by Mary E. Pearson
Publisher: Square Fish
Reading level: YA
Seventeen-year-old Jenna Fox wasn't supposed to survive the accident, but she did. Now, after a lengthy coma, she's trying to get her life back. The only problem is, she can't remember anything about that life. She can't even remember who she is.
To make matters worse, nobody will talk about what really happened, leaving Jenna to try to solve the puzzle on her own. Just exactly who is Jenna Fox? And when she finds those answers... will she wish she hadn't?
I haven't read any science fiction (that wasn't dystopian) in a while. I'd read reviews (and spoilers) of this book a while ago, but I'd since forgotten most of them, so the story was pretty fresh to me. Even being able to guess at some of the events didn't lessen the impact of some of the overall messages, though.
I enjoyed the plot, even though I guessed at some of the plot points before I actually got to them. Most of that happened in the first part of the book, though. The second half had a lot of twists and turns that I didn't really see coming.
The characters were a bit more of a mixed bag. I'm still puzzling over the motivations of a couple of them, since they didn't seem 100% consistent to me (I'm talking about Lily and Allys here). I liked Jenna herself, though, even though she's kind of an enigma. We only find things out about her as she finds them out. She had an interesting voice, though, and I enjoyed the way she told the story.
I haven't been a huge fan of present-tense narration in the past, but I think part of the reason for that was that I read quite a few duds using that tense. In this book, it works (and because we're finding things out with Jenna in real time, it's probably the only tense that would've worked). I also liked the inclusion of the short "poems" on the grey pages. Sometimes you can say so much more with a few words of verse than you can with a whole page of prose.
Finally, I thought the whole undercurrent of medical ethics was important and timely without hitting the reader over the head. Some of the questions Jenna asks aren't easily answered... if they can be answered at all. But I was pleasantly surprised to find those questions in an enjoyable YA novel.
Overall: 4.71 out of 5