A 15-year-old suffers amnesia after a brain trauma.
After being attacked by a bull buffalo on her family’s ranch, Jessica can’t remember any of her previous life: not her family, not her home, not her friends. She looks in the mirror and sees “the Girl,” someone else she doesn’t know. She retains general knowledge, but her own past remains a complete blank but for the family dog. Once she returns home she must find a way to cope with her new life among strangers who love her. She gets along best with her little brother, Stephen, but struggles to relate to her parents, who are clearly anguished. Best friend Megan tries to help, but an overwhelmed Jessica continually acts out. She finds herself drawn to Tarin, a rebellious girl with issues of her own. As she becomes more discouraged, Jessica begins to take irresponsible risks. 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. (Fiction. 12-18)