Published by Hachette UK on December 1st 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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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 Eric Lindstrom's Not If I See You First illuminates those blind spots that we all have in life, whether visually impaired or not.
Have you ever read a book and not realised you were expecting it to be bad until it’s actually pretty good and you’re surprised? That’s how I felt about this.
There’s been a lot of hype and starred reviews for Not If I See You First, but I think I had it in the back of my mind that it would be yet another The Fault in Our Stars-style book. I was subconsciously predicting that this would be to blindness what TFiOS was to cancer and All the Bright Places was to suicide. A contrived, forcefully-philosophical novel with characters that feel like incarnations of John Green.
But it was actually pretty damn good.
I’m seeing two main criticisms of this book floating around – one being that the romance is not that good, the other being that the main character is unlikable. Strangely, though, these are the two things I liked most about it.
I honestly really liked that Parker was quite unlikable, outspoken and selfish at times, in a way that I personally thought was realistic and relatable. How annoying it would have been if she had simply been portrayed as a one-dimensional blind girl who can do no wrong. Instead, she is given a layered personality, flaws, and a sharp tongue that made for some funny moments.
And most romance fans won’t like this romance because it’s just not that much of a romance. In The Fault in Our Stars, it is easy to distinguish the two main characters as Hazel and Gus. But this book’s main characters are not simply a guy and a girl. In fact, Parker’s girlfriends play a much bigger part in this story. For me, it was more about friendship than romance.
The romantic side is less about getting the two teens together, and more a lesson on growing up, changing and learning to listen. Or it was to me. Which is why I am one of the few people who liked the atypical ending.
Lots of diverse female friendship, low on the melodrama and philosophical messages, and nowhere near as neat and cute as I’d imagined it would be. If I were to issue one warning, it’s that the book is a little quieter than many readers might like. But it was fun and insightful to read a book from such a different perspective, whilst also having the author treat Parker like a human being.