Book Review: Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom
Number of Pages: 310
Date Published: December 1, 2015
Actual Rating: 4.5/5 stars
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 Eric Lindstrom’s Not If I See You First illuminates those blind spots that we all have in life, whether visually impaired or not.
I automatically add books with characters who have either a disability or a health condition to my TBR because (1) it is relevant to my profession, and (2) it is interesting to see how authors perceive the world from a PWD’s point of view. From the bulk I’ve picked up over the years, it’s mostly been either too depressing, too empowering (that appears all forced), or too profound. I guess this is why I was both surprised and delighted that this book managed to give off a more youthful and enjoyable vibe.
Let’s get things straight. This book isn’t romance-heavy. Rather than concentrating on “the romance cycle” as what other YAs usually do, it zeroes in on coping, courage, and friendship. It resembles a slice-of-life genre (yeah, sorry, anime jargon) where themes range from people, romance, drama, friendship, family, relationships, and some random element (i.e. sports, in this case track), only most of the time even with these themes, the stories are almost always geared towards making the readers feel lighthearted and relaxed.
This is exactly how I felt while and after reading Not if I See You First. It is not densely loaded with unnecessary drama. It has a lot more to do with understanding the life of a coping teen and her support systems (because calling them casual friends feels like the understatement of the century). The dialogue was a lot of fun. The sarcasm and the wittiness of each character made me like this book even more.
“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.”
I love love love Parker. She is snarky and sarcastic and awesome, even though we all know grief plays a huge part in that, but Parker isn’t the only one I loved. I pretty much developed this fondness for all of the characters, even the complex bitchy ones (view spoiler). I enjoyed every exploration of character/personality no matter how brief or subtle they were.
“Well…what’d you think of the song?”
“I don’t know. It’s all about cutting loose and having fun, and the tune’s catchy, but it also sounds like what’s probably going through a stripper’s head when she sees all these guys turned on by her but knows deep down all they care about is her tits and ass and nobody will ever really love her. So I guess I like how it sounds but not what it says. Do you like it?”
“I used to. I think you just ruined it.”
And can I just dedicate a paragraph for Scott. Well, hello Scotty. I am amazed because it is rare to find a guy with feelings of hurt and concern so transparent that makes it difficult to not relate to (and to not think about buried feelings at the back of my head *cries*) everything he says. I usually relate more to the girl, but this time, I had these involuntary jabs of discomfort every time Scott reveals how he really feels. Damn it, Scott. I wish you’d come out of the book so we can chat about the complicatedness of “fixing” things.
You also don’t have to worry about drastic developments and impromptu realizations. This book has a lot of denial (the good kind if that even makes any sense), contemplating, and just fumbling around amidst all the confusion brought about by many different relationships, again more friendship-centric. Because of this, I’d say it also has a touch of the coming-of-age genre, which again I’m almost always happy to take on.
So is this a book that I would readily recommend to everyone? Well, if you’re fond of good-humored, charming, and breezy reads, this should definitely be a part of your TBR. As for me, it gave me just the right dose of relaxation, fun, and giddiness, some remnants of loneliness at the end but not much to cause emotional destruction. Overall, that was definitely a more worthwhile use of my time than let’s say brooding over my reviewers. Oops.
Ps. Reading this book just made me want to go out and run a mile or two. Oh and even though I didn’t rate this book 5 stars, it’s still going to my loved shelf.
Favorite Quotes from Not If I See You First
I’ve been hearing a lot about standing in front of trains. You know I certainly would if it came down to it; I just think it would be better for all of us if we didn’t have to.
“She has impossibly high standards.’
‘So do you.’
‘Yeah, well, not impossibly high. Someone did come along who meets them.’
‘Your problem is thinking no one else ever will.”
“He still looks at you like he used to, even before you got together, like you’re the most important thing in the word. Like if you were trapped on railroad tracks he’d break every finger to get you free without even noticing…and if he couldn’t, he’d sit on the tracks and hold your hand and watch you instead of the train.”