As with all my book discussions, there are SPOILERS below.
I’m not a fan of present tense. Every book I’ve read that used present tense has always needed an adjustment period from me. Sometimes I get over it and go on to enjoy the book, sometimes not. But I’ve never just picked up a book, written in present tense, and been hooked from page one.
Then, I read The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson.
Wow. I didn’t even notice the present tense until I was three pages into it. And when I finally picked up on it, I had to go back to see if something had switched. Nope; it had been that way all along. Maybe it was the author’s style. Maybe it was her way with words. Or maybe it was the nature of the story. Probably all three. I raised an eyebrow, impressed, and read on.
The story opens with Jenna Fox trying to remember who she used to be, and it progresses as she gets flashes of her past, plus creates new memories from her present. Jenna puts a lot of value on her present self, and the fact that it makes her unique. Something she doesn’t want to lose. I find the “present” parallels very intriguing, and it works well for the story.
The story itself is also quite interesting. Jenna is on a quest to discover where that spark of humanity comes from, since she’s afraid she doesn’t have it. She continues searching, learning more about who and what she is, eventually finding her way to acceptance. This isn’t a pull-you-in-to-shock-and-awe-you kind of story. It’s more subtle, and sometimes a little hard to connect with Jenna. But I was okay with that considering both the nature of Jenna and of the story.
There were only two things that gave me pause. The first was the subplot with Dane. I loved the parallels drawn here, and turn of events as well. But it felt…unfinished. I’m not exactly sure why, though. The second was with the car accident. That must have been resolved, especially with all the information given in the last chapter. But it was never mentioned. I would have liked a little something on that. But, overall, this book gets two enthusiastic thumbs up.
I’m still not a fan of present tense, but this book has shown me that it really does have its place and can be done effectively. Thank you, Mary Pearson. :)