Not If I See You First is in a genre I don’t often read–Young Adult–and it’s one of the books I got in My Book Box (linked to my review of the service. I will add that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the books they sent). It convinced me that I need to open my mind to more of this genre, because I enjoyed it so much and found it dealt with real life more succinctly and honestly than plenty of fiction that’s marketed for adults.
Parker Grant has faced a lot of trials in her young life. When she was 8, she lost her sight and her mother at the same time, when her drunken mother smashed their car into a tree, killing herself instantly and leaving her daughter’s optic nerve severed. Her father stepped in to teach her to live as independently as possible, but 3 months before the story opens, he overdosed on pain medicine and died. Now she’s starting her junior year of high school with a new home life, because her aunt, uncle and 2 cousins have moved in with her. On top of that, the small town she lives in has decided it can no longer sustain two high schools, so her school has suddenly nearly doubled in size, with many new students and teachers.
She doesn’t want your pity though–in fact, she will spit in your face (metaphorically) at even a hint of it. Parker grounds herself in various ways. She runs every morning, does sprints across a field while counting steps. She has very close, loyal friends that have watched out for her since they were little kids. She has a chart on the back of her closet door, and every day that she does not cry about her father, she adds a gold star. She also relishes puns about her sight (i.e. the title of the book), is fiercely independent, and has a list of unbreakable rules that you have to follow if you want to be her friend and avoid being flayed by her very sarcastic tongue.
Parker is an appealing heroine, but what made me really love the book was seeing how she grew as a character throughout. She tends to be unforgiving and judgmental, and she gets called on it. She learns to accept her own imperfections, and to trust people even when they are not perfect. Additionally, she gives a very good definition of what love actually looks like.
Even if you couldn’t be called a Young Adult by any stretch of the imagination, I think you’ll find that Not If I See You First is enjoyable for any age.