Publication Date: December 31, 2015
Publisher: Harper Collin's UK
Pages: 310 pages
Not If I See You First is one of the most talked about YA novels of this year. The main character, Parker, has a disability that doesn't define who she is - not because it's a small disability (she is blind )- but because she refuses to let it define her. She is also struggling with the dead of her father, when suddenly her school merges with another high school and she is confronted with an ex-boyfriend that broke all her rules.
What is so great about this novel is Parker. Plain and simple. She's an amazing main character, who is constantly struggling between who she feels she is supposed to be and who people expect her to be. She obviously goes through some tough things and while she doesn't just brush them off (which would be ridiculously unrealistic), she's actively trying to minimise them so that she can continue living the way she is. Besides that, Parker is funny as hell. She's sarcastic, at times mean, and knows exactly how the deal with people who only see her as "the blind girl". She runs by herself, does all her schoolwork, and basically sees people better than others can.
But somehow, I found something missing in this book. It's hard to pinpoint, but for me it was all just a little bit too easy. We start off with Parker in a really difficult situation (blind, parentless, heartbroken, bitter,...) and all these issues are mostly resolved by the end of the book. While I would expect some serious therapy, friends and crying session seem to be all Parker needs. This is a great idea, and I love the group of female friends that are always there to support her and each other, I just expected a little bit more. In some ways, it seems too much like a Disney movie at times. This can be enjoyable - I really wanted everything to work out for Parker - but also a little bit predictable at times.
However, I still thoroughly enjoyed Not If I See You First. I know very little about not being able to see and this book really gave me insight about the little things people can struggle with and the demeaning attitude we can have towards them. Parker is stronger than most characters in the book and it doesn't make any sense when anyone babies her. The reader learns this in an enjoyable way and the book reads really quickly and easily. But like I said, it's just not perfect for me, so I'll have to give it four out of five stars.