Blank Slate by Heather Justesen: A Book Review

Can you imagine waking up in somebody else’s life? Or, at least, it feels like somebody else’s because you can’t remember anything about your previous experiences, not even your own name?

Heather Justesen has written a book exploring just what that might feel like. In Blank Slate, Adrianna, a well-known concert pianist, is in an accident and wakes up not knowing who she is. She is surprised to find that she enjoyed playing the piano in front of thousands of people, when she cannot even remember how to play simple melodies. She doesn’t remember her family or friends, or even her fiance. Disconcerting, to say the least.

While the plot line is fairly predictable, I didn’t know the means by which the end (which I knew within the first few pages) would come about. I definitely wanted to keep reading to see how it would all unravel. Besides, Heather is a very talented writer. Her characters feel like friends, and I enjoyed getting to know them.

All of that said, I was a little disappointed in some of the background research and some loose ends that I think an editor should have caught before it went to press. Like, what ring? (I won’t expound on that question further, at the risk of spoiling things for you)(also, it’s possible the ring was explained better but maybe that part was cut?) And no professional orchestra conductor would ever refer to an orchestra rehearsal as a practice. (Since I’m actually married to an orchestra conductor, I can say that with absolute confidence.) There were a few other musical things that were a bit off, but they didn’t bother me quite as much as the rehearsal/practice issue did. Finally, I felt that even though it was written by an LDS author (hooray for LDS authors!), the Mormon-ness in this particular story was a little out of place. The characters going to church or talking about it just felt awkward to me. Like it was put in the book just to say, “I’m an LDS book!” when it had no real bearing on the plot at all.

I feel a little bad about pointing those things out, but I think they stood in the way of making a good book great. I’d still recommend reading it, because it is good. The story was very intriguing and I enjoyed it quite a lot. It’s definitely a nice, quick summer read.

(Update 7/15/2011: Heather contacted me and we worked together to fix the musical issues, and she also mentioned that she fixed the ring issues. A second edition is now available.)

Happy reading!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Tristi Pinkston Book Tours.

This post contains affiliate links.

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I love that you get to review books! How on earth did you get into it? Also, I really think you do a great job at it. Your reviews are wonderful.


I look forward to your Book Reviews and I appreciate your honesty as well. It's looks like a good read… but I'm with you on the "LDS-ness" just being thrown into some stories and it just feels forced.


Hmmm. This does sound like an interesting book. I'll have to look into it. (I have about 12 books ahead of it in my queue…) (between library books and books already downloaded)

Heather Justesen

Thanks so much for your feedback on the symphony, Lara. The tweaks on my story should be live in a few days.