Title: A Perfect Blank
Author: Rye Duran
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Novels in Verse
Number of Pages: 200
A Perfect Blank has an interesting premise but it’s underdeveloped characters and lack of tension make it a forgettable disappointment. The main character, Alex, is a genetically engineered non-binary teenager who has an eidetic memory and the ability to induce out-of-body experiences. They’re one of a group of kids with extraordinary abilities, but they’re kicked out because of their gender nonconformity. Some time later, Alex comes back to the place where they were raised to help his brothers and sisters after they lose their powers.
None of the characters are well-developed, and Alex’s gender nonconformity is their only note-worthy attribute. I didn’t feel like there was any suspense and the main conflict is resolved almost immediately. I never got a good sense of Alex really fighting or struggling and the villains were ineffectual. I found myself wondering why the scientists would kick Alex out of the project for being too ‘girly.’ Alex still has extraordinary abilities and it seemed pretty stupid to get them on their bad side.
It felt like a half-hearted way to have Alex be persecuted because of their gender identity. Would Alex putting on lip gloss really be the main priority of scientists trying to create genetically modified super-teenagers? If there had been more development of the characters and the storyline this might have been an entertaining book, but there just wasn’t enough going on to sustain it.