Welcome to He Said, She Said, a feature for GuysLitWire in which a guy (Book Chic) and a gal (Little Willow) discuss books that will appeal to both genders. Previously, we've discussed novels such as Soulless by Christopher Golden (zombie apocalypse now!) and Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Today, we're talking about Mary E. Pearson's connected stories The Adoration of Jenna Fox and The Fox Inheritance, the first two novels in a projected trilogy. Follow us into the future as we discuss these fantastic tales:
Little Willow: What drew you to the first book, The Adoration of Jenna Fox? I know I was eager to read it because I was intrigued by the premise and I had enjoyed Pearson's earlier novels. Did you read the book prior to reading any reviews or spoilers, or did you already know a bit of what was going to happen?
Book Chic: It just sounded really interesting and the cover was beautiful, so both of those together make me really want an ARC! I was able to get one and read it the month of release so I don't think I had really read anything too spoilery when I was reading Jenna Fox. I just loved the story and it's still one of my favorite books.
LW: Do you like sci-fi stories such as this, stories grounded in plausible scientific and technological advances? I do.
BC: I like all kinds of sci-fi stories but it is a bit fun to read stories that are more grounded and can be plausible. It's also a bit harrowing too because we could possibly end up like this and it may not seem like a good future to be in.
LW: The second book, The Fox Inheritance, is narrated by Jenna's friend, Locke. Did you like the narrative switch?
BC: First off, I had no idea a sequel was being written until I was at BEA this past May and someone mentioned Mary's signing that hadn't been on the online signing schedule. I of course immediately put it into my schedule for that day.
LW: I'm glad that you got to go!
BC: I was really excited to get an advance copy of this book too. I thought the narrative switch was a good choice and it really suited the story. I don't think it would've been good to keep it with Jenna, so it was necessary if the second book was to happen.
LW: I did not expect another story about Jenna; I thought Adoration ended well, and I was content with that ending, that explanation. I was glad that Locke's story was so different from hers, stylistically and personality-wise, and it was interesting to see Jenna through someone else's eyes. Did you feel as if the narrators' actions or tones were influenced by their genders?
BC: I don't really think so. Maybe I'm just speaking in stereotypes, but neither Locke nor Jenna seemed like the typical boy or girl. Locke seems to rely a lot on female figures rather than standing up for himself or making big decisions. His tone is a bit passive throughout most of the book, though he does find his way and becomes a bit assertive in the end. It's been a while since I've read Jenna Fox, so I don't really have examples, but I don't feel like her gender influenced what she did or how she did it.
LW: Not only do the two books have different narrators, they also have different tones. Adoration is more introspective and revelatory, I think, while Inheritance has more action and physical risk-taking.
BC: I thought each tone worked well. The Adoration of Jenna Fox sets up the story and the reader is introduced to the ideas of bioethics, so it needed to be more introspective and revelatory. Jenna is trying to find out who she is. When the reader gets to The Fox Inheritance, they already know what's going on so more time can be spent on other issues, like escaping and making their way in an unknown world trying to find Jenna. I'm wondering what the tone will be like in the third book...
LW: Me too - and who will narrate it! In my recent interview with Mary E. Pearson, she revealed that she's currently working on the third and final volume in the Jenna Fox trilogy. Which characters do you hope to see in that story? What do you hope will happen?
BC: I honestly don't know. I didn't think a sequel would be happening and then one arrived, so I just have no idea what my hopes are. The only thing I hope for is that it's as good as the first two, which I have a good feeling about. Mary Pearson is a wonderful writer - I really need to read some of her other books now!
LW: Yes, yes, you do!
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Next Time on HSSS
Our next He Said, She Said discussion is coming soon. That piece will also feature two connected books, one from the POV of a girl, the next from the POV of a boy, years later. Can you guess what books we'll be profiling next? Leave your comments below!