Summary and book reviews of Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom

Not If I See You First

by Eric Lindstrom

Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Dec 2015, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2016, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl

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Book Summary

The Rules

Don't deceive me. Ever. Especially using my blindness. Especially in public.

Don't help me unless I ask. Otherwise you're just getting in my way or bothering me.

Don't be weird. Seriously, other than having my eyes closed all the time, I'm just like you only smarter.

Parker Grant doesn't need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That's why she created the Rules: Don't treat her any differently just because she's blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.

When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there's only one way to react - shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that's right, her eyes don't work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn't cried since her dad's death three months ago. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened - both with Scott, and her dad - the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.

Combining a fiercely engaging voice with true heart, debut author Eric Lindstrom's Not If I See You First illuminates those blind spots that we all have in life, whether visually impaired or not.

PROLOGUE

My alarm buzzes and I slap it off and tap the speech button at the same time. Stephen Hawking says, "Five-fifty-five am." Just double-checking, like always.

I crank open the window and stick out my hand. Cool, misty, but not too humid. Probably overcast. I pull on clothes—sports bra, sleeveless shirt, shorts, track shoes— without bothering to check anything, since all my running clothes are black.

Except my scarves. I finger through them, checking the plastic tags, gauging my mood. I feel strangely unsettled, so I pick one that might help: the yellow cotton with embroidered happy faces. I tie it around my head like a blindfold, settling a smile on each of my closed eyelids.

The rising sun is warm on my cheeks; the sky must be clear, at least at the horizon. I lock the front door and slip the cold key into my sock. Where the path turns to sidewalk, I turn right and start to jog.

The three blocks to the field are programmed into my feet, my legs, my ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. As the novel is told from the perspective of a blind narrator, the characters are not introduced with the usual physical descriptions that authors often rely upon. What are some unconventional descriptors that Eric Lindstrom uses?
  2. How do people intentionally and unintentionally break Parker's Rules? How does Parker's reliance on her Rules change over the course of the novel??
  3. Rule #11 is: "Don't be weird." Why is this Rule important to Parker, and why might it be a challenging one for the people in Parker's life?
  4. Parker claims that she "tells it like it is" and practices tough love, but sometimes her opinions come across as abrasive or mean. How do you differentiate between being honest and being kind?
  5. What factors ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Debut novelist Lindstrom gives Parker a singular outlook, providing her with a strong, opinionated, sometimes brutally honest voice and never casting her as the helpless victim of her circumstances. Neither is she depicted as unrealistically heroic - she has shortcomings and flaws just like any well-rounded, complicated character.   (Reviewed by Norah Piehl).

Full Review (509 words).

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Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The byplay between Parker and her friends is believable, and in creating a heroine whose drive for independence brings both risks and rewards, Lindstrom adds a note of complexity to his gripping depiction of how Parker learns to trust and forgive.

Booklist

[Not If I See You First] possesses crackling wit, intense teen drama, and a lively pace that pulls readers in, as do the everyday details of Parker's world: spoken-word texts, clever methods of finding her way, and a guide runner who helps Parker when she considers joining the school track team. This unique coming-of-age tale is off and running from the start.

Kirkus

Starred Review. Lindstrom's immersive portrayal of the dimension Parker's blindness adds to both atypical and everyday angst imbues his protagonist with mature complexity...An unflinching exploration of trust, friendship, and grief.

Author Blurb Deb Caletti, National Book Award Finalist
This book is fierce, funny, and honest. And get ready for some of the most likable characters you've read in years.

Author Blurb Kody Keplinger, New York Times bestselling author of The DUFF and co-founder of Disability in KidLit
Not If I See You First is thoughtful and honest, with characters that made me laugh, cry, and surprised me at every turn. It's a book I'll recommend for years to come.

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Beyond the Book

Blind Runners

"I don't need a saint to run with, just someone willing and able and most of all, fast." When Parker, the main character in Eric Lindstrom's debut novel Not If I See You First, begins to contemplate making the switch from running on her own in an empty field at the crack of dawn to joining the track team, she knows she'll need to find a guide - hopefully someone as fast as she is - who can help her make her way around the track without tripping or running into obstacles.

Henry Wanyoike (left) and his guide, Joseph KibunjaIn the real world, guides also provide an essential service for runners with visual impairments, whether on the track or on the marathon course. At the Paralympic Games - the international sports competition for athletes with physical disabilities - guides (who...

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