I received this book for free from BEA16 in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist
Published by Little on 2017-01-03
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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In his debut novel, YouTube personality and author of We Should Hang Out Sometime Josh Sundquist explores the nature of love, trust, and romantic attraction.
On his first day at a new school, blind sixteen-year-old Will Porter accidentally groped a girl on the stairs, sat on another student in the cafeteria, and somehow drove a classmate to tears. High school can only go up from here, right?
As Will starts to find his footing, he develops a crush on a charming, quiet girl named Cecily. Then an unprecedented opportunity arises: an experimental surgery that could give Will eyesight for the first time in his life. But learning to see is more difficult than Will ever imagined, and he soon discovers that the sighted world has been keeping secrets. It turns out Cecily doesn't meet traditional definitions of beauty--in fact, everything he'd heard about her appearance was a lie engineered by their so-called friends to get the two of them together. Does it matter what Cecily looks like? No, not really. But then why does Will feel so betrayed?
Told with humor and breathtaking poignancy, Love and First Sight is a story about how we related to each other and the world around us.
This is a tricky one to rate because I found Will’s story fascinating, his interpretation of the world before his surgery and his adjustments afterwards, realizing that he needs to learn how to see and interpret what he’s seeing with how he’s always learned without sight before was all very interesting. And it seems well researched, though I still don’t know how accurate Will’s descriptions of blindness and experiences might actually be since the author himself has never been blind. But I enjoyed reading about Will.
But I didn’t actually like Will or much of the rest of the book. Will fat-shames the vice-principal and grabs a girl’s boob (by accident but brushes it off as being totally acceptable because he didn’t mean to and he is blind, after all, but thoroughly enjoys being able to get away with these things because he’s blind and doesn’t even apologize) all in the first chapter. He didn’t improve much for me after that. I think I enjoyed him most when he was around Cecily and she was explaining art and perspective and many other things about the world to him. But Cecily, and the rest of the characters, were very flat and underdeveloped. Even his parents were a little all over the place depending on how the scene needed to work for the story. View Spoiler » In fact, he makes his mom stay outside in the car during his pre-op appointment where the procedure is explained and most of his post-op therapy sessions, even the ones when his medications are changed yet Will describes her as a helicopter parent. But I don’t see that behavior anywhere. I cannot imagine my mom being okay sending me into those appointments on my own. Also, I don’t believe for a second that she would sell her brand new car for thousands less than what it’s worth to fund a road trip for her son and his friends when her husband is a fancy doctor. Are there no other funds? Is there no credit card she can send with him? How about a debit card? Or sell the car to a dealer? I don’t know but there are about a thousand other ways I’d find to do this before doing it that way. Though I do fully support her wanting her son to see the world at this moment in the story. But the selling of the Tesla for cash to a fellow country club member just doesn’t fit. « Hide Spoiler
So overall, the story was interesting and the writing was fine, it just wasn’t what I had hoped for. I was excited for an interesting look at the definitions of traditional beauty from someone who hasn’t been inundated with these “beautiful” images all his life. I wanted him to grandstand about how unfair society is to those who don’t conform or who are born different. But I seemed to get more of a childish tantrum over something else (View Spoiler » Cecily failing to mention to her new friend Will that she has a birthmark covering half of her face? When all Cecily wants after a lifetime of being made fun of is someone who doesn’t notice her birthmark right away and wants to fit in, just list Will who doesn’t like to wear sunglasses inside and freaks out when he finds out people saw him go into the girls’ bathroom. « Hide Spoiler) instead. I wanted more meaningful relationships between Will and his parents and his new friends. And while the moments between Cecily and Will were among my favorite (tantrum not included), I really wish she had been more developed as a character. That they all had been more developed and complex and been given more time to really deal with the issues the book tried to address. But overall, it just fell short for me.