Friday, June 25, 2010

Fiction Friday (with a literary pairing): WHAT IS A SOUL?

I had a little hiccup in my summer reading plans. I was prowling a bookstore with my kids (a very routine occurrence) when I came upon Mary Pearson's THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX. It was not on my reading list but I just LOVED the cover and was so intrigued that I had to pick it up. You know a book is good when you take it to bed, read to the final page (including the author interview, reading guide and teaser chapter of her next book), look up at the clock and it's 3 a.m.

It is difficult to write a review of this novel without giving too much away and I'd hate to do this because the book is paced so artfully that I'd hate readers to miss that wonderful technical element or ruin any twisty surprises. Suffice to say that seventeen-year-old Jenna wakes up from a year-plus coma in a new home, on a new coast and things are not right. Her parents, desperate to regain the pre-accident Jenna, show her videos of every year of her life, wait for her to remember. But, though Jenna's memories return, she discovers strange disconnects between her past and present, recalls things she should not remember. The novel, a fascinating mystery set in a frighteningly plausible near-future, explores the essence of identity, the question of whether self is defined internally or by the experience of others, and much more.

Given my penchant for literary pairings, I must say that I immediately thought this book would read wonderfully along with Nancy Farmer's HOUSE OF THE SCORPION, another spectacular literary rumination on self, soul and humanity paired with an equally fascinating plot. These two books and a nice pitcher of iced tea would make just about a perfect weekend!


Angela Ackerman said...

I read Jenna Fox about 6 months ago. It's very unusual, isn't it? I was suprised by the topic and where the story went, and that doesn't happen much these days as most plotlines are pretty standard.

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Tahereh said...

wow i love your perspective on this. i've come across the Adoration of Jenna Fox several times -- and several times have come close to picking it up -- only to change my mind at the last moment. i wasn't sure if it was my kind of thing. thanks for the push!

i think i have to read it now :D

Stasia said...

Thanks for stopping by, Angela & Tahereh. I have to say, this book was a refreshing surprise.

lisa and laura said...

I loved THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX. We read it with our YA book club a few months back and it made for a fantastic discussion.

Sherrie Petersen said...

I had no idea what this book was about when I picked it up. I just liked the cover, the old one with the butterfly (which doesn't make sense until you're pretty far into the book!). I loved this book. She weaves the story together so subtly. It's a great story.