Recommended for grades 9-12
“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” -Elizabeth Stone
Does this feeling as a parent give due cause to make life and death decisions for your child? Decisions that could forever affect the way the child feels about him/herself. This is one of the many questions to consider while reading The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson. The book chronicles the life of 17-year-old Jenna Fox, who has just woken from a year-long coma. She doesn’t remember a thing, her family has moved across the U.S., and she senses her parents are keeping something from her.
Written from Jenna’s point-of-view, even the text is structured to make the reader feel Jenna’s slight disorientation to the world she has re-entered. Short and somewhat choppy sentences, mixed with definitions of words Jenna has had to look up to remember exactly what they mean, her thoughts don’t relay any emotions quite yet.
Jenna soon finds out about the accident she was in that cost the lives of her two best friends. Jenna also finds out that she is only 10% of her original self. Only 10% of her brain survived the accident, the rest of her is bio-engineered. Jenna must deal with this overwhelming information. Her parents try to convince her it was the only choice they had, “Someday, when you have a child of your own, you’ll finally understand what a parent will do to save their child (Pearson, p. 137)”.
This book brings up many ethical issues. Jenna presents many of them: is she really human anymore; what does it mean to be human? To what extent does body reconstruction become too much? Would you make the same choice as Jenna’s parents when you have a child? Do you think parents can adore their child too much? Were Jenna’s parents right for keeping information from her at the beginning?
The book is suspenseful and thought-provoking. Readers will fall in like and sympathize with Jenna Fox’s character.
*Discussion questions and author interview included in the back of the book. Click here for book's website.