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It’s all fun and games until someone loses an I.

I remember. That’s what the Man and the Woman in the room want Jessie to say. But she can’t, because it would be a lie. All she knows is what she has been told: she’s fifteen, and thanks to a run-in with a bison bull she is stuck with a brain injury. The rest of her life is a blank her brain no longer fills in; she struggles with memory loss and a temper she can’t control. When the doctors send Jessica home, she tries desperately to piece together her shattered life. No matter how hard she tries, she can’t be the old Jessie everyone misses so much. Then a new friend comes along with an alternative to staying in her old life, and Jessica must confront the reality of what it means to truly leave her past behind.

312 pages, Paperback

First published March 31, 2015

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About the author

Trina St. Jean

1 book14 followers
Trina St. Jean grew up in northern Alberta, Canada, but headed south to pursue degrees in psychology and education. She also has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. She now lives in Calgary where she teaches ESL to immigrants and enjoys evading grizzlies in the Rockies with her husband and two daughters. Blank is Trina’s first novel. Visit her at www.trinastjean.com.

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5 stars
33 (25%)
4 stars
38 (29%)
3 stars
41 (31%)
2 stars
17 (13%)
1 star
1 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 26 of 26 reviews
Profile Image for Christina.
Author 1 book20 followers
February 28, 2015
Imagine if something happened to you, an accident of any sort, and you awoke in the hospital bed from a coma with no memories of who you are or the people who call themselves your parents. How would you feel? How would you cope with not knowing so much as your favorite color? It’s a horrifying thought.

And this is exactly what Jessica has to live with after One Very Bad Day, April 26, when her family’s farm bison bull charges on her. She struggles with not knowing herself and the people around her, including her loving family and the friends that she can’t quite understand the way she used to. Jessica sees her reflection in the mirror as her old self, the real Jessica, and talks to her as if she can hear and understand her. It made for an interesting element that Jessica thought she was invading on another girl’s room and belongings, even while it was her own space.

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.
2 reviews
November 6, 2017
The book Blank is a good book.In the book it tells you what happens to her in her normal life until she went to coma ,it also tells you what she forgot and how she thinks she's a different person.She forgot her best friend and she had a big crush on this boy in her school and when she saw his after being in coma she thought he was ugly.I give the book a four out of five just because I don't like reading and the book is kind of long.
Profile Image for Karen Upper.
268 reviews9 followers
January 22, 2016
This debut novel caught from the first chapter! The author brilliantly has interwoven what could have been another teen drama storyline with the complex issue of 'brain injuries' and the resulting fallout for family, friends and the victim.
The reader is sure to be glued to the pages, until the end!
Highly Recommended for Intermediate Grade Readers!
1 review
January 7, 2015
Intriguing debut novel! Very good character development, which is essential to hold my interest. The author is very adept at getting into the teen headspace, and makes you want to know the protagonist more... Realistic and not predictable. I look forward to more from Trina St. Jean!
Profile Image for Kim Piddington.
358 reviews4 followers
January 31, 2015
The most interesting thing about this book (not that I didn't love the plot-I did!) is that the author makes you care about and believe in a character who doesn't even know herself. Really enjoyed it!
1 review1 follower
January 8, 2015
I loved it! A page-turner that elicits a range of emotions. My teenage daughter (who reads a lot of books) said it was the best book she has ever read. I look forward to Trina St.Jean's next novel.
Profile Image for Leslie.
135 reviews
September 20, 2015
I felt engaged with the story from page one. I felt Jessie's struggle to understand and to try and remember. A difficult subject handled gracefully. Would read more by this author.
Profile Image for Ron Bruce.
236 reviews33 followers
July 22, 2018
I'd give this at least 4.3 stars. I felt a bit lost at the start of the story but then so was the protagonist so I was drawn into the story.

I have wondered what it would be like to lose memory or suffer a brain injury. I've seen memory loss in older folk (and probably in myself more than I want to consider) and it's pretty painful to see. It was even harder to see in a young person in this story.

Who hasn't seen a silly soap opera where memories are lost? This story made things not quite so silly.

I found the author's story believable and touching.
And a bit scary to be honest.
92 reviews
May 26, 2020
A young teenage girl is in the hospital following a severe brain injury. The story begins as she is coming out of a coma. She remembers nothing of the accident that put her in the hospital nor the people in her room.
This story tells a realistic view of her journey to find out who she was before and who she is now. Are they the same person? What happened to cause her accident?
Profile Image for Heather Bal.
4 reviews
March 24, 2019
at first i didn’t really like this book, but at the end it got better, even got me a little emotional.. overall, a pretty good read when you give it a chance.
1 review1 follower
October 31, 2019
this is the book that Jessica dob't remember about her past
Profile Image for Mar.
1,832 reviews
July 1, 2022
2-3 Traumatic brain injury leaves a teen girl unable to remember her past or her people.
Profile Image for Reading Bifrost.
189 reviews27 followers
March 28, 2015
“I think about those disfigured frogs up in my room, and how easy it is to play the role of a regular, well-adjusted teenager being friendly at a party. I’m like a serial killer with body parts in my freezer, hosting a dinner party. No one knows my dirty little secret: I am not at all who they think I am. And, equally creepy, who I truly am is yet to be determined.”

