Book Review: Not If I See You First (Eric Lindstrom)
* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Release Date: December 31st 2015
Summary (from Goodreads):
Parker Grant doesn’t need perfect 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.
When Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart, suddenly reappears at school, Parker knows there’s only one way to react – shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough to deal with already, like trying out for the track team, handing 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. 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.
What I loved about this book was that it had a protagonist with a disability – and that wasn’t what the story was about. Sure, it’s mentioned a lot, obviously, it’s part of who she is, but it’s not all she is, and that’s perfect. If it was about Parker’s accident or her learning to cope afterwards then it would be a different book, and possibly not as good in my opinion.
I get that Parker wasn’t always the easiest protagonist to like. She was cagey and blunt, even a little rude sometimes. But those are my favourite protagonists: the ones with flaws, who feel real. I think she would have been a lot less likeable if she’d always been cheery and sunny and full of trust and love, as that’s just not realistic. I don’t like anyone all the time, and I didn’t like Parker all the time, but she felt real to me.
I also loved the realism of the relationship. Too often in stories, especially in YA, a main focus is some idealised, unachievable romance between the teenage protagonists. I have a general problem with too much emphasis on romance in YA anyway, and the idea that you can find your one true love and perfect romance when you’re that age just doesn’t sit well with me (okay I know it can happen but it can’t be as common as books make out!) The romance in this book is understated and there isn’t a definite ‘we’re going to be together forever’ feeling, and nor is it the plain sailing that we’re used to. Trust is a big issue with the two involved and that has to be earned back: it doesn’t just happen in an instant, which I appreciated.
I really enjoyed reading this book, and it’s great to see a differently abled main character. I’d definitely recommend you giving this a read, especially if, like me, you want to see a different kind of romance in YA.