by Mary E. Pearson
Jenna Fox survives an accident that she shouldn\’t have. She wakes up from a year-long coma not knowing who she is. Her family has moved her to a remote, secluded location- in order to facilitate her healing process, they tell her. She slowly pieces her life together, watching old family videos and gathering fragments of memory. But then she can remember things she shouldn\’t be able to, and pretty soon starts to figure out that there is something definitely odd about her situation. She is alone with her mother and grandmother, her father sometimes visiting. Why did they move so far from home? where are the friends she recalls having? and why are her parents keeping secrets from her…
In many ways the premise is so like Eva– I kept thinking of the other book and comparing the two. They both bring up issues of how we use resources, ethics in the medical field, and how one family\’s desperate move to save a child becomes a huge thing. In Eva it turned into a public spectacle, in Jenna Fox the story is much more centered on personal discovery and individual family- the main character ends up knowing only a few other teens at a small private school, and one neighbor. But still, the implications and questions raised by the narrative are large.
It\’s not just about the ethics of making decisions for others- it\’s also very much about living up to expectations, how much a child might push herself to please her parents- and then what if she doesn\’t want to anymore. I particularly like this page from the book that reads like a poem:
A bit for someone here.
A bit there.
And sometimes they don\’t add up to anything whole.
But you are so busy dancing.
You don\’t have time to notice.
Or are afraid to notice.
And then one day you have to look.
And it\’s true.
All of your pieces fill up other people\’s holes.
But they don\’t fill
Borrowed from the public library. I\’m not sure yet if I want to read the sequels. They seem to go into a popular trope of YA dystopian fiction- group of young people rebelling against a big institution. Not sure if I will enjoy that as much.
Rating: 3/5 266 pages, 2008