Not If I See You First
by Eric Lindstrom
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
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.
I will start this review by saying that I received an online copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange of a honest review.
A couple of years ago, one of my favorite TV Shows was Switched at Birth. One of the biggest attractions of the series was the fact that one of the girls was deaf. All the small implications that it had (or not) in her life were explored and we had the chance to put ourselves in her shoes and to try to look at all the struggles she had to do to deal with non deaf colleagues at school, or how to communicate with the new members of her family who were not prepared for the difference when they met her.
Why am I telling you all of this? I am not going to lie and for sure, my interest in Not If I See You First relied on Parker being blind. I thought it would be a very interesting experience to face the world by her perspective on a book told in the first person. Nowadays it's becoming more difficult to surprise the readers on YA, which is not a bad thing unless you are willing to read something completely different from what you have read until now. Eric Lindstrom was able to make me think about small aspects of the interaction between someone who is blind and someone who isn't. Regardless that aspect, I wasn't focused on her refusing people to help her or in the discomfort they felt in result. I found myself thinking about other small things from daily life that unless we are facing something like this we would never think about. Like: would you switch off a light in a room where a blind person would be (probably not, you would think it was rude)? And how difficult would be for a blind person to keep up with all the regular classes (and how do they learn how to calculate functions resulting from graphs)? I believe that the majority of us are sensitive people who applaud and look for more inclusive initiatives and narratives. That we are really willing to not create the difference when it appears, but also not ignoring it when is needed in order to create a better justice for all. But in the end our good actions or our tentatives of making fluid sometimes doesn't work as we wanted to.
In this book we will learn a little bit from all of this approaches that can out ourselves thinking on what would we do. I believe there is much more to be explored but we can't forget that this is an YA. In a high school. Which means we couldn't not have a romance and some friends present there.
Parker doesn't stop to be a teenager, what only means that she is sometimes selfish and self centered, that she create dramas where they could be easily resolved, but also that she is a caring and lovely girl, who is afraid of suffering, who looks for barriers to defend herself from the world and who is, sometimes, really hurt.
On Not If I See You First you will also find out that sometimes we don't need bigger enemies than ourselves. This book was about the ability of forgiveness - for others and for us, about being in love (with life, with friends and with our special person) and about surviving, under different and traumatic circumstances.
The writing style is extremely easy to keep up and it gives us some pleasure moments when reading it. On a final note, I just wished the writer didn't pushed the romance so much. As for me, the last 20 pages were easily cut out because it started to be a little pushed and it took out the good register from the rest of the book. I still enjoyed the result from it but it could have been conducted in a different way.
About the author:
Addicted to the library Claudia loves to read on the move and we can usualy find her sitting in a train or bus reading while commuting to and from work. But don't be fooled she is also keeping an eye on the landscape and all around her. She is an avid defender of sustainability and volunteering and it's as easy to find her starting a new project as it is to find her chatting with her friends. She is a dreamer and loves good stories so she keeps looking for them in her personal life.