• Pages:312
  • Publisher:Orca Book Publishers
  • Themes:retrograde amnesia, bison, survival, traumatic brain injury, anger
  • Available:04/01/2015
  • Age Groups:Fiction Ages 12+
  • Lexile:730L
  • Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient:Z
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When Jessica wakes up from a coma, she has no memories of her life before the accident at her family’s bison ranch. As she struggles to reconnect with her family and friends, she experiences all the signs of traumatic brain injury—confusion, sadness, fear and rage. Returning to school is a nightmare—especially when she overhears someone say he thinks she is faking her amnesia. When a new friend presents an alternative to staying in her old life, Jessica must confront the reality of what it means to leave her past behind.
"St. Jean cleverly contrasts the effects of real amnesia with the condition as laughably depicted on soap operas, writing a highly effective, realistic story about a good girl struggling to fit in with her new life, a life that may never knit together with her old one. Her characters, especially Jessica, Stephen and Tarin, come across as full and credible. Both an absorbing coming-of-age tale and a medical-suspense drama."
– Kirkus Reviews
"I could hardly put the book down because it was addicting and I just had to know what would happen. There were ups and downs, sadness and triumphs, mistakes and the willingness to do better."
– Of Books and Other Things blog
"Boldly opens up discussions about TBI and its effects on the victim and everyone in her world. The struggles portrayed within the story are compassionately but realistically addressed, and while Jessica’s case is rare...this character beautifully illustrates the thorough distress a person must feel when parts of her life are missing."
– Booklist
"Debut author St. Jean delicately and thoroughly explores the internal life of a character suffering from amnesia, detailing Jessica’s feelings of separation from herself and the weight of others’ expectations through an introspective first-person narrative. The mystery surrounding Jessica’s accident and a growing fear for what she will discover will keep readers invested in her story."
– Publishers Weekly
"St. Jean skillfully navigates a tricky ending that satisfies the reader without providing easy answers or clichéd wrap-ups. In the end, Blank does a nice job of teaching some lessons that apply to all of us, not just those who have suffered a brain injury. It reminds us about the power each of us has to form and re-form our identity and to move forward with the support of those who love us."
– CM Magazine
"St. Jean does a great job of putting the reader into Jessie’s situation. We feel her fear, her anger, at the loss of self. She criticizes The Girl she used to be as too naïve, too sweet, and her new self as too thoughtless and insensitive. When we finally learn along with Jessie that she was injured in an attempt to be more daring, we see how the two lives are interconnected, and how her two selves may find a way to coexist. There is no fairy tale ending, but there is hope for a new beginning."
– Resource Links
"Absorbing in its realistic depiction of the struggles of amnesia."
"I loved the cover...What held my interest in the book was her trying to fit back into her life. I have recently also suffered with some memory loss, so I wanted to know how the character's story would end. It was also very nice to have an author actually use the correct medical terminology for once."
– YA Galley Teen Review
"This psychologically probing novel brings to light how bewildering and complex multiple layers of a brain injury can be through the simple question that Jessica/Girl asks, what is ‘normal’?TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) often not understood and is usually associated with sports, is adeptly highlighted in this narrative. Girl/Jessica’s journey of recovery and rediscovery underlines the fact that a that brain injury can happen anywhere, anytime and to anyone and leave a ‘blank’! Highly Recommended."
– Recently Read blog
"[The novel's] convincing plot, engaging first-person narrative, and well-defined characters succeed in dramatizing one young woman’s struggle with unfathomable loss and change without relying on clichés. Blank sends the reader on a powerful, age-appropriate odyssey of self-discovery about what it means to belong, the resiliency of the human spirit, and the unshakable bonds of family."
– Quill & Quire