not if I see you first {a review}

aka how to make Ely cry in 310 pages or less (it was less. a lot less.)

me @ Eric Lindstrom. ouch but thank you

aka the second book of 2016 to rip me open. the first book of 2016 that made me cry. the first book in the past three years to make me look at my life and what I've lost and really evaluate whether I'm okay with it.

aka you really need to read this once I stop blogging and being emotional about it.

the problem with being a sometimes book blogger, full-time book fangirl is that sometimes you read a book and when you sit down to write a review, all rational thought vanishes from your head like it was vacuumed from your brainspace. and unfortunately, this usually happens to me when it's a book that I love. more than love. when it's a book that I need.

I didn't review Unwind for this reason. I had too much to say and not enough words. same with Believarexic. my review of Challenger Deep was so hard to piece together, and I think I wrote it like two months after I finished the book. I have a hard time reviewing books that blow my mind. many of them just pass me by.

I am not letting that happen to Not If I See You First. Not happening.

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.
(synopsis taken from goodreads)

when I first opened this book, I found Parker to be what she cracks herself up to be: "the reigning queen of not giving a sh*t about what other people think." there's no other way to describe her. she is blunt, to the point, and doesn't trust a soul. once you break a rule, there's no coming back into her tight-knit group of friends. since her dad died, she's been living with her aunt and uncle and their's awkward and tense and uncomfortable. her cousin won't talk to her. both her home and school are full of strangers who don't know the Rules. she just wishes she could talk to her dad again.

girlpower is huge in this book. going into it, I thought it was just a romance, plain and simple. I was so wrong. it is a romance, but it's also full of friendships and loyalties being tested. even in the relationship side of life, Parker and Scott have to become friends again before they can be anything more, and their journey back from pure and utter hatred (on Parker's part, at least) is refreshing and accurate. Parker's friends are there for her in so many ways, but the moment when their friendship becomes real is when she realizes she needs to be there for them too.

any one else need a group hug because I do

there are three big downsides to being blind--apart from the whole not able to see aspect of things. First off, no one thinks you can do anything. so many people are focused on protecting Parker, and while she sometimes needs it, she's perfectly capable on her own...most of the time. her aunt won't let her cook. the new kids at school don't know the Rules. if anyone knew she runs they'd stop her--and that would break her. You also can't see what's going on. not just in a physical sense. the only way you can tell someone is suffering is by their words...and their silences. when Sarah goes quiet on Parker, she doesn't notice at first...until she feels the gap between the two of them. and finally, because you're blind, because you've been through so much, people don't feel like they can tell you what's going on. when they're hurting or need someone to hold, they don't tell you, because you already have so much on your plate. even Parker's closest friends struggle to tell her what's going on in their personal lives. and she doesn't have a clue.

"Things are not as they seem" is also a huge theme in this book. Parker has a tendency to jump to conclusions. part of that is to protect herself, and part of it is because of who she is as a person. when Scott messed it up way back when, she took everything at the surface level and didn't dig any further. she didn't want to--it hurt too much. but once he showed up again, Parker realized just how much more there was to the story. and I'm not going to say much more about this because spoilers, but bless the character development in this book. for both of them.

this book made me hurt but in a good way. I definitely didn't expect to get that much out of it, but I did. Parker's feelings of loss--both because of Scott and because of her dad--echoed with something inside me. when Scott talked about losing Parker, I knew what he exactly what he felt as she walked away--every time she shunned him. when the two of them broke up, they lost more than their relationship. their friendship disintegrated too...and I understand that all too well. it's been years since it happened, but reading this book brought losing that friendship up again. I've forgiven what happened, but that doesn't mean I've forgotten. it hurt to remember, but it also felt good. the weird thing is that I understood Scott's feelings to an absurd degree--that element of I need to explain this, I need to fix this--but I was also like Parker, the one who walked away. In my situation, I was a little bit of both of them. and I think that's what really drove this book home for me.

 I also resonated with Parker as she forced her emotions way--I never put a gold star on my door, but I avoided tears as long as possible. I hated being weak...but every time I broke down, I realized how stupid that was. crying isn't weakness. crying is never weakness. the release that Parker got from her breakdown was very very real. never be afraid of crying. please. take it from someone who knows.

I loved all these characters so so so much. even Trish with her snarky attitude and originally giving Parker crap (well-deserved it may have been, but still). after they began running together, I couldn't help smiling as they exchanged sarcastic comments. in fact, that's another thing I love about this book. The characters you think you're gonna hate--Trish, Scott, D.B., even Sheila--they're the ones you end up loving to pieces. If I could give Kent a hug I totally would (that scene in the library, man...I was never prouder of Parker). the character you love at first--Jason--you end up disliking (at least, I did. ugh. Jason.) you don't expect the reversal at all.

 if I had to choose a favourite character, though, I'd have to go with Scott. even though I feel like we didn't get to know him--not like we knew Molly and Sarah and Parker and Jason and Faith--his character had a lot of umph to it. and the way Sarah explained how he looked at Parker...I know what she means. when you see two people who love each other more than words can sum up, the way they look at each other makes you want to wait for someone who looks at you like that too.

I have so many things I would love to add about this book, but I'm running out of words and as we speak I'm eyeing the book with a very strong desire to reread it after I finish my editing for the day. that's how you know it's a good 'un, guys. it's been less than a week and I already want to subject myself to the feels again.

so do yourself a favour. get this book. read it. devour it. cry a little if you need to. I sure did.

any books give you guys feels recently? I'm currently reading Bruiser, which is already giving me feels (don't listen to Jungkook's cover of Paper Hearts while reading Bruiser. just don't. it makes the emotions even worse), and next on the list is the Anatomical Shape of a Heart, which I am super hyped to read. but my February TBR is looking a little sparse, so if you have recs, lay 'em on me! I can take the feels (just kidding. I can't.)

have a fantastic Thursday, guys!


  1. Your fangirl feels made me want to read this SO much (and it is added on Goodreads boom). :D And don't worry (maybe you weren't worried lol), part-time book bloggers aren't the only ones who have problems reviewing books they love to pieces. I think it's because they mean so much more to us, they made us fall in love with them cause they get us, and we want to describe that perfectly.

    Also, book rec: If you haven't read Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella yet you should. You really should.

    1. yes--you sum it up perfectly. I've stared at many a book and just thought "...I can't write the review this book deserves...I am unworthy." XD

      I actually think I read it last summer! Wasn't one of my favourite reads, but I think I liked parts of it. :)

  2. This books sounds intense, I like that it has a blind protagonist. I just finished Cruel Beauty and It was a great read! I felt attached because the main guy was like one of my characters.

    1. ooooh I will have to check it out! thanks for the rec!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. I second the Cruel Beauty rec. It ruined my life (in the best way possible).

    4. just put it on hold! that cover looks intriguing! :)

  3. Oh my gosh, I need to read this. *goes and gets it from the library immediately*

    1. do it. I'll be here for your feels.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. That sounds so amazing! Like, wow! ~adds to TBR~

    Great review, I love when you can tell how much of a blogger's soul is in the review/book/feelings.


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