Author: Mary E. Pearson
Genre: Young Adult/Futuristic/Mystery/Romance
Seventeen-year-old Jenna Fox awakens after more than a year in a coma to find herself in a life—and a body—that she doesn’t quite recognize. Her parents tell her that she’s been in an accident, but much of her past identity and current situation remain a mystery to her: Why has her family abruptly moved from Boston to California, leaving all of her personal belongings behind? Why does her grandmother react to her with such antipathy? Why have her parents instructed her to make sure not to tell anyone about the circumstances of their move? And why can Jenna recite whole passages of Thoreau’s Walden, but remember next to nothing of her own past? As she watches family videos of her childhood, strange memories begin to surface, and she slowly realizes that a terrible secret is being kept from her.
Positive Content: Jenna’s parents love her a lot, enough to go to great lengths (which I can’t divulge without ruining the plot) to keep her safe. Jenna tries to be a good daughter, though she can’t really remember anything about who she was before. She hopes she was a nice person. She and several of her friends protect and defend each other. One of Jenna’s friends who is chronically ill is saved, even though the procedure is illegal.
Negative Content: There are a couple instances of kissing, with mention of tongue. One of her friends calls someone a crude word. Jenna, not knowing what it means, then repeats it to her grandmother, to others’ shock and horror. This word is repeated a total of nine times. There are eleven instances of swearing. A boy grabs Jenna and tries to force her to come with him. She then grabs him in the groin to make him stop (she is saved bya friend). A car accident is somewhat described. Saving humans ‘not meant to be saved’ is a major theme.
Summary: I’d heard a lot of UH-MAY-ZING things about this book, so I had to pick it up and read it for myself. It was pretty good, actually; it kept me very hooked and intrigued… until I got about 1/3 of the way through the book. Then the author seemed to kind of give the surprise away on a silver platter. However, it didn’t really spoil the book, and I still enjoyed it. The character of Jenna is well-written and you can empathize with her. But all in all, I have to say it was just ‘pretty good.’ Not spectacular, but worth reading.
4 out of 5 stars