Review: Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom

Dec 7, 2015

TitleNot If I See You First
Author: Eric Lindstrom
Publisher: Poppy
Publishing Date: December 1, 2015
Pages/Format: 320, Hardcover
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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.



Book in One Word: Hm.

I'd seen Not If I See You First here and there, but I hadn't heard much about it and it wasn't a book that was really on my radar. Then I won a copy from The NOVL's newsletter (thank you!) and saw some good reviews start to pour in, and I was intrigued. I thought it would be interesting to read a novel from the point of view of someone who was blind, and I'd also heard that the voice was stellar--and I love a standout voice. Those reviews pushed me to bump it up on my TBR, and it turned out to be a good book that moved just a little too fast.

The thing about Not If I See You First is that it's fast. Maybe it's because we're in the head of someone who's blind--Parker--and therefore don't actually see things, but a lot of it moves rather quickly: the story takes place in a short amount of time, and it's fast-paced and a quick read. I don't mind all that, but the story itself needed to slow down a bit. Things would be said or a chapter would end and that would be it, and I would be confused. This or that happened and I wouldn't understand why decisions were made so quickly or things happened so fast. I never really felt like it bothered me, but I constantly felt like there was something I was missing. And the ending--I was almost to the last page and I could see the bold Acknowledgements through the page, and I was utterly shocked. I did not think the story was at the point that it could be over, so I was pretty surprised. It wasn't exactly unsatisfactory, but I just needed a bit more.

As a character, Parker Grant could probably be deemed unlikable. It's not that she's blind--that's actually a really interesting aspect to her characterization, and I wish this novel would've been a bit more on the serious side and really delved into that, because I could almost forget that Parker was blind. In other words, it just didn't feel like a part of the story, in a way? But back to Parker being unlikable. She's...well, she can be bitchy. Since she can't see a thing except darkness, she uses her mouth for snark and to build up a personality, and she refuses to let her blindness slow her down. (Literally. She runs, and there's this one scene that was pretty awesome, if you ask me.) Even though Parker can be harsh, I liked her character and I liked her voice. I'm a fan of snarky and quick voices that just keep you turning the page, and aside from the fact that things could be too quick, it worked pretty well here. Plus, unlikable characters can actually be more on the likable side, depending.

I should probably mention all the other characters, too, but the only ones whose characterization felt completed--or that I didn't need any answers from still--were Sarah and Molly. Sarah's like a sister to Parker, and their friendship runs deep. They're like a yin and yang to each other; when one's about to go over the edge, the other pulls her back. Molly, on the other hand, is a new friend for Parker, but one who's quickly learning The Rules (a list of rules Parker has that basically say how to/not act around her, since she's blind) and shaping up to be a strong friend. There were other characters, too--Scott, Faith, D.B., Sheila, Jason--but by the time the book ended I felt their stories were never completed and like I still had questions about them. So I guess the ending felt incomplete?

Not If I See You First is definitely a strong debut, and I wouldn't say no to reading future books by Eric Lindstrom, especially with the voice he can write. It was an interesting story with a unique and original protagonist and a compelling cast of characters, but the quickness to the story took away depth, and that made it hard for me to fall for this book. It needed a chill pill, I guess. And when I woke up the morning after I finished it, I don't know that it crossed my mind once. So...there's that? I mean, I liked this book and it definitely has several positives that outweigh the negatives--though the negatives don't feel negative. (Is this even making any sense?) Upon finishing it, I was just surprised that it was over and that was all their was to the story. And now, a day later, I don't really feel anything toward it. And that's all I have to say.


Did I like it? Yes.
Did I love it? No.
Would I reread it? Probably not.
Would I purchase it? I already have it, but if I didn't, I wouldn't be in any need to have it on my shelves.
Who would I recommend it to? People who like to read about characters with disabilities who aren't weighed down by said disabilities, and people who are fans of strong voices and characters with snark and wit.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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