great secondary characters too. Her grandmother Lily, the mysterious neighbor who makes art from nature, and Ethan a swoon worthy boy who has a past almost as checkered as Jenna's.

There is only one thing that bothered me. Jenna and her family move to California to sort of hide out, so why did they let Jenna enroll at school using her real name? Not so swift.

I'm positive this will be in my top 10 of 2008. I haven't read a book this good since King Dork in 2006.

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