Eric Lindstrom’s Not If I See You First reminds readers that there are so many ways you can be blind

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Eric Lindstrom’s Not If I See You First reminds readers that there are so many ways you can be blind

Parker Grant is a straight shooting gal, she can afford to be because she can’t see them flinch – she’s blind.  She has been for a long time, and she has rules for all the seeing idiots who surround her, and there’s no hope for those who can’t follow the rules.  But things change, and this book is about adjusting to those changes, particularly those rather elusive and heart-rending changes in perception about yourself. I liked this book, and if Parker is a little rough around the edges, I at least felt like she was different from so many other contemporary YA protagonists.

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Goodreads Summary

The Rules: 

Don’t deceive me. Ever. Especially using my blindness. Especially in public.

Don’t help me unless I ask. Otherwise you’re just getting in my way or bothering me.

Don’t be weird. Seriously, other than having my eyes closed all the time, I’m just like you only smarter.

Parker Grant doesn’t need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That’s why she created the Rules: Don’t treat her any differently just because she’s blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.

When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there’s only one way to react-shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that’s right, her eyes don’t work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn’t cried since her dad’s death three months ago.

But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened–both with Scott, and her dad–the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.

My Thoughts

I liked Parker, and though some readers will find her as abrasive as her fellow school mates do, I felt like I got her.  If you like your characters sweet and meek, skip this one, but if you like them bold, impetuous, and a little lost, this book is for you.  The book focuses on some big changes in Parker’s life, and I thought those were portrayed realistically.  Her grief and doubt about her father’s unexpected death, her reunion with an old friend turned arch nemesis, and her own understanding of her limitations and abilities are all part of what makes this story moving and honest.

While I enjoyed the story, I was a little confused by some of the character motivations.  Both of the romantic interests were hard for me to understand.  Hey, guys are a mystery, but they kept trying to explain themselves and I just couldn’t track the words with real motivations.  They were a mystery to Parker as well, so it wasn’t a deal breaker, but I think the complexity of their feelings was too much to express clearly.

I struggled, as well, with the way Parker and her girl friends have something just a little off about them.  They aren’t girly girls, but none of them really sound like girls either.  None of their interactions are really about the trivial junk that girls talk about out of boredom or happiness.  No one complained about their weight or their mom, or even the cattiness of other girls.  Even the least girly of us brings one of those up sometimes.  I’m not saying this male author didn’t do a good job of creating living, breathing characters.  I’m just saying he didn’t exactly create living, breathing girls.  Again, it wasn’t a deal breaker, but it added to my sense of something being just a bit off kilter about this story.  Also, none of Parkers real friends would have let her leave her house wearing a scarf as a blindfold.  That was just weird.

Overall, I liked this book for its honesty and portrayal of universal experiences shared by unique characters.  I liked some of the ideas this book puts forward about being a good person and about being honest, as well as being both at the same time.  I enjoyed the fact that beauty has a different criteria in this book, and I appreciated how it made me see so clearly that being blind is a whole other level of uncertainty when it comes to navigating change and high school.  Those themes may be just enough to really engage my high school students, so it is going on my classroom library wish list.  Language and situations are most appropriate for high school readers.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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