Great Disability Representation // REVIEW: Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstorm

Title: Not If I See You First
Author: Eric Lindstorm
Publication Date: May 5th 2016 (June 2017 in India)
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
Part of a Series?: No, A Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: Harper Collins India (THANK YOU!)
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Blurb Description: 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. 
Actual Rating 3.5 Stars 

When I saw this gorgeous book on the Harper Collins India International releases catalogue, I knew it would be one that I HAD to read. This is mostly because I don’t feel like I’ve read many books that feature Disability in KidLit, and none that I can remember that feature a blind protagonist and I really wanted to rectify that.

Not If I See You First started off brilliantly. I instantly fell for Parker’s no-nonsense attitude, her strength in spite of her disability and her pure determination. I loved her friends Sarah, Faith and Molly and it was looking to be a REALLY GOOD BOOK.

And then, somewhere in the middle, everything good I was feeling about this book just fell away. Let me explain in a more clear fashion.


Image result for not if i see you first eric lindstrom
Graphic by Madison's Library
Jesus, Parker… do you love me?”
I guess I’m pushing forward.
“Okay… did you love me a month ago?”
I frown. “Be honest.”
“Not exactly, but-“
“It just switched on again?” He snaps his fingers. “Like that?”
“No, but…” I don’t know how to explain it.
“See?” he says. “It’s complicated.”
I guess he’s right."

1.       THE ROMANCE: I didn’t feel it. Best friends for four years and then they dated and then didn’t speak for TWO YEARS and it was all so FLAT where there should’ve been chemistry flying off the page. He watched over her, was always staring at her, he yearned for her all the time and never forgave himself for one simple mistake he made when he was thirteen and it was all a little unbelievable and strange.

n  There was also this dialogue about “when the people who love you stare intensely at you all the time it’s okay because they mean well” and it was very creepy.

n  Everything about their relationship was based on the past and that he was watching over her because her dad couldn’t and I didn’t like it because they BARELY INTERACTED AT ALL. Anyone who’s even been a teenager knows how you change from the ages of 13 to 16 and to Scott and Parker this didn’t matter at all.

2.       LET’S JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS: Even though Parker learns this about herself at the very end of the book, this whole story is about how she jumps to conclusions about everything. She wears her disability like armour seven feet thick and YOU ONLY GET ONE CHANCE SO DON’T BLOW IT and it was strange. She had these unrealistic expectations of people she just met and well, it felt like a warped world view. People were trying to be nice to her and be her friend but she automatically assumed the worst in EVERYTHING and it was a little frustrating.

Despite there being some not so good things, there were a lot of good things about this book:

1.       THE FRIENDSHIP: The girls in this book and the friendship they shared was definitely a plus point for me. Molly, Sarah, Faith and Parker were exactly the kind of girl gang I love seeing in Young Adult books. They were strong individual characters who supported and protected each other. I especially loved how they helped Parker through schoolwork and social stuff that she couldn’t notice because of her disability and well, I LOVED THE SCENES WHEN THEY WERE TOGETHER.

2.    DISABILITY PORTRAYAL: Even though Parker was a jump to conclusions sort of person, I did really like Parker. She was strong and very determined to not let her blindness hold her back. I am a little disappointed that only hearing was portrayed out of the senses that Parker had (and not smell and touch) but I loved the portrayal regardless. I loved how she was determined to run track, to be independent and to not be treated differently because of her lack of eyesight.

I wish parts of this book had been better, but this was a book I would have read even if I knew about the things I didn’t like.

I honestly wish we had more of Disability, or a loss of a sense organ in particular in books, because it’s very important to see diversity in literature. 3.5 stars. 
Eric Lindstrom
In addition to writing Young Adult novels, Eric Lindstrom has worked in the interactive entertainment industry for years as a creative director, game designer, writer, and usually combinations of all three. As Editor and Co-Writer for Tomb Raider: Legend he received a 2006 BAFTA nomination for Best Video Game Screenplay, and then as the Creative Director for Tomb Raider: Underworld he received a 2009 BAFTA nomination for Best Action Adventure Video Game and a 2009 WGA nomination for Best Writing in a Video Game.

He has also raised children, which led to becoming first a school volunteer, then a substitute teacher, then a part time kindergarten teacher, then getting a credential to teach elementary school, and most importantly the discovery that YA literature is awesome. It’s pretty much all he ever reads, and now writes, in his house near the beach on the west coast, with his wife and, yes, cats.

Have you read Not If I See You First? What did you think of it?
Have you read any YA Fiction that has a protagonist that suffers from any disability? Do let me know and I'll add them to my TBR (If I haven't read them already!)

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