Have you ever read a book that just leaves you speechless? A book that leaves you with an entirely new perspective of the world? Maybe the writing was beautiful or the story really grabbed you? All of the above apply in this case.
"Not If I See You First" is the type of young adult contemporary novel that more authors should be writing. The protagonist, Parker, is a strong and independent girl traversing the perils of high school. She maintains standards for her friends and returns the loyalty. She endures tragedy and emerges stronger from it.
Oh, and she's blind.
It's a testament to the author, Eric Lindstrom, that the book was about Parker as a person, not just as a blind person. Her disability was not unnecessarily focused on; it just seemed like another detail that composed this intricate character of Parker. She is combative and sassy and generally intolerant of lies and hypocrisy. She may not always be the nicest person in the room, but she's generally the most honest.
Her blindness obscures the stereotypes and prejudices that we both consciously and subconsciously possess. She understands the deepest fears and dreams of her best friends without having to consider if her friends are pretty, ugly, fat, skinny, black or white. As a reader, that's really unique because out of the collection of young adult books that exist, the exploitation of physical appearance in order to stir conflict and resentment is overdone.
"Not If I See You First" is a refreshing coming-of-age story about the intricacies of friendship, the misconceptions of love, and the bonds of family. Parker is the person we all want to be more like-- to have her courage, her humor, and her honesty. To live with blindness is no easy task, but Parker shows us that the blind are more than their blindness. They are not victims, they are humans with complex emotions, aspirations, and flaws too. Parker teaches us to look beyond stereotypes and stigmas and see the humans beneath.