Not If I See You First – Eric Lindstrom
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.
I loved this book. Loved. Loved. Loved. I think I’m crying (overwhelming, happy tears). When I first read a sample of this book I knew I just had to read it all. And then I got to read the whole book. Wow. You need to read this book. It is hilariously funny, and yet so very moving. Argh, I don’t have words. Just read it.
Parker is blind. She lost her sight seven years ago in the same car crash that killed her mother. But she never let that slow her down. Parker runs each morning, has a list of rules and isn’t afraid of letting everyone know what she really thinks. Life hasn’t been easy for Parker and she wouldn’t have it any other way, but the sudden death of her father three months ago has really thrown her. Parker is determined to march on. She has coped with her aunt and uncle and cousins moving into her house, she awards herself a gold star every day she goes without crying, and she can manage a whole lot of new students at her school who will need to be specially trained in all things Parker. So she can deal with once again coming face-to-face with the boy who broke her heart three years ago. Right?
Parker is the most wonderful character I’ve read in a while. She is the perfect mix of snark and humour. She’s smart and super funny. But what I loved most about her was her ability to let things slide off her. Oh she cares, especially about her friends and family, but there is certainly something to learn from her ability to not care so much about what others think when they look at her.
This book is written in first person from Parker’s perspective. The text has a lot of dialog, as well as Parker’s internal thoughts and her descriptions of the conversations and events (as a first-person narration style usually would). What is different is that these descriptions include sounds and smells, but never sights. It works brilliantly. It is amazing how much this affects how you view the story and the characters. I loved every word. The story provides a great insight into Parker’s world, as well as her head and heart. And then of course there are all those things that you never even think of, like not judging people because of their looks or colour or size because you can’t actually see them. And because Parker can’t see them, the reader can’t either. It is amazing how this changes how you ‘see’ a character and the assumptions you might automatically make. Very cool.
The sheer joy of this book sits over the darker cloud that lies beneath the surface – the recent death of Parker’s dad and the death of her mother in an accident that also destroyed her sight years before. All that trauma is sitting there just under the surface. At first I thought maybe it was weird to seemingly brush over these issues, but then I realised that this is exactly what Parker was doing as her way of coping. As the story progresses you learn more about what happened. I thought it was the perfect balance between light and dark, reflective and hopeful.
Now, the romance. It’s a large topic of discussion in this book, but it’s never really the focus. At the heart of this book is love. Not swoony, insta-love kind of love, but real, honest to goodness love. Friendship, family. The people who are there for you that have loved you every single day. And then how much it hurts to lose that, whether that’s through death or change or something else. I loved Scott. And the best thing about that? He wasn’t even in the book all that much. What you do get is understandably loveable, but it was more about how Parker feels towards him, and how she learns to closer inspect her feelings and then how to act on them. This is Parker’s book and she shines. I loved the ending. Oh, that moment a few chapters from the end – my heart was just soaring.
You could probe this book for ever. I could talk about all the wonderful messages, the brilliant writing style that epitomises how a book should show and not tell, or wax poetic about Parker and her strength and resilience. Or I could just say that this is a book that was enjoyable from beginning to end, and all sorts of inspiring in between.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Grief, family, friendship, visual impairment, social etiquette, love and relationships.
Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Infrequent coarse language, f***. Sexual references. References to mature themes regarding death and suicide.
Published: 1 December 2015 by Poppy
Format: Hardcover, ebook, audiobook. 320 pages.