Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Eric Lindstrom
Parker Grant doesn’t give second chances to people who break the rules. Because she is blind, the rules are both for her and the people around her to make life better. After her mom died in a car accident leaving her blind, her first boyfriend, Scott, broke her heart, and her dad dies of a prescription drug overdose, the rules are more important than ever. She is no longer afraid to tell people what she really thinks because she can’t see anyone’s reactions, but when she and Scott are back in the same school and the track coach asks if she would be interested in running on the team, she learns that her bluntness is preventing her from healing and from being able to care about the people around her. Maybe some of her rules are meant to be broken.
Not if I See You First is an emotional roller coaster. The issues with friends and lack of communication feel real. Her perspective on not judging people by their color or weight is also a nice touch. The biggest issue, however, is the continuation of the YA trend to have female main characters be unlikeable, self-obsessed, and mean, particularly if they have some kind of disability. Having a disability does not give you a license to treat others poorly, but Parker only barely realizes that she has been awful to many people around her at the end of the book. However, when she does realize that she’s made big mistakes, she does try to fix them. In spite of the issues, the book shows wonderful friendships with different kinds of relationships for each person and deep emotion, dealing with divorce, death, abandonment, blindness, and being a good friend, making it a great read for any fans of young adult books.
*Contains strong language.