Title: Not If I See You First (2015)
Author: Eric Lindstrom
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 310 pages
Release Date: December 1, 2015
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.
The first thing you need to know about Parker Grant is that she is tough. She takes no shit from anyone, she thinks being called a bitch is a compliment, and she’s… well, how to put it? Occasionally, needlessly thoughtless to the point of being mean. This probably makes her an unlikeable protagonist to many, but to me, her no-bullshit act was quite refreshing—albeit a little frustrating, at times.
I found the blurb to be generally misleading. More than the implied romance, Not If I See You First was more about Parker’s own coming-of-age—her own learning to be vulnerable, to not put up such a strong front, to let people in. She started the book as an unlikeable character: somewhat judgmental, occasionally selfish, often unnecessarily harsh.
“Awww,” I interrupt him with my sweet voice. “You figured that out because you just heard someone say it. And I know your name for the very same reason. Douchebag isn’t very nice, though, so I’ll just call you D.B.”
“Shhh…” I shake my head. “Don’t ruin it.”
Over the course of the book, though, Parker grew. I still don’t really care to be her friend at the end of the book, but I appreciate how much she had developed. If before she would bite off people’s heads if they treat her ‘differently’, she’s a bit more understanding now. If before she didn’t shy away from expressing her opinions even when it wasn’t the time and place, she has a bit more tact now. If before she wrote people off at first mistake, she’s more open to second chances now.
This romance unfortunately didn’t blow me out of the water. Parker and her love interest Scott sometimes acted childishly, which made room for a little bit more back-and-forth than would have been necessary. I’m also not particularly fond of big, sweeping love declarations as well, especially not at the age Parker and Scott are, although another person could argue that it’s more realistic this way. 😛
Not If I See You First deals with many important things. It explores disability and shows us how Parker lives in her day-to-day life, and how she herself deals with it (occasionally as a shield). It explores friendships, and how sometimes you can find it in the most unexpected of places. It explores forgiveness, first impressions and second chances:
“People are full of things you don’t know but that doesn’t mean they’re secrets; you just don’t know everything yet.” He lets go. “And that’s good, otherwise, you’d have no reason to talk anymore.”
Lindstrom’s writing is really easy to get into, so overall Not If You See Me First was a fast read for me. Plot-wise not much really happened, but the development of particular characters and relationships was enough to make this book generally enjoyable. I’d recommend it. 🙂