I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
When I was reading the synopsis of this book, I was really excited. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to read a book with a blind protagonist, and this satisfied all of my curiosity! But, reading some of the reviews on Goodreads helped prepare me for what to expect from the romance aspect. But more on that later, now let’s talk about how chock-a-block this book was with plot strands.
P L O T
Parker Grant, the protagonist, was blinded in a car accident that killed her mother. Her father dies three months before the book begins, which causes her aunt and cousins to move in with her. She gets a new guide, Molly, at school, dates a boy she didn’t realise existed, gives bitchy love advice with her best friend Sarah to her peers and harbours love and hatred for her ex-boyfriend, Scott, who re-enters her life at just the wrong moment. On top of all of that, Parker is also a Maths tutor and enjoys running in her spare time, much to the distress of her family, who don’t want her to get hurt. Phew, that was a lot, but it pretty much sums up every aspect of this book. If you look at all the parts individually, you can pretty much guess what happens by the end.
C H A R A C T E R S
Parker is a little…mean. She says she doesn’t want to be but you can’t help but dislike her a little bit. The other people in her life try hard to empathise with her situation, but there’s no way they can truly understand what it’s like to be blind and an orphan. Parker is really independent, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s also no problem in admitting when you need help. There’s no point making a bunch of rules you don’t want people to break, and then not explicitly tell people those rules. Of course they’re going to break them if that’s the case!
She showed development throughout the book, getting less and less bratty as she came to terms with her feelings. She made some breakthroughs, and those were the best moments of the book, when she learns to accept that life is hard, for everyone, and that, sometimes, it’s OK to cry about it.
Scott, her boyfriend from when she was 13 who broke one of her rules and is therefore banished from her social circle, was REALLY lovely. I wish everyone had a Scott in their lives. He really cared about Parker, always on the sidelines to make sure she was OK. I thought she was being extremely unreasonable, harbouring a grudge against him for at least three years.
R O M A N C E
So, here’s where we get to the interesting part. Parker goes on a date with Jason. All is well, until she realises she still likes Scott. They don’t go out again, but Parker makes quite a deal about it. Scott is being the definition of a nice guy, and everyone keeps saying that he still loves Parker, but when it comes down to it, he can’t commit to saying he still loves her.
The argument put forward in other reviews was that the author was trying to respond to the call for ‘realistic romances’, ones that don’t end up perfectly, with a neat little bow. But, if you’re going to set up the nicest guy in the universe, and keep saying how much he still loves Parker, it makes no sense for him to not want to be with her. It was realistic in the fact that not everyone you like will like you back, but it was just dissatisfying. For once, it wouldn’t have been stupid if a romance was the product of this book, but instead we’re left with a cryptic ‘will-they-won’t-they’ ending that really knocked down my star rating.
Romances don’t have to realistic in fiction. That’s why it’s called fiction! Girls and boys have a hard enough time in real life finding a significant other who loves them back. At least characters can live happily ever after!
V E R D I C T
I’m giving Not If I See You First 3.5 stars. It was a good book, but when the main character annoys you, it’s never going to be perfect. It was certainly thought-provoking and worth a read, but sometimes it felt like the author himself was writing blind.