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." -Goodreads
- Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
- Release date: April 29, 2008
- Page count: 265
- Unique elements: Gray pages contain almost verse format of protagonist's thoughts, subheadings rather than chapters
- Would appeal to: Anyone named Jenna (I mean, that's why I picked it up!), futuristic thinkers, those who enjoy unraveling a mystery
"Mother says the Cotswold cottage we live in needs lots of restoration...One restoration is not that different from another, she says. Fixing me and the Cotswold are her new careers."
"There is something about her eyes. Eyes don't breathe. I know that much. But hers look breathless."
"A choir of pink-cheeked boys lift their voices as a priest seems to pull the music from their throats with the urging of his hands...It feels like it is shaking something inside of me, something that aches."
"I don't care if the mustard goes down well or not...She knew she couldn't stop me, and the little click of power that ran through me did go down well."
"I slide my arms around his back and hold him, strumming the knots of the spine and the blade of his shoulder, weighing the events that have made us both who we are now."
"She holds her arms out to me, and I slip through space like a feather on a current of wind, effortlessly carried by the force that is Claire."
"There are no keys flying through the air. No hot glimpses of a night that still escapes me but has changed me forever...But fresh words that somehow crawl through my scalp until I feel I may be mad."
So I tried to narrow down these quotes more, but I couldn't. Mary E. Pearson impressed me with the way she builds a sentence.
Although I had high hopes for the novel, I was disappointed.
The premise is intriguing. Girl loses her memory after being in a coma for a year. Suspicious acting parents and a sudden move from Boston before Jenna wakes up. No one answers questions, and grandma seems pissed she even woke up.
I think a lot of my disappointment was because I figured out the plot pretty early on. That's not to say there wasn't at least one surprise along the way. And the plotting for this, how it's revealed in bits as Jenna realizes things, must have been a lengthy process. I feel if the author would have given a few less hints early on, the startling realization about what happened to Jenna would have been more impactful.
Something though, kept me turning the pages. I read the majority of the book on a cruise and an airplane, and I wished for the feeling that made me want to run out and buy The Fox Chronicles, book #2, but it just wasn't there. If anyone's read the second book, let me know what you thought!
As far as characters go, I found Jenna's mom Claire annoying and overbearing (but who wouldn't be upon almost losing a daughter?). I liked Jenna's grandmother towards the middle of the book but it was hard at first since she was so cold to Jenna. However, when the secret is revealed, you understand why Lily is this way. The school Jenna attends has a good variety of characters. I appreciated the spot-on descriptions of Dane having empty eyes, as he is a little creepy. It was interesting how Jenna noticed facial expressions so well after she woke up. It reminds me of the TV show Lie to Me. A pair of eyes and a mouth can give away the tiniest of details if you know what to look for. Jenna didn't have to try at it, she just had intuition.
The other bit I liked was how Jenna looked up the definitions of simple words right after her coma. It gives off the sense of beginning all over. It also reminds us how many definitions one word can have (or that the English language is crazy confusing!). I did enjoy the ending (the last three pages) and thought it rounded out the novel. I can see how another book could be easily written, but this could also be a stand alone.
The science aspects were believable even though I had to move on without understanding all of it (not a science person!). This is a scary portrait of what our future could hold as far as science and medicine are concerned.
If you do pick up this book, read the interview with the author at the end. It will give you a lot of insight as to why she wrote the story.