Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom
Every once in a while a book comes along that has the potential to spin its genre on its head. A real game changer and one that breathes new life into a tired formula. Unfortunately, Not If I See You First is not it.
Parker Grant is just like any other teenager, except she is blind. She creates the ‘rules’ which she demands everyone lives by, namely not to treat her any differently and to never take advantage of her. There is no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart. When he reappears in her life after four years, Parker has to figure out if some rules are meant to be broken.
Sadly, Not If I See You First casts aside all the potential it has and is simply another cliché story about a young adult romance. It is predictable, soppy and a story we have read many, many times before. There is no real climax or conflicts and instead we are left to endure endless pages of friendships and high school dramas.
What makes it even harder to read is that Parker is not a likeable character. Yes, both her parents have died in tragic circumstances and she lost her sight in an horrific accident, but that should be no excuse for the way she treats her supposed friends. She is constantly rude to every body she meets and is too self-obsessed. Of course she realises this eventually, but the point is made too late in the story to salvage your own feelings for her. The other characters are fine enough, but you can’t help but scream at the book when they, once again, fail to stand up for themselves.
Despite its flaws, it is refreshing to see some tight female relationships in the story. That aspect seems to be missing from most other young adult novels. There are also numerous other friendships documented in the story which all lends itself to the theme of not judging a book by its cover.
Speaking of covers, the book designers have added a nice little ‘easter egg’ with the front cover design. The braille on the cover spells out something other than the title (Lindstrom leaves hints in his acknowledgements so it is easy to work out). Also, if you have 3D glasses, pop them on for a peek at the front cover.
Despite the flashy design though, this debut novel is sadly uninspiring and too formulaic. Lindstrom isn’t a bad writer however, and I look forward to seeing how he evolves.
REVIEWER: Rebekah Fraser
TITLE: Not If I See You First
AUTHOR(S): Eric Lindstrom