In a thought-provoking, atmospheric follow-up to The Adoration of Jenna Fox (2008), Pearson again contemplates bioengineering and the nature of humanity.
Some 260 years after Jenna Fox's father used controversial technology to upload Jenna's mind into an imitation body, Jenna's friends Locke and Kara, presumed dead in the same car accident, are uploaded into new bodies of their own. Both traumatized and connected to each other by the years their minds spent locked in claustrophobic “environments,” the pair live for a year with Gatsbro, the doctor who brought them back. Then Kara discovers the exploitative ends for which he is keeping them, and the two flee their captivity with the (perhaps too convenient) help of an unexpected ally. Their journey from Gatsbro's facility through a greatly changed America and ultimately toward Jenna Fox, still alive in her BioGel body, is harrowing and eye-opening, but the heart of the story is its meditation on what it means to be human. Is Locke human, his consciousness uploaded into a taller, more malleable body? Is Kara, who has lost her compassion? What about Dot, a legless robot engineered only to drive a cab, who is nonetheless strong-willed, brave and rebellious?
Though action scenes are occasionally predictable or over too soon, the book's timely and haunting questions will leave thoughtful readers with much to ponder. (Science fiction. 12 & up)