I picked up The Adoration of Jenna Fox because a friend was reading it. And well, the next thing you know, it's one in the morning and I'm glued to the page. It's a fantastic read! It has a little bit of a science fiction feel, but it's also very emotionally charged. I literally couldn't put it down.
Here's the blurb from the Who is Jenna Fox website:
Who is Jenna Fox?
Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a year-long coma, and she’s still recovering from the terrible accident that caused it. Her parents show her home movies of her life, her memories, but she has no recollection. Is she really the same girl she sees on the screen?
Little by little, Jenna begins to remember. But along with the memories come questions—questions no one wants to answer for her. What really happened after the accident?
In this fascinating novel, acclaimed author Mary E. Pearson presents an unforgettable look at one human life and a glimpse into a possible future that may be closer than we think.
I was also lucky enough to interview the author, the lovely and talented Mary E. Pearson. Interview below!
1. Who is Mary Pearson? Give us the lowdown.
On a personal level, I have been married to the man of my dreams since I was a tot. I have two beautiful grown daughters who both tower over me–they have since they were twelve. My husband's tall genes are obviously much stronger than my short ones. I also have a wonderful son I got the easy way–my daughter married him. When I’m not reading and writing, nothing gives me greater pleasure than to hang out with my family which also includes two spoiled golden retrievers.
My first book was published back in 2000 and my fifth comes out next month–all YA novels. I don’t write for teens. I write about them. There’s a subtle difference!
2. AJF has an extremely intriguing premise - what inspired you to write this story? (Yes, I know, it's the dreaded inspiration question, but I can't help myself!)
The first seeds of the story came from two questions: First, how far will medicine advance in another fifty years? The second, how far would a parent go to save their child? These questions were planted in my mind back in 2000 when my daughter was diagnosed with cancer and I was plunged into the world of hospitals, doctors and endless amounts of waiting for appointments, tests, treatments, and results. Lots of time to think and wonder. I remember thinking how lucky we were that we lived where we did and when we did because there was a very good (and successful) treatment for her. I didn't know that years later these two questions or wonderings of mine would be the seed of JENNA's story. Even though the story is not about my family or experience, these experiences certainly got the wheels turning.
3. AJF has distinct science fiction elements. Is that something that's usually a part of your work?
No, not really. AJF is my first science fiction novel, and actually, when I was writing it, I didn’t even think of it as science fiction. For me, it was a story about relationships and how the people we care about complicate the choices we make including what we may have previously thought was right or wrong.
I am not sure that I ever follow a “usual” route with my stories. Each one has been very different from the previous one, from breezy humor, to romance, to dark and gritty, to sci-fi, and now something dipping into slipstream.
4. What are you working on at present?
It is still in the early stages–I am only about seventy pages in–and that is a fragile time in the life of a story, so I don’t really talk about it at this stage. But rest assured I am working on something!
5. In your view, what are some of the rewards/challenges of writing YA fiction?
I think the rewards and challenges are probably the same as writing for any genre. When you get that right word, the right chapter, the right piece of dialogue that you have been searching for, it feels deliciously wonderful. It is like the true story is there all along, waiting for you to uncover it, but it takes a lot of persistence and faith in the process to find it. I don’t outline or plan out a story–I just concentrate on listening to the character and being true to their voice and perspective.
6. Could you give us a little info on your next release?
My newest book, The Miles Between, is out on September 1–only a month away! It’s about four teens who take off on an “unauthorized” road trip in search of one fair day. Destiny, the main character is obsessed with coincidences–and for good reason. She also has a secret she is keeping from the three classmates that she’s taken off with, and as the story unfolds, she discovers they have secrets of their own. It's a larger-than-life type of story where fantasy bleeds into reality, and you’re never quite sure where one begins and the other ends. Lots of “coincidences” ensue! I had fun writing it, even though it has its dark moments too.
Nalini, thank you so much for having me!
A huge thank you to Mary for the interview!
Now it's your turn - share your book recommendations, whatever they be! :)