BookTime on InsideToronto.com. June3, 2015.
“What a fabulous book. A must-read for anyone who knows someone who has suffered a head injury. St. Jean did an amazing job of showing Jessica’s frustration. Can you image waking up and having no idea who that person is staring back at you? Wow.”
Quill and Quire. May, 2015.
“Blank’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 cliches. Blank sends the reader on a powerful, age-appropriate odyssey of self-discovery of what it means to belong, the resiliency of the human spirit, and the unshakable bonds of family.”
Kirkus Reviews. January 20, 2015.
“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.”
The Reading Queen blog. January 24, 2015.
“I loved how well Blank was written. 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. And also, I have to mention, there is a good lack of the romance angst that usually tries to rear its ugly head in most YA books that relate to memory loss and whatnot. There’s a small hint of a possible romance in the future for Jessica, but this book allows us to see the effects of brain damage without those type of distractions.
Overall, I would say Blank is highly recommendable. It’s actually refreshing and is one of the best realistic books that talk about a person with a life changing injury.”
Publishers Weekly. March 15, 2015.
“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.”
Booklist. March 15, 2015.
“The accident that put Jessica in a coma wiped out all knowledge of her family and friends, leaving her both mystified and scared. Exhibiting the typical wide-swinging moods and lack of emotion caused by traumatic brain injury (TBI), Jessica is as much a question mark to herself as is the prognosis for her full recovery. As she tries to put together the puzzle of just who the old Jessica was, her conclusions shift, each one more baffling than the next. Despite the support and love of her parents and younger brother, she wonders if being a burden to them might be alleviated if she left for good and started over. This debut novel 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—though not a cliché—this character beautifully illustrates the thorough distress a person must feel when parts of her life are missing.”
CM Magazine (Canadian Review of Materials). February 27, 2015.
“St. Jean skillfully navigates a tricky ending that satisfies the reader without providing easy answers or cliched 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 loves us. Recommended.”
Resource Links. February, 2015.
“Trina 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…There is no fairytale ending, but there is hope for a new beginning.”
(complete review available by subscription: http://www.resourcelinksmagazine.ca/)
YA Galley Teen Review. March 27, 2015.
“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.”
Recently Read blog. March 30, 2015.
“This gritty, in your face debut novel by Canadian author Trina St.Jean, ‘grabbed’ me from the beginning sentences, and the development of the fast pace keeps a reader totally enwrapped within this thought- provoking narrative…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’ ?”
Reading Bifrost blog. March 29, 2015.
“Overall, Blank is a great and well-told story. I recommend to anyone who is a fan of coming-of-age or psychological stories within the young adult genre.”
School Library Journal: Teens Review Beach reads, Tearjerkers, and Humorous YA. March 31, 2015.
“In this thrilling page-turner, journey along with the amnesia patient who will make you feel so much more grateful for your memories, good and bad…I really loved how the author compares the past self of Jessica with her new, amnesia self. This type of book normally isn’t in my reading range, but I really loved seeing this character persevere, fail at persevering, and affect the lives around others including, the people she knew and now knows. It’s just really enjoyable to read the book, and I found it refreshing and comprehensible.” (Sam G., 13.)
Trina’s slightly-biased Mom. Last year sometime.
“It was good. I read it in one sitting.”
(Awwww, thanks Mom 😉