Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom.
My copy: Poppy (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), December 2015. Egalley (review copy), 320 pages.
Source: I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Little, Brown!
Parker Grant is a junior in high school who loves to run, has great friends, and isn’t afraid to speak her mind – especially when it comes to how stupid some people can be around a blind person like her. The only topic to avoid is how Parker feels about the boy who broke her heart in the eight grade…who has just transferred to her school. And as long as she can keep giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn’t cried since her dad’s death three months go, she’ll be just fine. Right?
Not If I See You First is an exploration of the blindness that comes with being a teenager (visually impaired or not). Combining a fiercely engaging voice with a true heart, this story sheds light of those feelings of insecurity that exist in both new relationships and the oldest friends.
Some thoughts on Not If I See You First:
+ I loved Parker and her completely honest and blunt approach to life. She spoke truthfully without caring about people’s reactions. Her candor was awesome, and not mean enough to label her as a bitch. Yes, she did say a few questionable things — but never to be mean or rude to people on purpose.
+ I liked how realistic this book was. Sometimes relationships never go back to how they once were. People do change, and we have to accept that and move on, as painful as it can be. But… everyone likes happily ever afters, right? None here; it’s more open-ended, but a logical ending for everything that happened, both in the course of the book and before it.
+ I loved Parker’s strong friendships (Sarah), as well as her trickier relationships (Sheila). Sometimes she took her friends for granted or didn’t feel like they would understand her, but the girls in her life were supportive, caring, and honestly pretty cool. I love strong friendships in books; we need more of ’em.
+ This book is such a quick read and very addicting. It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s inspiring. Parker really doesn’t let being blind keep her from doing anything.
+ It was cool how sometimes the fact of Parker being blind just became a fact and not the point. It was so refreshing reading about a disabled person living pretty normally, without constantly being reminded of Parker’s blindness or having it shoved in our faces all the time. Props to Eric Lindstrom for striking such a good balance.
+ I’m not a big fan of “misunderstandings” between characters being the center of the plot, and when this misunderstanding was revealed, I was a bit… let down at how Parker dealt with it. I understand that the event put her in a very vulnerable position, but I had a hard time sympathizing with her over it. I would have been pissed but eventually let it go, not held onto it for years and completely kill off a friendship she valued.
+ I wasn’t particularly moved by Parker’s “meltdown” speech. It was pretty impressive, I guess, with her just spewing everything in her head when she finally broke down, but I actually read that scene twice because I kind of glazed over it the first time. Oops.
In conclusion… Not If I See You First is a really great book. Is it perfect? No. But I loved Parker and her friends, her passion for running, and her determination to not let her lack of sight get in the way of living life to the fullest. ♦
Have you read Not If I See You First?
If you haven’t, would you be interested to?
Have you ever read a book about a blind character before?
How about a deaf character? Or a physically disabled character?
Comment below letting me know!
And, as always, happy reading!