>I really like the trend I’m seeing in young adult literature, particularly the science fiction offerings. Authors seem to be making more of an effort to engage young adults in issues that might soon affect them as adults. Mary E. Pearson, like author Gemma Malley in The Resistance and The Declaration, targets bioethics in her new book, The Adoration of Jenna Fox. The young adults of today, taking technological advances into account, will need to ask themselves some very difficult questions when it comes to quality and length of life.
Jenna Fox has just emerged from a year-long coma without any recollection of how she got there. Her parents have traded her childhood home in Boston for a run down mansion in California. A veil of secrecy seems to cover most everything. The only link to her past is a series of video discs that her parents hope might jar her memory. Her nourishment comes in the form of pills and liquids; she is not allowed to eat anything. They tell her it’s because her digestive system needs more time to adapt after being in a coma for so long. As her memory slowly returns, Jenna begins to knit together the pieces of her past. She was indeed in a horrific accident. She wonders about the friends she sees in her dreams. She wonders why her parents are so protective. She also wonders why her grandmother, Lily, once her lone confidant, has become exceptionally distant. Jenna’s life AD (after disaster) is very different. But her parents’ hesitance, her grandmother’s distance, and a string of mysterious events and discoveries prove to be the catalyst for her uncovering the real truth.
Pearson balances the importance of a teen’s desire to fit in with a parent’s desire to protect and shield their children from the potential harms of the outside world. She also brilliantly plays both sides of the longevity issue. How long we continue to live and what we do to keep our loved ones alive is no easy decision. Jenna faces this decision head on and struggles with it in a realistic manner.