ARC Review: Not If I See You First-Eric Lindstrom

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synThe 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.

review2.5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Poppy

Not If I See You First impressed me from the first page. The author does an amazing job getting you into the mindset of someone who is blind. From the little ways that Parker has had to adjust and the issues that she faces, especially the part about being unable to read and listening to books to learn things like trig, to the various ways in which people make assumptions about blindness, it’s the kind of story that makes you think and might give you some perspective. 

That being said, there are so many issues that took my star rating from 5 to 3.The story is about a girl who is mourning. Not only has she lost her father recently to what may or may not be suicide, her mother made a mistake that caused her blindness and died in the process, and she’s lamenting the loss of her best friend/ex-boyfriend. Parker is made of loss but she doesn’t let it get to her. Her blindness is something she’s mastered and she refuses to let anyone treat her like she has a disability. She embraces her blindness as if it were an accessory that only adds to her uniqueness. I LOVED that about her. She’s quirky and blunt, she tells it like it is without fear of repercussion because in her mind, what more does she have to lose?

Here’s the thing, while Parker does have some amazing one liners, she’s a sarcastic, brash, and extremely rude person on several occasions. She spazes out and makes assumptions NONSTOP while judging everyone else for being SO judgy. It’s irritating and takes away from her character. She misses so much that’s right in front of her not because of her physical blindness but the mental kind. For someone who claims to be there to listen, she doesn’t hear anything. She makes up her mind and runs with it in a very self-involved way. 

The whole deal with Jason. I don’t even know where to begin. There’s a light love triangle but really it shouldn’t qualify because it’s so obvious what will happen. She really likes this guy, they have great chemistry, and yet, she’s dismissive, judgmental, and barely gives the guy a chance. She’s mean to him, cuts him off, and pushes him away in a really horrible way. 

The clichéd mean girl. It wasn’t anywhere near necessary and felt like filler. 

Secondary characters that could have been an asset to the plot faded into the background and had barely any involvement in the storyline. Just when they start to get interesting, bringing in diversity and issues like neglect, depression, etc., they’re dismissed for Parker’s “problems”. 

Parker was dealing with serious issues, the loss of her best friend/father and in the beginning, you feel that emotional pull. She talks to him, she asks him things, and the loss is potent, but as the story progresses that too fizzles out in favor of a love story. 

Scott is a sweetheart. He’s incredibly swoon-worthy, the way he looks out for Parker is adorable and so thoughtful. He’s attentive and sees beyond her blindness to the best friend and girl he fell in love with. Scott is also realistic, he understands the difference between nostalgia and reality. Sometimes, something we think is there is a memory and others, it’s something buried that can be rekindled. He’s the rational one that will have you reevaluting everything you think you know. 

What started as something special and important about loss and blindness, self discovery, growing, and appreciating friendship turned into a lukewarm romance that missed the original point entirely.

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