Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Saturday, May 21, 2016

Plot Summary:
When people think of Parker Grant, they think she is outspoken, intelligent, and incredibly brave despite the fact that she is blind. Parker wasn't born blind, but an accident that claimed her mother's life is the reason she can no longer see. Although Parker cannot see, she chooses to wear a scarf around her eyes simply to make a statement that she may be blind, but she isn't dumb. Along with her intellect, and sharp whit, Parker is passionate about running. Whenever Parker goes running, she uses her senses to navigate the streets pretty much freaks out her aunt  and most of the neighbors. Despite running the risk of literally running into things, Parker runs her heart out because it's her only chance to escape reality for a few moments. Life wasn't always easy for Parker, but, with the help of her devoted father, Parker has been able to overcome quite a few things. Unfortunately, life happened once again and Parker must now go on without her dad. Luckily for Parker, she has a group a friends who have not only been there since the accident, but have been by her side ever since her best friend betrayed her. Now a junior in high school, Parker must now face the past and not only forgive, but deal with the challenges that face her in the present and future. In this riveting coming of age story, Parker Grant must let go of all of the pain and learn how to trust and love all over again.

Critical Evaluation:
I am beyond impressed by Eric Lindstrom's craft. Not only did I devour this book in one night, the story has been stuck in my mind for over a week. Although this story is nothing new, it is told from the point of view that a lot of us cannot begin to understand. Parker Grant is blind and it happened in accident that claimed her mother's life. Although her mother should have never been behind the wheel, stories like Parker's are not new. Furthermore, with the loss of her father, Parker has never been more alone despite the unconditional love and support from her best friend, Sarah. Furthermore, with the return of Scott, all of the pain and anger that she has been trying so hard to bury is ready to explode. What I love the most about this story is that it's not a story about a girl with a disability, but about a regular teenager who is trying to mend a broken heart and just so happens to have a physical disability. By using her blindness as a back drop, Lindstrom conveys to readers that being blind doesn't affect a person's ability to love and feel. In fact, the only difference between a person who can see, and one who cannot, is sight. All of the characters in this story are so well done that it's not hard to love them because they represent some aspect of our own character whether we want to believe it or not. This is a beautiful debut and I can't wait to see what this author comes out with next!

Information about the Author:
According to the author's website:
Eric Lindstrom writes Young Adult novels, including Not If I See You First, released December 2015, and the upcoming A Tragic Kind of Wonderful, coming January 2017, in English in the USA from the Poppy imprint of Little, Brown for Young Readers, and in the UK and the rest of the world from HarperCollins Children’s Books.

He has worked in the interactive entertainment industry for years as a creative director, game designer, writer, and combinations of all three. As Editor and Co-Writer for Tomb Raider: Legend he received a 2006 BAFTA nomination for Best Video Game Screenplay. 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 Young Adult books are 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.

Teen Contemporary Fiction, Teens with Disabilities, Teen Romance

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 9 & up

Books Similar to Not If I See You First:
  • Running Dreams by Wendolyn Van Draan
  • The Beginning of Everything by Robin Schneider
Awards & Recognition:

* "Lindstrom's immersive portrayal of the dimension Parker's blindness adds to both atypical and everyday angst imbues his protagonist with mature complexity...An unflinching exploration of trust, friendship, and grief."
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"The byplay between Parker and her friends is believable, and in creating a heroine whose drive for independence brings both risks and rewards, Lindstrom adds a note of complexity to his gripping depiction of how Parker learns to trust and forgive."―Publishers Weekly

"[Not If I See You First] possesses crackling wit, intense teen drama, and a lively pace that pulls readers in, as do the everyday details of Parker's world: spoken-word texts, clever methods of finding her way, and a guide runner who helps Parker when she considers joining the school track team. This unique coming-of-age tale is off and running from the start."―Booklist

"Characterization is fantastic-very few high school stereotypes, and lots of challenged expectations about mean girls, pretty girls, blind girls, fat girls, jocks, and coaches. Parker has just the right degree of acerbic wit to be likable even when she's bitchy, and when she falls apart, her insight into her own character is heartbreaking. And Scott?-oh, Scott, may your tribe of boys who respect boundaries and learn from mistakes increase. This will have broad appeal for readers who need to learn a thing or two about how to shepherd themselves and their friends through difficult times."―BCCB

"Lindstrom's realistic and humorous dialog breathes life into an eclectic cast of characters. Parker's relationships, including the one with herself, do not sugar-coat the mental struggles familiar to many teenagers. Readers will laugh through tears, with the novel ending on a note of hope and maturity."―School Library Connection

"Bursting with complex, lovable, and, best of all, real characters, Not If I See You First is a beautiful story about love, loss, friendship, and the difference between looking at and truly seeing. Parker Grant feels like a friend now -- a friend I want to laugh with, to cry with, and run with."―Jennifer Brown, author of Hate List

"This book is fierce, funny, and honest. And get ready for some of the most likable characters you've read in years."―Deb Caletti, National Book Award Finalist

"Parker Grant is unforgettable: vivid, feisty, and absolutely loveable. This book broke my heart, but left me smiling."―Fiona Wood, author of Wildlife and Six Impossible Things

"Not If I See You First is thoughtful and honest, with characters that made me laugh, cry, and surprised me at every turn. It's a book I'll recommend for years to come."―Kody Keplinger, New York Times bestselling author of The DUFF and co-founder of Disability in KidLit

{ 1 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Oh, wow! I really want to read this now! Great review:)


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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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