Parker Grant is a junior in high school who loves to run, has great friends, and isn't afraid to speak her mind - especially when it comes to how stupid some people can be around a blind person like her. The only topic to avoid is how Parker feels about the boy who broke her heart in the eighth grade...who has just transferred to her school. And as long as she can keep giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn't cried since her dad's death three months go, she'll be just fine. Right? Not If I See You First is an exploration of the blindness that comes with being a teenager (visually impaired or not). Combining a fiercely engaging voice with a true heart, this story sheds light of those feelings of insecurity that exist in both new relationships and the oldest friends.
This book had one of the bitchiest and yet fiercest and most lovable character I have seen in a long time. Parker was blinded in a car accident that killed her mother when she was just a child. She has been blind for several years so she has adapted to things pretty well. The narration of this book was so strong and it's amazing how well this author was able to make me feel what it would be like to be a part of Parker's world. I was able to see everything through her eyes and this book talked about so many different issues that blind people have to face that I take for granted. Parker is not aware of what her friends look like or what race they are or what clothes they wear on a regular basis or whether a guy that she likes is cute. I thought it was funny when she was talking about what her childhood best friend (Sarah) must look like. The last time Parker had her sight, Sarah was seven years old. Parker made the comment that even though she knows Sarah has changed since then, she still can't help but picture Sarah as that seven year old girl, I just thought that was amusing.
I loved that Parker was so adamant about not needing help and that she was determined to do everything on her own. The girl is so determined that she even runs by herself every morning. It's amazing. What's more amazing is that Parker wants zero sympathy and that she gets frustrated by people who do think that kind of stuff is unusual. One of the things I didn't like about her was that she could be rude to people who were worried about her. And yeah, I get it, she wants to be independent and she doesn't want to be treated differently. But couldn't she educate people without being rude and making them feel like crap for asking? Then again, if I were Parker and if I got pity as much as she probably does, I would get more than a little impatient too.
Another one of Parker's faults is that she holds grudges and man, if you make a mistake with her, that's it. NO SECOND CHANCES. That part of her personality was a little hard to understand, but maybe it came from the fact that her mother deliberately caused the accident that blinded her. I don't know, but it was interesting. So Parker had a best friend and kind of boyfriend (Scott) when she was thirteen. Scott made a huge mistake and as a result, Parker was humiliated. Instead of giving Scott a chance or listening to his explanation, she just cut him out of her life. She started avoiding him at school and ignored his calls. He eventually changed schools, but now he is back and she is forced to deal with her feelings for him. I loved the character development in this book. Scotts arrival forces Parker to reevaluate her policy of no second chances and also forces her to realize that maybe she isn't the friend she thinks she is. And yes, she can be selfish. She is still reeling from her father's death. Her Aunt Celia, along with her two cousins, move into Parker's home so that she doesn't have to learn an entirely new environment. Because she is blind, that is a big deal. Her cousin, Sheila, kind of acted like a brat a little bit, but I got the reasons for that a lot faster than Parker. Sheila had to change schools and change her life completely to fit Parker. And then whenever Sheila had a problem, Parker assumed it was all about her and she hated her for it. So yeah, Parker was selfish. But like I said, there is a lot of redemption for Parker towards the end of this book. The middle of this book was so incredibly emotional, but I do think the pacing started slowing down a little. I kept waiting for something else to happen. This was such a moving book about family and friendship and love and forgiveness.
Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one!