The story comes in little chapter bursts. Some chapters are shorter than others- depending on how much of the story the narrator has to reveal, and the book is divided into three parts; Awake, Homecoming, and Surrender.

Jessica is a typical fifteen year old girl who grew up on a bison farm with her parents, her younger brother, and three close girlfriends. The post-accident Jessica differentiates herself from the old Jessica, calling the old Jessica “The Girl”. What made her character interesting to me is how Jessica tried to communicate with “The Girl” as if she were actually a different person than herself- further pushing the point that Jessica really felt disconnected from her past self.

Stephen is Jessica’s younger brother. The kid is a fun character to follow, and I love the interactions between the siblings. The two quickly become close since Stephen seems to be the only one who will talk to Jessica normally and not refer to her past.

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.

Profile Image for Sherri.
1,888 reviews36 followers
August 31, 2015
The teen years can be a tough time to figure out who you are and what you stand for, especially while feeling the pressure from family and friends. For 15-year-old Jessica, navigating through her own life is now nearly impossible. She just woke up with retrograde amnesia after spending 11 days in a coma due to a near-fatal encounter with one of the bison on her family’s ranch.

Not only does have to figure out who the girl in the mirror is, but also what type of person she was. Now Jessica can see the disappointment in her parent’s and little brother’s faces when she fails to recognize them or even feel any sort of emotional connection.

Feeling the pain of those around her, makes Jessica feel like a failure and she slowly re-enters a life she doesn’t know. As she looks for clues into her own life, she wonders whether or not she’ll ever remember her past as she longs for a chance at a hopeful future.

This riveting story will pull at your heart-strings as you see Jessica’s life through her own eyes and want her to find her own place in the world. Her awkward encounters with her so-called best friends illustrates how tough her journey is, but readers will eagerly follow along as Jessica also tries to solve the mystery of why she willingly entered the pens where the wild bison were.

Teens will enjoy this story that even pokes fun at itself when Jessica starts watching a soap opera while she’s in the hospital and finds the main character also experiencing amnesia.
6 reviews
November 2, 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.
You can feel the struggles that ‘Jessica/Girl’ is dealing with as her moods vacillate between emotion and reaction. Despite a supportive network of family and medical staff, she (Jessica/Girl) finds that even constant exposure to long time friends and ‘normal’ daily activities only enhance her feeling of frustration. As a result, over hearing a conversation or her own random thoughts, trigger unpredictable and volatile behaviour.

Questions about her former self, guilt and a host of other mixed up emotion stream through her consciousness upsetting any attempt to find a balance between what she feels are her two warring personalities. It is the chance find of a journal and a scarf that point in her a direction that could provide a resolution in accepting who she now has become.

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 for Intermediate Grades!!

4 stars out of 5!
Profile Image for Lindsay.
754 reviews80 followers
October 28, 2015
Blank is a powerful look at memory, at identity, and at anger. Jessica is trapped in a life that doesn't feel like hers. It doesn't feel like anything, and it confuses and scares her. Her memories gone because of a freak accident on the family farm, she now has to piece together who she was while discovering who is around her and who she is now. Her anger at not knowing is quite visceral. She doesn't know who anyone is, she doesn't know who she is. She doesn't know how to act around them. It leaves her floundering, trying to keep hold of anything that's in any way the least bit familiar. But can she go back to who she was before the accident? Will she ever be able to find the old Jessica? After reading her diary and talking to her friends, does she even want to go back to who she was? Her journey through memory and life is honestly told.
Profile Image for Keanna (JustKey).
921 reviews152 followers
April 22, 2015
This was a very interesting book, especially how unlike most 'amnesia' books it delved deeper into the life that Jessica after her accident and deeper into the process that she has to move on with life.

It was intriguing how the St. Jean made Jessica feel like she was invading her own lige even though it was hers to begin with. What also added to it was how in her mind she mamed her family and friends in third person which added to the gravity of the situation.
2 reviews
April 5, 2016
I really enjoyed reading the book. Since this book was written in first person of the main character and she talked about her recovery from an accident which basically was what the whole story was about. I love reading books that are written in first person because it makes it much easier to understand a character better than the author writing the book in their point of view.
Profile Image for Tanya C.
16 reviews5 followers
May 6, 2015
I really enjoyed this book! I won a copy on Goodreads and received it yesterday. I didn't put it down until I finished it, past my normal bedtime. I really felt the main characters emotions came across very well and I really felt for her. I look forward to more books by Trina St. John!
Profile Image for Rachel Seigel.
696 reviews16 followers
June 18, 2015
A thoughtful exploration of a teenage girl's struggle to rebuild her life after a traumatic brain injury causes her to lose her memory. I really liked Jessie's voice and found her to be a compelling and sympathetic character. Fans of "Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac" will like this.
Profile Image for Jenna.
1,611 reviews15 followers
July 21, 2015
Very slow paced and boring. I couldn't not get into the book, for some reason I felt there's no connection with the main character. I like the cover.

Profile Image for Kiera.
14 reviews
July 27, 2015
absolutely loved this book, it was so real and raw and brilliant
Displaying 1 - 26 of 26 reviews

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