Two books that changed me: Not If I see You First opened my eyes. Girl in pieces tore me apart.
Not it's time for you to suffer all of my fangirling.

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.

What is absolutely brilliant about this book is not the disability part. I mean, it is brilliant that a strong, intelligent, no-nonsense and no-drama heroine should be representing this spectrum of the population (I personally don't think I've EVER seen that in a book before, so that alone is huge). And it is important and go get that book NOW.

But that alone doesn't make a great book. And Not If I See You First is a great book. It has everything: plot, incredibly real characters, realistic life situations that are sometimes  super funny and at other times heart wrenching, and relationships. I think this book is the 'model' for friendships. Study it, readers, writers, everyone. It was so wholesome and amazing, I have never been so excited for female friendships in a book before. (With the possible exception of Austen).

And, of course, let's talk about the romance. The yummy, swoony, goals, why-does-this-boy-exist-in-a-book, woooow incredible romance. The incrediblest part of it (is that a word?) is that it doesn't start out as such. It starts out as someone caring for someone who can't even freaking see them. And, of course, it continues like that to the very end, but with swoony parts added in with more and more intensity, until the slow-simmering burn of underlying tension is almost too much to bear. (For the protagonist and for me.)

Okay, enough with the fangirling (you wish). The real reason I'm writing about this book, instead of the tens of other gorgeous ones I read this month alone (I have a problem, ok? We've talked about it before.)

You might recognize yourself in this book. In these characters, in these situations, in these feelings. And, in the end, that's what makes a good book a great book. Literature. The fact that it holds up a mirror to ourselves, our flaws, our strengths, and tells us, look, this is who you are, and this is who you can be.
This book was that for me, and more. It deals with about selfishness, forgiveness, trust. And it's a story, which is fun to read (sometimes), but make no mistake: it's hardcore. It made me realize how I feel, going through life with a different kind of disability. I feel like Parker does, I feel like I'm walking in utter darkness, struggling not to bump into stuff and get seriously hurt. This. Exactly this.
And this book gave me hope that someone may be watching from the bleachers, hoping to catch me. Or that I might be the one to catch myself. Or, better still, a combination of both.

Thank you, book.

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge. 

It's no secret that this is a book about self harm and mental hospitals. What is special about this one, is that it's about so much more. It's about healing and growing up and taking responsibility.
This is so important, and it's the reason this book stands head and shoulders above every other book that tries to tackle these sensitive issues. (Also, trigger warning, it gets brutal and descriptive and gritty). 

Listen up, authors, insider secret: We can tell. If we've been there, even the slightest bit (or much much more than the slightest bit) we can tell if you have no idea what you're writing about. We can tell if you're romanticizing stuff, or trying to just write a fun story. Because there's nothing fun about hurting yourself in order to survive, but there's a lot of truth in it. And some of us might be actively seeking out these books in order to get some insight, some light, some help even (although that's not the smartest idea, more often than not.) But with this book, it is.

This book knows stuff. It doesn't give you false hope or a fairytale. It doesn't say it's ok, you can do it, or a boy will show up and rescue you (facepalm) or one day you'll wake up and you'll be healed. More important still, it doesn't say you can save yourself. There's no bigger lie than that. 

What it says is this: You can survive this. And after surviving, you can slowly find your way to start living again. You will need others and you will need yourself. You will fall down and you can pick yourself up, if you decide to. And it doesn't pretend to have all the answers. It just tells it like it is. And we need that. 

I would, of course, have loved a solution, a love story, a warm fuzzy feeling. But that wouldn't be honest, it wouldn't be the truth. And that's the kind of book this one is: it will tell you the truth. 

You'd be surprised by how much healing lies in that, just the truth. I was.

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