BOOK REPORT for Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom

Cover Story: Secret Message

BFF Charm: Big Sister

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

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Talky Talk: Real Talk

Bonus Factor: Friendships

Relationship Status: See You Later, Alligator

 EricLindstrom

Cover Story: Secret Message

At first, I assumed that the Braille on the cover—side note: if the dots aren’t actually raised on the hardcover, the designers seriously missed the mark—said “not if I see you first.” However, after a little investigation, it actually says “seeing is not believing,” which makes a whole lot of sense after you’ve read the book, but might be confusing if a blind person were to read it before the story inside.

The Deal:

When she was 7, Parker Grant’s mother caused them to have a car accident in which Parker lost her eyesight and her mother lost her life. And in the decade since that fateful day, Parker’s learned to live with both consequences, the former thanks to The Rules, a set of rules for other people to follow that makes her life a little easier.

But then her father dies. And her extended family moves in. And Parker has to be in the same school as the guy who broke her heart—and the Rules—in eighth grade. And she has to learn how to deal all over again.

BFF Charm: Big Sister

Parker can be totally abrasive and lacks a filter; she tells it like it is, no matter what. For some people, her kind of personality might be a deal breaker. But I see it as a coping mechanism. Parker’s had a lot of really terrible things happen to her in her life, and she’s only a junior in high school. That kid of weight would wear on even the strongest of individuals. I don’t know that I’d like being around such a strong personality at all times (particularly considering that I can sometimes be abrasive and filter-lacking as well), but I would love to be there for her when she needs a shoulder to cry on, or someone to hug.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

In eighth grade, Parker’s best friend and first love broke her heart. She hasn’t had to talk to him in two years, but when the two high schools in her city combine, he’s back in her life. There are definitely some feelings that need to be worked through because of this.

Parker also dates, but the relationship serves more to help her learn about herself rather than being a true romance.

Talky Talk: Real Talk

Because Not If I See You First is told from Parker’s perspective, and Parker is blind, there’s not a lot of description of people or places in the novel. This is never an issue, however; just because Parker can’t physically see anything certainly doesn’t mean that she can’t describe other characteristics in full detail. Eric Lindstrom does an excellent job of creating a fully fleshed-out world through Parker’s thoughts and other senses, as well as the lengths she has to go to in order to get around on her own without anyone’s assistance. (For example, her thinking about her path and how many paces it takes to get to a certain store in the local mall.)

I don’t know how much research Lindstrom did into the life of a blind person while writing Not If I See You First, but it feels like a pretty accurate depiction of the way life would be if you couldn’t see. He also did an excellent job at writing from the perspective of a teenage girl. Parker—and Parker’s friends—all felt so very real. They loved, they laughed, they fought, and they made up, but nothing was ever neatly wrapped up with a pretty bow. Teenagers are inherently kind of dumb, and they make dumb decisions. But it’s not really their fault, and they can learn to do smart things if they’re given the chance. (It’s called growing up.)

Bonus Factor: Friendships

For being such an abrasive character (see BFF Charm, above), Parker has some really amazing friends, friends who stick by her no matter what. And Parker herself is a great friend, when she’s not too focused on her own problems to see what they need her to do. (Teenagers, amirite?) I connected so much more with the friendships in this book than I did any of the romantic relationships.

Casting Call:

Maddie Hasson as Parker

Relationship Status: See You Later, Alligator

You weren’t what I expected, Book, but I ended up having a really good time. I appreciate that you know that you don’t know everything, and that it takes work to fix things once they’re broken. You’re going to do great things if you keep that mindset, I just know it.

Not If I See You First is available now.

Mandy lives in Austin, TX, where she's a technical writer by day and a pop culture junkie by night. When she's not ensconced in a book for Forever Young Adult, Mandy can be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.