Not If See You First by Eric Lindstrom

Eric Lindstrom
Not If I See You First
310 pages

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.

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.

On the paper Lindstrom's "Not If I See You First" looks great. It has blind protagonist, written from first point of view--something that I've never experienced before. Having a blind protagonist means Lindstrom has to depend on olfactory, hearing, or other senses to describe things here, which consequently means no extremely-handsome-hero-that-makes-the=heroine-swoon. What a refreshment. 

While Lindstrom successfully writes from a blind protagonist's point of view, he doesn't succeed in writing a female voice. His narration of Parker--our main character--may be convincing as a girl's voice, but it's their conversation that seems less unconvincing. The conversation between Parker and her girl friends are not fluid. It feels staged, not to mention that their conversation is shallow. It doesn't even pass Bechdel test.

The plot itself is disappointing. While I hope for something inspiring, about the strive of a blind girl who has to go through high school, for example, "Not If See You First" is a really cliché young adult book, with romance and adolescence's confusion of choosing the right significant other take its main part, leaving Parker's blindness as a plot device. And it is not good, because for a premise as good as this, Lindstrom seems to waste this all. The plot is flat as well, without any conflict. It's more like Parker's slice of life with her friends and her love life and unresolved subplot.

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