Some of you might have realized by now that I’m not the biggest fan of contemporary novels. They’re alright occasionally, but they just don’t catch my attention and I get bored with them. I like my books to capture my imagination and give me a place to escape to. However, I actually really enjoyed Not If I See You First by Eric Windstorm. Big thanks to Uppercase for picking this book to go in their December box because I never would have read it, otherwise. And I am so glad I did.
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.
Combining a fiercely engaging voice with true heart, debut author Erid Lindstrom’s Not If I See You First illuminates those blind spots that we all have in life, whether visually impaired or not.
Most fantasy or dystopian novels have a lot of action to keep you interested. There’s always something happening on each page that forces you to stay up past a normal hour. But with this story, it’s a slow and steady affair. It’s not the action that grabs your attention, but the character development and relationships between the protagonist and her friends/family. The different relationships are so complicated but the love they all share is absolutely wonderful. The friendship between Parker and Sarah is amazing. This book would actually be a great choice for best friends to read together!
Parker Grant is a glorious character. Instead of letting her blindness ruin her life and be ashamed of the way she is, she carries it like a shield. It hardens her and turns her into someone who can’t worry about what others think. Parker’s blindness has created a wall around that she uses to keep from being hurt. She doesn’t worry about letting others get the best of her, she gets there first by being overly blunt with people using her very sharp tongue. Her blindness keeps her from seeing how it actually affects them so she doesn’t have to feel about how it’s received. Parker and I actually have that in common but I do try to be better about it because I CAN see the reaction. I try to apologize ahead of time, I promise! However, some people may not really care for her as a character and find her unlikeable. Which is the exact reason that I do like her!
As for the supporting characters in this story, while the boys (Jason and Scott) do play a part, it’s the girls that completely take over. Sarah and Molly were great counterparts to each other. Sarah has been Parker’s best friend forever and it was nice how Windstorm portrayed their friendship so realistically. As they’ve grown up, they’ve both changed a bit and have kind of let their friendship run on autopilot. I found this to be so true, especially with friends that you have had since you were little, as you tend to let things go as you grow up and never confront them head on. Molly is completely brand new to Parker and it was nice to see how her perspective on things was able to influence Parker. She needed this change in her life and I liked how that worked out. Molly didn’t know the history of certain situations and relationships so she gave a fresh outlook on them.
The underlying theme in this book is Parker’s relationship with her dad. His death wasn’t expected and is something that Parker has sorta walled herself off from. Watching her emotional growth throughout the book and how it affects her relationship and opinions of him was really well written in my opinion. There was one moment (I won’t spoil it for you!) that really affected me in regards to this, and I felt it was the turning point for the entire book. It was a truly wonderful chapter! I was really astounded to see just how much her feelings towards her dad had changed towards the end of the book. It was very real and moving, just a really beautifully sad yet hopeful thing to read.
This book covers a little bit of something for everyone from suicide and death to abandonment and trust issues, as well as being blind and relationships. If you go into this story thinking that it’s a typical YA contemporary focusing around romance, you are going to be very disappointed. The romance is probably only about 5% of this book. It serves its purpose as it helps Parker to grow as a person, but it isn’t the focal point. This story is about life, how we grow up and learn to deal with it when it isn’t perfect. And let’s be honest, it’s never perfect, is it?
Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars
Have you read Not If I See You First? What are your thoughts on it?