The Fox Inheritance by Mary Pearson

A few years ago I read and loved Mary Pearson’s The Adoration of Jenna Fox. I was overjoyed when I recently discovered that she had written a companion novel. I was fortunate to pick up a signed ARC of The Fox Inheritance (The Jenna Fox Chronicles) at BEA and I read through it during the 48-Hour Book Challenge. I was not disappointed.

Sequels don’t always hold up well, especially when the first book is really good. But The Fox Inheritance (The Jenna Fox Chronicles) works for a few reasons. The characters are new and not the same main characters as the first book. They are well-developed and I found myself rooting for them even more than I rooted for Jenna in the first book. Another thing that works well is that the setting is 250 years after the events in the first book. The world-building is superb and detailed.  For these reasons,  The Fox Inheritance works well as a stand-alone novel, too.

Thanks to advances in science and medicine, the disembodied minds of Kara and Locke (friends of Jenna who were also in the same car accident) have bene give new bodies.  But the world has changed drastically since their “death” and the man who has brought them to life has plans to use them as models for his new business venture.  Meanwhile, Locke and Kara are struggling.  Are they really human? And why did Jenna get to live her life while they were stuck floating in cyberspace?  When they find out that Jenna is still alive, Kara and Locke set off to find her and enter a world that has been divided by Civil War and is populated by droids and humans.

Highly recommended.  The Fox Inheritance is perfect for science fiction fans and mystery fans.  It is thought-provoking and I imagine that students will want to talk about the issues of humanity and human rights brought up by the plot.  Our world is rapidly changing and the rights of droids, the ability to “save” memories, and much more may be a possibility sooner rather than later.  Perfect for upper middle grade and high school readers.

Excitement!

One of my favorite book websites is the one recently set up for The Adoration of Jenna Fox. It was recently updated with reviews, a sample chapter, author bio, author interview, and medical-ethics related links. As I was perusing, imagine my surprise when I saw my own review quoted!  Check it out!

The Adoration of Jenna Fox

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson was my #1 “must get ARC” at ALA Midwinter ’08.

Wow. Just wow. I read this in one sitting, unable to put it down. I’m not even sure how to review it, because I don’t want to give anything away. Jenna Fox has been in an accident. She spent the last year in a coma and doesn’t remember anything from her old life. She has to relearn how to walk, how to talk, and how to do something as simple as smile. She doesn’t even know who she is. However, she does remember historical facts and can recite Walden from memory. While in a coma, she was moved from Boston to California. Her family’s new home is sterile and void of any of Jenna’s old belongings. There is nothing to trigger her memories. She has no friends and no family other than her mother, father, and a grandmother who seems to despise her. Something isn’t right and she can’t even begin to figure out what that something is.As she struggles to rediscover who she is, her parents refuse to answer any of her questions. Their cover story begins to unravel and nothing is as it seems. At the risk of spoiling what is an amazing story, I’ll stop there. But you must pick up a copy of this book. If you haven’t preordered this yet…..well, get on that!

An amazing science-fiction story, I would classify Pearson’s novel as dystopian. It’s a frightening look at where our society is headed and what might happen in our future. It raises questions of medical ethics, bioethics, humanity, and how far we are willing to go to save someone we love. The plot doesn’t seem outlandish or out of the realm of possibility. In fact, it seems frighteningly possible.

Despite being a science-fiction novel (a genre better known for being full of clunky science/technology jargon), Pearson writes captivating, lyrical prose. Scattered throughout the book are poems, written from Jenna’s point of view and seemingly in her own mind. Each one is beautiful and could stand on it’s own, outside the book.

Each of the characters are captured perfectly. Jenna struggles with her own identity while trying to figure out who her parents really are and what her relationship was and will be with them.

This was a perfect book for me to read right now. It fits in perfectly with my unit on ” The Giver” and I can’t wait to pass this on to a few of my students. The questions it brings up will be wonderful for letter-essay reader’s response and for comparison to Lowry’s novel. Pearson has really outdone herself and this should be a runaway success.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox will be released April 29, 2008. Pre-order your copy now!

*A note on the cover- how gorgeous is it?? One of my favorites for 2008 so far!

** Also, I was thrilled that Mary Pearson incorporated an eco-artist into the story. Eco-art is something my class will be working on later this year and it is rarely mentioned in popular literature! Kudos to Mary Pearson for that!

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