Who is Jenna Fox? Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a coma, they tell her, and she is still recovering from a terrible accident in which she was involved a year ago. But what happened before that? Jenna doesn’t remember her life. Or does she? And are the memories really hers?
This fascinating novel represents a stunning new direction for acclaimed author Mary Pearson. Set in a near future America, it takes readers on an unforgettable journey through questions of bio-medical ethics and the nature of humanity. Mary Pearson’s vividly drawn characters and masterful writing soar to a new level of sophistication.
I did not enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. I had no problem with the writing and I thought that the idea behind the plot was genius, but I felt as though these assets weren’t utilized to their full potential. I also have this vague feeling that this book was supposed to be thought-provoking, and maybe it is to an extent, but it kinda felt flat to me. Nor did I feel any connection whatsoever with Jenna herself.
Although this novel is set in a near-future America and has dystopian elements, it’s really more of a Science Fiction. The idea of a way to preserve human organs over an indefinite period of time was very intriguing. The technicalities were well explained and the medical-future of the world according to Pearson painted a very enthralling high-definition image on my mind. However, this element of the story was overshadowed by Jenna and her plight, which I guess was intentional on the part of the author. Still, I can’t help but feel that it was wasted. It could have helped to emphasize the plot to create maximum impact, but it didn’t.
As for the characters, I wasn’t able relate to any of them. I guess I sympathized with Jenna on a level, but not enough for me to like her. Sure, she was strong and admirably so considering her situation, but there just wasn’t any spark. This is probably the part where I say it’s not her, it’s me. I also felt like there were characters in this book that could have expanded the story’s dimension but were not able to, which is quite a shame, really. Dane, for example, the hot guy with mental issues, could have been used as a powerful anti-hero just to create an atmosphere of tension, but instead he was just making cameo appearances here and there, not making that much of an impression at all. In the end, he did have a significant contribution to the story, but I found it completely lacking and flimsy in it’s construction.
Overall I would say that this book was an interesting read. Mary Pearson’s writing style is laid back yet very powerful and the setbacks that I’ve suffered while reading Jenna’s story wasn’t quite enough for me to drop it. That is to say, it wasn’t the best book I’ve read, but it was compelling enough to keep a firm grip on me until I turned the last page. If only the author went for that extra-mile and supplied what was absent in this story (character building aside from the main character, utilization of plot potentials, etc), this would have been a better book. As it is, it’s not that bad. But it didn’t quite leave me with that giddy feeling that great books usually do.