Monday, November 23, 2015

Review: Not If I See You First

Eric Lindstrom
Contemporary Young Adult
320 pages
Available December 1st
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
The Rules:

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.

Rating: 4.5/5

Find Eric:
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.


  1. Okay, I am soooooo in! Parker sounds like my kind of girl.

  2. Oh I didn't know about this one but it looks so good! The characters look levely to discover! thanks for the review!

  3. You had me at 'drama kept to a minimum'. I think that books like this are very important, in addition to being entertaining.I don't read much contemporary, as you know, but I'll definitely make an exception for this one.

  4. Just like Maja, the moment you said "drama kept to a minimum" and a book with a blind protagonist that doesn't wallow in self pity but is also mature enough to reach out to others when she understands that things are not what she thought they were... I'm really intrigued by this one! To the wish list it goes!

  5. Wow, Jenny, this sounds FANTASTIC!! One of my favorite parts of a book is when characters have witty banter, so that's always a major plus for me. I also adore feelings in books (I know, I'm strange LOL!) Fantastic review! I'm definitely looking forward to reading this one now. :)

  6. Jenny! How have I never heard of this book before today? Have I been living in a cave? I obviously have!
    This sounds like such a Nick book. Minimum drama, fun protagonist and a quiet romance! You know how much I crave all of those in books. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention, Jenny.
    Wonderful review!

  7. This sounds good! I love a book with humor and angsty moments.

  8. I like the sound of the characters and that this has lots of humor. I havent' seen this one before, but you have caught my attention.

  9. Parker sounds like a really good character to fall in love with so I'm glad you enjoyed spending so much time with her! I always love when books take me on an adventure, so much so, that I don't even remember I'm reading a book! :)

  10. Gorgeous review Jenny and so well written! I completely want to read this now!

  11. I've never understood why there haven't been more books with those that have a "disability". I would think they would make very interesting characters since the world they live in is parallel to and slightly different than a norm. I do like the sound of Parker and she is a perfect protag for this book. Need to read it!

  12. I'm often drawn to flawed characters - love watching them grow, so I'm very curious about Not If I See You First! Parker sounds like one of those heroines that I would love to know better, and there's a touch of romance?!
    Lovely review, Jenny :)

  13. This sounds so different and interesting!

  14. Oh wow, this sounds very different and very good! I love that it has a character that is blind. We never see that in YA. I will have to add this to our diverse books. :)

  15. Less drama is always a huge plus, Jenny. I also like how the disability doesn't bring the book down or make Parker whine/gloomy. I really the humor aspect is heightened. I have the arc of this one from ALA. Looks like I need to dig it up soon!

  16. I've always been interested in reading books about people with disabilities, so Parker being blind intrigues me. I'm bummed I didn't request this one when it was available! Bah.

    Great review, Jenny!

  17. Excellent review, Jenny! Happy Thanksgiving. :-)

  18. Fantastic review, Jenny! This is a new-to-me book, so thanks for putting it on my radar. We need more books about young adults that have disabilities and from the ones I've read, it has ended up being pretty powerful...looking forward to checking this one out. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving!

  19. Parker sounds fantastic Jenny and yes to a quiet romance. Wonderful review!!