At the beginning of this book you are introduced to Parker Grant who has been given the brilliant tag line, ‘Parker Grant doesn’t need perfect vision to see right through you’. Parker Grant is blind, but this isn’t stated explicitly as the story begins. You read her dreaming, and going out to go running, and finally it clicks – this character cannot see. You realise how blind you yourself have been as a reader, because Parker’s story is, at least metaphorically, eye opening.
Parker life has been turned upside three months prior to our story starting, when her father died, possibly of a purposeful overdose. Her aunt and their family and have come to live with her and she has to learn to live with them and not with her father. Plus her high school has just merged with another, meaning she is suddenly surrounded by new people, well, and some old people. Scott Kilpatrick she’s encountered before, when they went to middle school. And they dated. And he broke the ultimate rule.
Parker’s story is one that will make you laugh, and shout, and cry, and the whole while it does this it will make you amazed at the things you never even considered before. How your life might be different, but also how your life might be exactly the same, if you were blind. As Parker uses brail tags to pick out what she wants to wear, as she has people around her point out (like it should matter) that she doesn’t know if they’re under or overweight, or what skin colour they are, you realise what your priorities are, and perhaps what they should be instead.
Parker’s story is a fantastic read. It’s got a great plot, but what it ultimately is, that pushes it head and shoulders above the rest, is its characters. Not a single one is a cliche. The people who in another book might be a lazy, dumb jock, or a tired, bitchy popular-girl; in this they are all more complex. They are all proper, fully realised people.
That is what Parker’s story really brings home, that people are people. Whether they can see or not, whether you can see them or not. And the relationships you can develop between yourself and those around you are beautiful things.
We give this book a ten out of glorious ten, will definitely read again.
Have you read ‘Not If I See You First’? What did you think? Let us know at @maximumpopbooks.
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