Great Disability Representation
Actual Rating 3.5 Stars
I don’t feel like I’ve read many books that feature Disability in KidLit, and none that I can remember that feature a blind protagonist and I really wanted to rectify that.
Not If I See You First started off brilliantly. I instantly fell for Parker’s no-nonsense attitude, her strength in spite of her disability and her pure determination. I loved her friends Sarah, Faith and Molly and it was looking to be a REALLY GOOD BOOK.
And then, somewhere in the middle, everything good I was feeling about this book just fell away. Let me explain in a more clear fashion.
THINGS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:
1. THE ROMANCE: I didn’t feel it. Best friends for four years and then they dated and then didn’t speak for TWO YEARS and it was all so FLAT where there should’ve been chemistry flying off the page. He watched over her, was always staring at her, he yearned for her all the time and never forgave himself for one simple mistake he made when he was thirteen and it was all a little unbelievable and strange.
2. LET’S JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS: Even though Parker learns this about herself at the very end of the book, this whole story is about how she jumps to conclusions about everything. She wears her disability like armour seven feet thick and YOU ONLY GET ONE CHANCE SO DON’T BLOW IT and it was strange. She had these unrealistic expectations of people she just met and well, it felt like a warped world view. People were trying to be nice to her and be her friend but she automatically assumed the worst in EVERYTHING and it was a little frustrating.
Despite there being some not so good things, there were a lot of good things about this book:
1. THE FRIENDSHIP: The girls in this book and the friendship they shared was definitely a plus point for me. Molly, Sarah, Faith and Parker were exactly the kind of girl gang I love seeing in Young Adult books. They were strong individual characters who supported and protected each other. I especially loved how they helped Parker through schoolwork and social stuff that she couldn’t notice because of her disability and well, I LOVED THE SCENES WHEN THEY WERE TOGETHER.
2. DISABILITY PORTRAYAL: Even though Parker was a jump to conclusions sort of person, I did really like Parker. She was strong and very determined to not let her blindness hold her back. I am a little disappointed that only hearing was portrayed out of the senses that Parker had (and not smell and touch) but I loved the portrayal regardless. I loved how she was determined to run track, to be independent and to not be treated differently because of her lack of eyesight.
I wish parts of this book had been better, but this was a book I would have read even if I knew about the things I didn’t like.
I honestly wish we had more of Disability, and a loss of a sense organ in particular in books, because it’s very important to see diversity in literature. 3.5 stars.