Contemporary Young Adult
Available December 1st
Source: ARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.
Not If I See You First is engaging from beginning to end, giving us little choice but to fall in love with a protagonist who has a delightfully blunt mouth and refuses to be held back by what others would consider a handicap. Mr. Lindstrom writes in a fluid, conversational style, one that keeps us from checking page numbers every now and again to note our progress and instead leaves us shocked when we find ourselves halfway through in what felt like the blink of an eye. As a result, we can't help but feel as though we know Parker from the moment we meet her, a part of her group of friends despite the barrier of paper and fiction between us.
Parker is a joy with whom to spend a couple hours, in possession of a set of rules regarding her blindness those around her must follow for both her safety and theirs (a fist smashing into their face if they startle her with an unexpected touch is something to be avoided) and determined to run unaccompanied every single day. She's unapologetically honest–in a brutally humorous way–with those around her, calling things as she sees them (no pun intended) with both friends and strangers and bringing a smile to our faces as she does so.
A quiet romance does come into play as we follow Parker in her day to day life, a former best friend re-entering the picture thanks to a school consolidation, and Mr. Lindstrom manages to keep things between them light yet full of emotion at the same time, the drama kept to a minimum but the feels cranked up as new light is shed on past mistakes. When Parker has the opportunity to see the event that caused their rift from a different perspective she doesn't let it pass her by, instead reaching out to make amends in a beautifully genuine way once she realizes Scott was not the only one responsible for the deterioration of their relationship.
Not If I See You First is a story full of humor and witty banter between friends, with gorgeously flawed teenage characters free of deep dark secrets and angst-ridden moments to exaggerate the fiction of their lives shining brightly from the pages. We're treated instead to young women and men who laugh, cry, face things we can relate to and some things we can't, all the while feeling as though we could find them walking the halls of the high school closest to us.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.