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The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

The Adoration of Jenna Fox
y Mary E. Pearson

Publishing Information: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers: New York, 2008
ISBN: 9780805076684 / 9781427204431 (Audiobook)
: 376 p.
Ages: 13 & Up

Jenna Fox is a 17-year-old girl who awakens from a yearlong coma following a serious accident only to find her life is drastically changed thanks to technological advances.

Book Talk:
Seventeen-year old Jenna awakens from an eighteen-month coma to realize that she has no memory of the devastating accident that left her with a life and a body she no longer recognizes. Jenna and her family suddenly move to California to live near her grandmother, who is strangely hostile, and Jenna struggles to remember her previous life, her friends and her family.

Jenna soon discovers a complex lie that has been constructed by her father, an expert in biotechnology, who created a “new” Jenna with a new body and intellect to keep her alive after the horrible accident.

As Jenna struggles with the ethics of her parent's decision to keep her alive in a new body and mind, she fights to make her place in her world.

Subject Headings & Major Themes:

Medical Ethics
Science Fiction

Awards & Reviews:
School Library Journal Best Books, 2008
Texas Lone Star reading Lists, 2009
Texas Tayshaas Reading Lists, 2009
YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, 2009

Booklist¸ March 1, 2008, p.59
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, January 1, 2009, p.186
Horn Book Magazine
, May 1, 2008
Kirkus Reviews
, March 15, 2008 (Starred Review)
Publishers Weekly, March 3, 2008, p. 49 (Starred Review)
School Library Journal
, May 1, 2008, p. 136(Starred Review)
VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates
, August 1, 2008

Discussion Questions and Ideas:

  1. What time period do you think the book is set; are there clues to support your conclusion?
  2. Why are some pages of the book in grayscale and others in the standard white? What message do you think the author is sending?
  3. Discuss how you think Jenna reacts to the “adoration” mentioned in the book’s title.
  4. When Jenna finds out about “the accident” and what happened to her, what is your reaction? After reading her father’s description of what was done, would you want to be Jenna? Why or why  not?
  5. Which is the whole Jenna—the one before the disaster or the one after the disaster? 
  6. When does Jenna begin to feel comfortable with who she is? What signs tell you that she is beginning to accept who she is?
  7. At what point do you think scientists are using technology to play God? Who should be able to make the decisions to develop and use this technology--the government, scientists, individuals?
  8. Do you think that just because something is possible in science that we should do it? What should be used to determine what should and should not be permitted?
  9. The technology used in this story would allow Jenna Fox to live anywhere from two years up to 200 years. If possible, would you want to live up to 200 years? Why or why not? What could be some of the impacts on the environment if people start living longer?
  10. Stem cell research is being conducted to try and cure spinal cord injuries and some diseases. This research is controversial because of the source of the cells. If the cells come from adults, there is less concern, but if the cells come from unborn embryos, there is a lot of opposition. Do you think all types of stem cell research should be allowed? Explain your reasoning.

Related Websites:
Bioethics Resources on the Web - 
Bioethics Information Resources at the National Library of Medicine -
The President's Council on Bioethics -
EthicsMatters at CNN Health -
Online Bioethics Resources at the National Human Genome Research Institute -
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Bioethics -

(Courtesy of and

Escape from Memory by Margaret Peterson Haddix, 2003
by Peter Dickinson, 1989
Jacob’s Ladder by Brian Keaney, 2007
Kat Got Your Tongue by Lee Weatherly, 2007
Memoirs of a Teenaged Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin , 2007 (2009 RITBA Nominee)
Riley Park by Diane Tullson
A Thief in the House of Memory
by Tim Wynne-Jones, 2004
Tom Finder
by Martine Leavitt, 2003
Trigger by Susan Vaught (2009 RITBA Nominee)

Double Helix by Nancy Werlin, 2004 (2009 RITBA Nominee)
Double Identity by Margaret Haddix Peterson, 2006
Fleshmarket by Nicola Morgan, 2004
by Robin Wasserman, 2008
Star Split
by Kathryn Lasky, 1999
Unwind by Neal Shusterman, 2007 (2010 RITBA Nominee)

Other Books by the Author:
Pickles in My Soup, 1999
David v. God, 2000
Where is Max, 2000
Scribbler of Dreams, 2001

A Room on Lorelei Street, 2005

About the Author:
Mary E. Pearson is the author of two other novels for young adults, David v. God and Scribbler of Dreams. She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband and two daughters.

| ©2004 - Rhode Island Teen Book Award Committee | Aaron Coutu, Chair