The Adoration of Jenna Fox


Mary E. Pearson

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Jenna has been in a coma for a year. When she wakes up, she finds that she remembers some things but not others. Her parents say this is normal. But the things she remembers seem strange, like her encyclopedic knowledge of world events and the complete text of Walden. But shouldn’t she remember her favorite color or if she had any friends? As Jenna begins to remember her own past, things just don’t add up. Most people do not remember their own baptism when they were only two weeks old. Jenna’s parents keep her protected from just about everything while she is recovering but eventually, she convinces them that she should go to school. There she meets some new friends, including Allys.

Allys is passionate about the Federal Science Ethics Board. The FSEB is the government body that regulates science labs, bioengineering and health care. In Jenna’s world, science can do all sorts of things. Allys was given replacement arms and legs after she suffered a severe infection. She is glad to have them but not happy that her limbs needed to be replaced after a preventable illness. She believes strongly in the oversight of medicine. There are limits on how much can be replaced in a person, the limit is 49 percent. If 49 percent of you was replaced – would you still be you? Jenna is starting to realize that her body is not what it used to be. In fact, she is two inches shorter since recovering from her accident. How badly was she injured? How far did her parents go to save the daughter they love so much? How much of Jenna is really Jenna?

Discussion questions

Spoiler alert! Some of the questions contain key elements of the plot. Do not read if you don't want to know what happens!

  1. Jenna’s parents keep the truth from her. Do you think they really intended to tell her about her accident and her body?
  2. Is Jenna Fox "living"? Is she the same person she was before the accident? Is she actually a person?
  3. Jenna’s parents break the law to save her. Do you agree with the decision that Jenna’s parents made?
  4. The science that saves Jenna allows her to live a very long life. Would you want to live as long as 200 years?
  5. Jenna slowly comes to realize she is very different from other people. Do you think her realization and acceptance of her circumstance is realistic and believable?
  6. Should there be rules about what we can and can not do with science and medicine? Who should make these rules?

If you liked this book, try

  • The Declaration by Gemma Malley
  • Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • Deadline by Chris Crutcher
  • Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
  • The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson