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Love and First Sight

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Love is more than meets the eye.

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 sweet but shy girl named Cecily. And despite his fear that having a girlfriend will make him inherently dependent on someone sighted, the two of them grow closer and closer. 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?

281 pages, Hardcover

First published January 3, 2017

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About the author

Josh Sundquist

9 books967 followers
JOSH SUNDQUIST is a Paralympian, author, motivational speaker, and Halloween enthusiast.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,053 reviews
Profile Image for *TANYA*.
1,002 reviews286 followers
October 4, 2017
3.5 Stars. I rounded up. I really wanted to LOVE this book BUT, something and I can’t quite put my finger on it didn’t do it for me. Perhaps the writing?? It felt choppy, I want to go into detail but I’m afraid I’d give something away. It had tremendous potential, great story, though.
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,472 reviews19.2k followers
February 21, 2017
Possibly 3.5? This was pretty cute and overall I really enjoyed it, but I'm looking at the review notes I took and they all seem to be negative (re: ableism). Probably going to film a video review tonight to make some sense of my thoughts. Link to come!
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,692 reviews701 followers
December 2, 2016
I had enjoyed the other book I read from Josh and I liked the premise, so I was interested right from the start.

I liked Will and his group of friends. They were like a band of misfits and the loyalty between them was perfect. Will's mom was a bit annoying, but it makes sense. And even Will mentions that she's a helicopter mom.

What I enjoyed the most was being in Will's head and learning about things as he did. Especially after the surgery. The science-y parts weren't too science-y and it definitely pointed out things I would have never thought of.

The best part of the story is the last chapter and I loved the format it was in. Overall, it was a quick and intriguing read.

**Huge thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss for providing the arc free of charge**
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,678 reviews456 followers
December 20, 2016
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life.

I enjoyed reading this book. I was pulled into the story right away by the wonderful characters, an interesting premise, and just the right amount of humor. This was a super quick read for me largely because I had a hard time putting the book down. The descriptions were vivid and I couldn't help but imagine what it would be like to be in Will's position. I am very glad that I decided to pick up this book.

Will is starting a new school. He previously attended a school for the blind but is transferring to a mainstream high school. He starts out having to deal with a well meaning but unhelpful assistant pricinpal and before the day is over he has not only made a girl run from the room crying but has also sat on another student's lap at lunch. Before long, Will seems to find his place at his new school with a group of friends that keep him busy.

Will has the opportunity to have an experimental surgery that can make it possible for him to see for the first time in his life. Once he has the surgery the sudden ability to see isn't as smooth of a transistion as you might expect. Since he has never had the sense of sight, he has no reference point. His brain developed without visual input and it takes a lot of work to understand what he can now see. The descriptions regarding his sudden ability to see were incredibly strong in this book. I felt Will's frustration along with him and his family.

Will's relationship with Cecily was a major focus of the story. They develop a strong friendship through their work together on a school project. Their personalities just seemed to click and they both seemed to gain a lot by being together. When Will can finally see her, things don't go exactly as planned and I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed by Will's actions. I do understand that he was upset by the fact that things were kept from him but I hated that he was willing to make as big of a deal about it as he did.

I would recommend this book to others. I found it to be a quick read that was rather eye opening. Will's quest to be independant and fit into the world was such an interesting story. The humor was nicely woven into the story and really added a lot to the story and character developement. I plan to look for future novels by Josh Sundquist.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers TheNovl.com.

Initial Thoughts
This was a nice quick read. I liked the characters and the premise was interesting.
Profile Image for Teresa Faliq ☼.
74 reviews51 followers
May 17, 2018
(I need to get better at writing reveiws in a timely fashion lmao)

I was at the library, just browsing around, and I honestly had no idea which books to get.. so I decided to pick up this one. I wasn’t disappointed.. this book was really cute and light and just overall pretty fun to read. (:

During this book, we follow Will who is going to public school for the first time. He has been blind all of his life, and has never gone to a public school before. His first day goes pretty well, he meets a group of people at lunch and they become friends. One of the people in that group is a girl named Cecily, and over the course of a few weeks he starts to develop a crush on her. Shortly after adjusting to the new school, Will is told that there is an expirmental surgery that could possibly help him gain his eye sight again, but of course it’s always a risk. Will realizes that the real world, the sighted world is much more complicating than he realized, and that his crush, Cecily may not be as traditionally “beautiful” as other girls. Does it matter what Cecily looks like? No, not really. But, then why does Will feel so cheated?

I’m giving this book four stars. Like I mentioned before, it’s really cute and fun.. the only problems I had with it were that sometimes things would get a little bit confusing. I wasn’t a huge fan of the way that Josh Sundquist described Will gaining back his eyesight. I understand that Josh has probably not actaully ever been blind, but the way he described how Will was seeing things for the first time was a bit odd, and it was hard for me to picture how exactly Will was seeing things. Of course, I’ve never been blind before, and I’ve never actaully known anyone who has been blind, so I can’t speak for much.

Another thing I had a problem with was that I felt like the ending was very rushed and since it was, it felt a little bit unrealistic for me.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and would reccomend for anyone looking for a quick/contemporary read :)) This book is fun, fluffy and informative. I also like that in (a way) it shows that beauty on the outside is not compared to beauty in the inside.

“You know what friendship means? It means sharing the burden. You didn't have to carry it all by yourself.”
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,087 reviews1,511 followers
December 27, 2016
Will Porter was born blind and at an early age his parents decided his best chance would be to attend a school for the blind to learn how to cope with is ability. Now at sixteen though Will wants nothing more than to fit in with normal kids his age and attend a regular school. His first day at his new school though has him accidentally groping a fellow student and making another cry.

Will does start to slowly fit into his new surroundings though making a new group of friends. As he finds his footing Will also starts to develop a crush on Cecily when the two are paired for a class project. Just as Will thinks he's becoming adjusted his parents spring a new experimental surgery on him where there is a chance that Will may gain eyesight for the first time in his life but are the risks worth it?

Love and First Sight is a young adult coming of age contemporary read with the twist of having the main character have the disability of being sightless. Will was an extremely likable character from the start with his quick wit with dealing with the obstacles in life that his disability quite often with a lot of humor to keep a reader smiling and chuckling.

The one thing I didn't quite enjoy with this one was the added drama towards the end with Will and Cecily, it just didn't seem to fit Will's personality with all he had to deal with in his life. The build up to this was fairly obvious that something was going to come about with Cecily's character and knowing it was coming I was a bit disappointed with how it got dealt with. In the end though I did enjoy the rest of the story and felt the characters and their journey was a likable one.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.wordpress....
Profile Image for Cassandra.
669 reviews86 followers
February 10, 2017
“Oh, my God, I am SO sorry, I tooootally didn’t see you there,” says a female voice.

“No problem,” I tell her. “I didn’t see you, either.”

This was an adorable little book that gave me all kinds of happy feelings. The plot intrigued me, so I preordered it back in December without much research. I was expecting pretty much what I got; an adorable story about a blind guy who gets the amazing opportunity to see after being born blind.

This is one of those finish-the-whole-thing-in-an-afternoon binge-able wonders. Since I was on vacation with my needy siblings and sun worshiping parents, I didn’t get to just binge it in a singular sitting. That being said, I tried valiantly and deserve a ‘You Tried’ sticker. Back to the book.

Will is the typical YA protagonist; adorable, sassy, and 100 percent aware of both. Being blind isn’t something he’s embarrassed about, or even too eager to change. Once the opportunity to get an operation that might restore his sight arises, Will decides to give it a shot.

The best part, and the most memorable by far, is the way Josh Sundquist approaches sight. I never thought of all the complexities such as perspective, depth, light, texture, and all sorts of other things you have only thought about in art class. I never realized how much work goes into identifying objects by sight.

Will’s friends were pretty great as well. Supportive, awkward, and hilarious. I’m not going to talk about Cecily much for spoilery reasons, but I liked her for the most part.

This was an adorable YA contemporary perfect for a binge read, with surprisingly thought provoking elements, and a loveable main man. Just the cutesy novel I had been looking for. ☺
Profile Image for সালমান হক.
Author 44 books1,245 followers
March 19, 2017
ভালো লেগেছে, বেশ ভালো লেগেছে। স্বীকার করছি, যখন শুরু করেছিলাম একদমই আশা ছিল না যে ভালো লাগতে পারে। একটু এলোমেলো লাগছিলো লেখা। কিন্তু কিছুদূর গিয়েই সেই অনুভূতিটা দূর হয়ে যায়। প্রোটাগোনিস্ট উইল পোর্টারের কারণেই বোধহয়, ভীষণ রিলেটেবল লেগেছে চরিত্রটা।

জন্মান্ধ একটা ছেলে, সাধারণ জীবন যাপনের জন্যে অন্ধদের স্কুল ছেড়ে ভর্তি হয় হাইস্কুলে(যেভাবে ফুটিয়ে তোলা হয়েছে বইয়ে, আমার ধারণা সেটা বেশ ভালোভাবেই সম্ভব- যদি সেরকম সুযোগ সুবিধা থাকে আর কি)। সেখানেই পরিচয় হয় সিসিলির সাথে, কিন্তু সিসিলির জীবনে একটা সিক্রেট আছে, যেটা সে বাদে আর সবাই দেখতে পায়(সেটাই স্বাভাবিক)। এদিকে স্টেম সেল অপারেশন আর কর্নিয়া ট্রান্সপ্লান্টের মাধ্যমে চোখের দৃষ্টি কিছুটা ফিরে পায় উইল, আবিষ্কার করে সিসিলির সত্যটা, তারপর?

আমার কাছে দুর্দান্ত লেগেছে উইলের দৃষ্টি ফিরে পাবার অংশটুকু। অপারেশন হলো আর একদম সাথে সাথে দেখা শুরু করলো এরকম হয়নি কিন্তু। একটা মানুষ, যার মস্তিষ্ক দৃষ্টি জিনিসটার সাথেই পরিচিত না, সে দৃষ্টি ফিরে পেলেও কি আদৌ কাজে লাগাতে পারবে দৃষ্টিশক্তি? না, তাকে শিখতে হবে, দেখা শিখতে হবে। রঙ চিনবে কিভাবে যদি রঙ কি সেটাই না বোঝে মস্তিষ্ক? আকার, দূরত্ব সব ক্ষেত্রেই একই কথা প্রযোজ্য। ভীষণ যত্ন নিয়ে লেখেছেন এই অংশুগুলো লেখক। একদম বাস্তব লেগেছে বর্ণনা। :) ইয়াং অ্যাডাল্ট বই, কিছুটা নাটুকেপনা তো থাকবেই, এটাতেও ছিল, তবে পরিমিত পরিমাণে। শেষের রোডট্রিপটায় অনেকটা জন গ্রিনের পেপার টাউনসের কথা মনে পড়ে যাচ্ছিল। হাতে সময় থাকলে পড়ে ফেলতে পারেন। ^_^
Profile Image for Jeff.
143 reviews401 followers
March 1, 2018

This story seemed like a very fun, light romantic book yet it was the complete opposite. The author made everything seem very serious, and I know, with a MC who’s blind and wants to regain their sight, of course it’s not gonna be a happy-go-lucky book.
But every time I read some of this book, there’s this depressed mood about it.
Result: I also feel the sadness.
Result after result: is this worth it or not?

IDK. just...how the hell did this supposedly fluffy book turn out to be like this?
Profile Image for Reggie.
251 reviews154 followers
December 24, 2016
• Disclaimer: I received a free eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ��

I love Josh Sundquist. He is one of my favorite YouTubers and one of the first that helped me discover the platform. I find him to be very smart, kind, funny, articulate & understanding. I've read one of his non-fiction works and found it to be very interesting. He is a great writer, orator and content creator. In fact, this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year.

You've probably guessed by my need to have a disclaimer, but this wasn't my favorite book. Inherently there was nothing wrong with it. Though I do wonder how those who are visual impaired will react to this book, and honestly that was a contestant though running through my head throughout this book. I think this book, for me, is the epitome of why own voices books are important. I don't know if this (especially the beginning) is a fair or accurate representation of someone in Will's position. I don't know that it's not. All I know is that Josh understands the importance of representation as an amputee, but as someone who hasn't been blind he does not know what it's like. Neither do I. Josh did his research, but you and I both know it's not the same.

I appreciated that Will had his own aspirations (journalism) in an attempt to define him as more than being blind, however those seemed to slip away as the story progressed. Again, something that's sad. These aspirations that had begun to fill him out as a person who is more than his disability was essentially dropped after more "pressing" story plots came about.

Speaking of more "pressing" story plots, let's talk about the surgery. There was nothing wrong with the surgery, in my opinion. It was actually interesting to see the aftermath of that and Josh did indeed his research on this front. It's also something that rarely happens, so it's nearly impossible to have seen this from a perspective that's not fictionalized. I found Will's process of understanding depth, perspective and colors fascinating. However I can see how this would put someone off, as most do not have the opportunity to have a surgery like this and that reality MIGHT (again I don't know, as I'm not in this position) be frustrating and how that changes Will, which might take away any relatability he has to someone who is visually impaired.

The side characters were woefully underdeveloped. Even our love interest was not as fleshed out as I would have hoped.

Lastly the writing was very cheesy. The circumstances, at least to me, did not seem to be over the top. But the words josh wrote, especially a lot of phrases at the end of paragraphs or chapters felt forced, awkward and cheesy.

I did like lots of things about this, though. Even though our side characters and parents weren't fully developed, I loved the roles they played in Will's life. They were contestant and funny. I liked how Will described scents and has this silly fascination with scratch-off scent cards. I liked the scenes where Cicely described things to Will and the way she described them.

One thing that was lovely about this is the writing style and the story was compelling enough that I SPED through this book.

I appreciate the attempt to write diversely. I don't know if it is an accurate representation, and I don't know that it's not. I do know that the thought of that was distracting to me and I overall wanted more development from the story.
Profile Image for Ari Reavis.
Author 17 books147 followers
December 21, 2016
*ARC received from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review*

I liked a lot but had some things I just couldn't wrap my head around. 'Seeing' things through Will's eyes was interesting. How he noticed things most people paid no attention to. I liked his little group of friends. The contrasts in adults were good. While the vice principal basically relied on stereotypes to figure out how to interact with Will, his journalism teacher expected Will to be on the same level on everyone else and didn't treat him any different. The romance was cute, but underdeveloped. I saw them more as friends. Now my biggest problem was how Will reacted to finding out how Cecily looked. I just felt his reaction to both his friends and Cecily for not telling him was sooooo blown out of proportion. It wasn't so serious to me. Like ok, she looks like that and.....? Beauty is perception, so how can he feel betrayed that your friends didn't tell you how they felt Cecily looked? The ending could've had more explanation as to how things progressed with Will's sight.
Profile Image for catherine ♡.
1,147 reviews150 followers
June 23, 2017
I really loved the synopsis. I thought the premise was so original, so different - this would definitely be a good book.

I started out loving it as well, not to mention Will's incredible sass.

But there are several problems I had with the book still. Firstly, the side characters felt underdeveloped. Even Cecily - I wanted to know more about her life, her background. And the other characters felt like they were simply there for comic relief.

I absolutely loved the writing at some parts actually, especially when auditory analogies were used for sight; some lines were absolutely beautiful, and the figurative language was amazing.

It was the ending that made me drop another star from my review - it just became too cheesy, more like a chick lit about some puppy love, than a contemporary novel about two characters who found each other despite their struggles. There is some ambiguity left at the end - and I do love open endings, but overall I thought the book had a lot of potential that, unfortunately, remained unexplored.
Profile Image for Gina.
442 reviews53 followers
January 11, 2017
Full review can be found here: http://bookishgina.blogspot.com/2017/...

Love and First Sight made me laugh out loud, it made me warm and fuzzy, gave me hope, made me see things in a new way, and also made me a bit teary eyed. Anyone who loves a good YA contemporary should check this book out! Love and First Sight is insightful, funny, heart breaking, and an all around great read.

I loved this book!! It was fun, insightful, beautiful, and eye opening. I loved the characters, the story, the scenery, and most of all the message. When Will is experiencing sight for the first time he gives the most detailed, yet basic, descriptions giving the reader time to take a moment and think about the colors and shapes of things they see on an every day basis.
Profile Image for Cyndi.
2,326 reviews95 followers
September 20, 2018
One of those books I wish I had more stars for! Our hero begins the story as a teen who was born blind. It is written in his POV! Awesome, right? The writer removed that sense from the story and must use the other 4 for visualization. He does it perfectly! Then when he goes through the steps to get his eyesight the writing is even more genius! The characters, plot, and locations come together perfectly. This is a YA novel that should be included in school curriculums. It lends itself to discussion.
Profile Image for mad mags.
1,107 reviews82 followers
December 1, 2016
Not as bad as I'd feared - but not as good as I'd hoped.

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through Netgalley. This review contains clearly marked spoilers.)

"A door swings open, dinging a bell. I recognize the next sound: the deliberate but controlled steps, treading gently, as if she’s trying not to leave footprints. I’ve never seen a footprint, of course, but my understanding is that the harder you press, the more of an impression you leave behind."

Sixteen-year-old Will Porter has attended boarding schools and summer camps for blind and visually impaired kids his whole life - but now it's time to go mainstream. Will wants to finish out his high school career in his hometown of Toano, Kansas - even if it's over the vociferous objections of his over-stressed helicopter mom. Unfortunately, Will's first day in public school is a bit of a disaster: he gropes a random girl in the stairwell, makes a fellow classmate cry, and plops down on yet another student's lap in the caf.

But Will quickly finds his niche in Toano High School. He takes a shining to journalism, where the teacher - Mrs. Everbrook - treats him like every other student. He partners up with and eventually befriends Cecily, whose knack for photography complements Will's way with words. He falls in with Nick, Ion, and Whitford who, along with Cecily, represent the entirety of Toano High's academic quiz team. Will even convinces Cecily to try out for the morning announcer cohosting gig, despite her obvious - and inexplicable - reluctance.

And then, just a few months into the semester, Will's mom drops a bombshell in his lap. At the hospital where his father works, there's an experimental surgery to "cure" blindness that's accepting applicants. The operation is a two-stage process: a retinal stem cell transplant, followed by a corneal transplant within two weeks. Even if it's successful, the surgery comes with a whole bunch of risks: Will's body could reject the new corneas, while the immunosuppressant drugs will leave him susceptible to common illnesses such as the flu. If the new eyes "take," Will will have to rewire his brain to properly perceive and process all the unfamiliar, overwhelming visual input. It's not as simple as waking up and being able to see; rather, Will will have to learn how to perform this new task that his eyes and brain have never done before.

The primary conflict in the story is how this surgery impacts Will's budding romance with Cecily. Love and First Sight is one of those books that sounds like it could be really awful and offensive ... but might (just might!) prove unexpectedly subversive and progressive. (See, e.g., The Continent. I added it to my TBR early on, only to drop it when the Twitter commentary started rolling in.) As it turns out, Love and First Sight falls somewhere in between.

** Caution: Possible spoilers ahead! **

The synopsis kind of skirts around Cecily's appearance, making it sound like maybe she's merely "ugly" (with a big nose, à la Roxanne, perhaps?), while her friends, in a bid to hook these two crazy kids up, talk Cecily up to be some kind of international, smoking hot supermodel. When Will finally gets his first sight of her, his shallow side wins out. Or at least this is the impression I got from the description. Thankfully, what I feared might happen does not actually come to pass.

Rather, Cecily has a large, purplish birthmark that covers the upper half of her face, earning her the nickname "Batgirl." (In my fantasies, I dreamed of an alternate universe where Cecily owned this slur, reappropriated it even, and strutted around the halls of Toano High wearing gold Doc Martens and a purple cape, wielding her digital camera like a weapon.) Her friends - and Cecily herself - simply fail to mention this one very obvious and defining feature when describing her to Will.

When Will is finally able to see her - or rather, understand that the lines and angles he's seeing do indeed make up the face that is Cecily's - he notes the existence of the birthmark. He understands that Cecily's face doesn't look quite like all the other faces he's seeing, but doesn't automatically classify this as a bad thing. Having never been bombarded with images of ideal or traditional beauty, Will has no opinion on the birthmark either way. He already loves Cecily, and he finds her beautiful. The whole of her, inside and out.

Yet the story needs conflict, so rather than be upset that she's "ugly" (Will openly bristles when his mom refers to the birthmark as a "disfigurement"), Will is angry that Cecily lied to him. That she kept this one Very Significant thing to herself. That she didn't want to go out of her way talk about being bullied, to delve into the source of this shame and embarrassment when she could just as easily not. Will interprets it as Cecily taking advantage of his blindness to feel better about herself, but that's a really selfish and self-centered way of looking at things. Especially coming from a guy who, for example, left his sunglasses at home on the first day of school because he didn't want to draw unnecessary attention to himself. Like Cecily, Will wants desperately to fit in, to not be defined by a congenital condition that he didn't choose and that does not define the whole of him. You'd think he'd cut Cecily a little slack, you know?

Instead, he goes on a pretty childish rampage, deleting his comments on her Facebook page and then defriending her altogether. He even tosses the box of photographs she gave him in the garbage, and then dumps a jar of mayo on the pile for good measure. I guess, as a 38-year-old, I should cut teenagers some slack, but it all feels pretty overly dramatic and out of proportion to the (perceived) offense.

On the positive side, the rift only lasts about twenty pages, so there's that.

Look. I get that the story needs some sort of tension, but I much rather would've seen it play out between Will and a society that says he couldn't/shouldn't/wouldn't love a girl like Cecily. That's where the cultural critique is at.

** End of spoilers. **

As for the rest of the story, it's pretty evenly split between things I love, and things I hated. The scenes between Will and Cecily are mostly lovely. I really enjoyed watching them interact, particularly those times when Cecily struggled to find the right words to describe a sensory experience to Will (and vice versa). Based on actual research, Will's quest to gain sight is fascinating. And though I'm not blind - nor do I have close friends or family members who are - Sundquist seems to do a good job of detailing how visually impaired folks experience the world, and navigate one shaped by "the tyranny of the visual."

On the downside, the male characters all feel pretty juvenile. For example, upon leaning that Will's dad is a surgeon, Nick insists that all male urologists must be gay, because why else would a straight guy want to look at penises professionally? (Also apparently there are only two settings, straight or gay.) Will comments on the principal's fat rolls several times, and Whitford is weirdly, regressively possessive of his girlfriend. Given how sensitively Sundquist handles Will's visual impairment, all these other microaggressions are especially annoying. (Ion rightfully calls Nick homophobic, thankfully, but all the other aforementioned incidents go unchallenged.)

And then there's the joke about sexual assault, right there in the very first chapter. When navigating the stairwell, Will accidentally grabs a girl's breast. An honest mistake, and it would've been excusable if not for this bit:

That’s what a white cane will do for you: Not only can you get away with copping a feel, the girl assumes it was her fault and apologizes for it. Let me assure you, random girl, you have nothing to be sorry about. Completely my fault. And my pleasure.

Nope nope nope. Intentionally grabbing someone else's body parts without their permission is sexual assault, full stop. (And yes, this is what we're talking about here; otherwise there wouldn't be anything to "get away" with. Plus, if it's truly an accident, wouldn't you feel chagrined, as opposed to smugly self-satisfied?) In fact this seems to be the go-to M.O. of our President-Elect, which Sundquist probably didn't know when writing this story, but makes it all the more offensive to see now.

Honestly, I almost threw in the towel then and there. Proceed as you will.

Profile Image for Mehsi.
11.6k reviews360 followers
February 7, 2017
Josh Sundquist has done it again people. He wrote yet another gorgeous book, and this one it is YA fiction. I can't wait to see what more he can write.

Well, I am still not entirely sure if I can write a review, but I will do my best! This book sure was a rollercoaster of awesomeness!
Edit after reviewing: Well apparently I was able to write a review. :P This is one of my longest reviews!

Let me first get two not so good things out of the way. Yes, I just have 2 little things that I didn't particularly like, still the book was too good in overall to not give it a 5+ stars.

So here we go.
Number 1 on my list of not so good things:
Will's mom. I can imagine why she did all she did, and she did some sweet things too. But her mothering and helicopter momming was just plain annoying. The way she made decisions (important ones) for him was just terrible. The whole operation part? I was just pissed at her for doing that stuff. How can you. Your son is not 3 any more, he is 16, he can, and must make this decision on his own. You can't say yes to stuff, you can't just make appointments. That is terrible. I can imagine you want to help him, but this is not going to help anyone. It will only make your son run away as soon as he is able to do that. And I don't think you want that.
Plus who the hell buys a Tesla when their kid is blind and relies on the sound of the car?

Number 2 on my list of not so good things will be spoiler tagged.

Phew, that was a relief to throw that number 2 out. That was definitely demanding a lot of attention. Then again it was my least favourite part in the book. Such a shame that it was added.

But but but but but the rest of the book, and the overall book feel, was just amazing, and I loved loved loved it so much! You can definitely tell Josh Sundquist did a lot of research about being blind, how it is for them, how the operation works, and how it will end. I am not blind myself, but I have read some literature stuff/saw documentaries about it, and the writer definitely captured the right feeling. It was all just really realistic.
I also liked how he was able to tell us, through Will, how blindness works, and some of the things that Will didn't like that people did are things that I have heard other blind people say was a point of blehness to them as well. People who just grab them out of the blue and drag them to places while they aren't going there. Or people who assume that just because your blind you can't do anything.

Will was an amazing character (well with the exception of that little tantrum). He was sweet, responsible, and a good guy. It was quite interesting to see him traverse through life, see how he experienced several things, from people who just were a bit too eager to help him while didn't need help, to people who didn't understand. How he walked the world while being blind. How he found his way through his home, school, or other places. It was also quite interesting to see him on a tandem with one of his parents. Them telling when there was a turn. It was quite amazing as well that he knew exactly where they were, just by calculating various variables.
I loved how fast he found a good group of people who didn't mind him being blind, who included him in most of the events (some stuff was just too hard after all).
I could imagine his frustration with his mother. He just wants some time to think, he just wants to make his own decisions. He is blind, not stupid.
I did love him and his dad together, sure it was at times awkward, but his dad really meant well and also was pretty helpful.
I want to wish him luck on his New Year's Resolution he made during the end of the book. I am sure that he can do it. Maybe with some help of Cecily and some others, but I can see him do that at the end of the year.

His friendship (and as we all can guess from the blurb so this is not a spoiler, much more) with Cecily was a delight to read. They didn't start off quite well, but after that it was quick friendship and she was there for him when he needed someone. She helped him out, she partnered with him, she talked to him. I just loved them together, and wished them all the best. I loved how it first was just friendship, some awkward moments, but then went to something much more. Yes, Will didn't want a relationship, but you can't stop love. It can happen at any moment. I was happy for both of them.

Cecily was a sweet girl, and when you know what is up, things connect to her behaviour at the beginning. I loved how she was with Will, and how she took care not to fall in the standard behaviour that people often do when they see a blind person. Instead she took her time, patience, and tried to explain stuff to him as simple as she could (even then it wasn't always the right explanation, but at least she tried). I felt so sorry for her for what she had to go through in her life. No one deserves that. :( I was really crying at the end and what she said there. *hugs Cecily*

The operation was definitely quite scary, and I was just hoping, praying that everything would go right, of course, by the blurb, we know this is going to happen, but I still was hoping. You never know, I have seen enough blurbs that lie. :P
And then after the operation, the worry, the stress. Would he be able to see? And how will he learn about the world that is now visible to him. And also will he be able to keep his vision, or will the donor material reject him as is also a chance.

I have to say I laughed so hard when he was learning shapes and colours. Especially the triangle was hilarious. How things, like triangles, just seemingly disappeared for him when it was turned around or flipped over. How later on he still didn't get the whole depth, perspective, and several other things, which was cause for some trouble, but, it was also quite magical to see him be so amazed by all the little things, and all the wonders. How he was so amazed by even the simplest thing, then again I can imagine that, he has never seen anything, but it was still very sweet and amazing to read about it. His observations made me laugh. Nah, it is no magic. Definitely not, though it is pretty magical how it all works so finely.

The ending was real cute, a bit cliché, but oh well. It was cute, and it was nice, and I was happy with what happened there. The mom definitely made a good redemption part there, though I would have loved to see the dad's reaction to it all.

I think I now have everything, oh wait, I have to give extra points to Dr. Bianchi. He was a great guy and I loved his enthusiasm for what he did. How he actually listened to his patients, how he actually tried to help out, and how he was honest with the facts. I wish everyone could have a doctor like this guy.

All in all a book that will make you laugh, cheer, cry, worry, hope, and much much more. You will step into a rollercoaster of a book that will take you up and down, all around, loopdaloop, and won't let you go until it is the end of the book. I loved this book, and I will definitely re-read it again someday.

I would also highly recommend this book to everyone. Be sure to read this one! It is a wonderful book with great characters.

Review first posted at https://twirlingbookprincess.com
Profile Image for Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer.
1,512 reviews5 followers
February 8, 2017
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Will is a blind 16 year old transitioning into a mainstream school after years in a safe blind school. If he's going to make it in a sight centered world then he'll have to learn to maneuver through whatever they throw at him. Cecily is one of a new group of friends Will grows closer and closer to. As soon as he's adjusted to the differences between him and his new friends his parents learn about a radical new surgery that could restore his sight to him for the first time in his life. His brain isn't wired for the sense of sight and as he adjusts to the massive new information he's also realizing that sighted people don't share everything with their sight-less friends...

"Yeah, independence and self-reliance sound nice in theory, but in reality they are just synonyms for loneliness. And before I met Cecily I was so tired, without even realizing it, so tired of being lonely."

I love books where I get to truly experience what it means to be a person different from myself. I am a sighted person so to follow Will around and to get a sense of his perspective was truly a treat, especially since this was so well written, writing wise and story wise! It's definitely a teenager book, set in a high school - ignore the setting, it is what it is. The setup was really strong. I totally bought why Will was coming to the school suddenly and I loved how it was used as a means to show us how his life as a blind person is. It's all in the details, from meeting Nick and his new friends to learning about Mrs. Chin's blind techniques. Even his parents are funnily stuck up, but still loving and ultimately, parents.

"Parents ask you questions about your life the way police officers interrogate subjects on TV cop shows. No matter how much information you provide, they will always follow up a hundred times with slightly reworded questions. So you might as well give short answers and let them pry out the facts incrementally so they feel they are making conversational progress."

I just loved Will. You can see why from the quote above - he's full of presence and personality. From the stickers on his wall, to his goal to be a reporter. Best of all I love his interaction with Cecily. How many of us would love for someone to get to know us without being able to judge us by our looks? I hope most of us raise our hands! We learned about Cecily only from Will's perspective! I totally loved that... And it made total sense to me why he was upset and also why he eventually let it go. I bought into them as a couple because of the clever dialogue between the two of them in the museum. She explains art and perspective in a way he can understand and is brave and kind enough to tell him he committed a faux pas and their whole class knows it! The morning announcements was a lovely part of the story that made the school setting an actual plus. The love story is very good and creates a nice ending to the book in which the story continues way past the end.

The really incredible part of the book is when Will regains his sight. There are some really great conversations that help us understand his perspective as a blind person who has never had sight. And a lot of effort was made to help us to understand what Will was going through being able to see color and to need depth perception, etc. I cannot play up this part of the book enough!

"... Is this how vision works? Is this how shapes work? They disappear and materialize, twist and morph, shift in and out of your field of vision without warning?"

I loved the perspectives of his parents in deciding whether to get this surgery or not. The conversation with his dad and how his dad explained it to him - wow! And his mom's sudden decision at the end just made me melt! We need more books like this with parents that can be casually cruel (cause they aren't thinking) and yet love and support in the best ways at the most important times.

I think what made this book so powerful was the strong dialogue that fit the characters but also wasn't wishy washy or bland and all the showing! There are many plot points that come together to show us why Cecily and Will grow closer. We see the things the group of friends to together that binds them. Will's narrative voice is super strong but we were also shown what he experienced and so got to experience it for ourselves! It's quite a powerful example of writing and story craft coming together in a book everyone should read!

The end of the book was really spot on to me. I wasn't expecting it so it really blew me away. The sighted friends have been an understated part of the story and they come together here at the end in a lovely way. It's not a huge, major thing so much as spot on for a group of teenagers in high school with a blind friend who can see for the first time in his life.

BOTTOM LINE: A must read for anyone who wants to experience blindness.
Profile Image for Jessica.
1,160 reviews81 followers
February 7, 2017
I first discovered Josh Sundquist by reading his memoir, and giggling the entire way through it. I'm not generally a non-fiction reader, but I devoured that book. That meant that when I found out that Sundquist had written a YA book, I knew I had to read it. I couldn't wait to see how his wit and honesty translated to a fiction novel.

First off, I have to give credit where credit is due. It's very obvious from the first few pages of this story that Sundquist did a tremendous amount of research on visual impairment, and worked hard to make sure that he was accurately portraying Will's day to day routine. Pair that with a lovingly crafted character, complete with Sundquist's signature wit, and you have a story that is a joy to read. I fell in love with Will, and the rest was history.

When the experimental surgery came into the picture, I found myself riveted. Everything was described in intricate detail, but it never felt overbearing. Instead, I found myself in the same situation as Will. Wondering if the surgery would be worth it, cheering him on when he was doing well, and lamenting with him when things weren't going well. His parents were so wonderfully supportive, if a little over involved at times, and there was this whole aura of growth and love to this book. It was a happy place to be.

Even if the friendship turned romance hadn't been a main portion of this book, I would have still loved it. Still, I couldn't help but fall for the slow growth of Cecily and Will's relationship. Cecily's acceptance of Will, her ability to open things up for him with wonderful analogies, tugged at my heart strings. I knew that fight was imminent, and of course I was right. What is YA without teenage tension? Still, it all felt so perfect. Not a single sentence of this book felt out of place. It all worked to build up Will, and show how amazing a person he was.

I'd highly recommend this for your reading list! If it's not there already, it's well worth a second look.
Profile Image for Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd).
1,146 reviews248 followers
July 30, 2018
“You know what friendship means? It means sharing the burden. You didn't have to carry it all by yourself.”

I thought it was great to see a blong main character represented in YA lit! Getting to know the world through Will's perspective was my favorite part of the story. They way was he thinks about the world is unique and he's constantly learning and growing and that was nice to see. I'm always a fan of friend groups and this story had a fun one. I like that for the most part, everyone was as supportive and accomidating, without being pitying. While I really enjoyed the story, it didn't wow me in an all consuming way. But I did really like listening to this on audio - it felt right for the story and the narration was fantastic.
Profile Image for Schokigirl.
345 reviews37 followers
March 5, 2018
German Review: 4,5 Stars

Anmerkung: Ich habe das Buch als Rezensionsexemplar vom Verlag bekommen. Danke dafür.

Die Geschichte wird aus der Sicht unseres Protagonisten Will erzählt, der von Geburt an blind ist. Der Schreibstil ist emotional & mitnehmend. Der Autor hat seine Recherche definitiv genau gemacht & konnte viele generelle Fragen klären & in meinen Augen alles authentisch darstellen.

Die Charaktere sind alle realistisch & authentisch. Keiner war besonders perfekt oder immer gemein. Sie waren wie normale Teenager halt so sind, manchmal seltsam & voller Hormone & manchmal lustig & lebensfroh.
Das Einzige was ich mir vorstellen kann, was Leute nerven könnte, wäre, dass Will nicht dahinter kommt, dass was mit Cecily & ganz besonders ihrem Aussehen nicht stimmt. Er steht quasi auf dem Schlauch. Für den Leser wird das schon relativ schnell klar, aber Will muss erst gegen Ende mit der Nase drauf gestoßen werden. Aber ich persönlich fand das nicht schlimm, weil es Angesichts seiner angeborenen Blindheit Sinn ergibt. Er hat nun mal keine Vorstellung davon wie Menschen auszusehen haben. Deswegen kommt er gar nicht auf die Idee, dass sie anders als die anderen aussehen könnte. Er denkt nicht mal über das Aussehen von Leuten nach, weil es in seiner Welt keine Rolle spielt.

Der Plot bietet von leichter Liebesgeschichte, über Freundschaft & Coming of Age bis zu der Erklärung von Blindheit so ziemlich alles. Die Handlung enthält eine Achterbahnfahrt der Gefühle. Wills Entwicklung ist sehr gut & logisch konstruiert. Besonders nach dem Umschwung gegen Mitte des Buches, schafft es der Autor neue Ideen & sehr emotionale Momente einzubauen. Die Erklärungen wurden sogar noch interessanter, auch wenn ich nicht direkt wusste, ob mir diese Änderung gefällt. Ich hatte befürchtet, dass es die Message kaputt machen könnte. Aber das hat es gar nicht. Es hat das Buch sogar stärker & spannender gemacht.

Ich habe absolut Nichts auszusetzen an diesem Buch. Dem Autor ist die Geschichte super gelungen & man merkt wie viel er recherchiert hat. Er hat zudem sehr viel Gefühl rein gesteckt. Mir hat nur der letzte Funke gefehlt. Das Gefühl, dass ein 5 Sterne Buch normalerweise in mir hervorruft. Daher habe ich 4,5 Sterne vergeben. Ich kann es definitiv empfehlen.
Profile Image for Fizah(Books tales by me).
626 reviews53 followers
November 11, 2019
“You know what friendship means? It means sharing the burden. You didn’t have to carry it all by yourself.”

One more book, I wanted to DNF. The main character was one of the most annoying characters I’ve EVER read. Okie, he is blind but it doesn’t give you a certificate to be rude with anyone. He is terrible with his family, friends and everyone. He doesn’t know what he wants. He doesn’t want anyone to feel sorry for him but he also wants special treatment. Plus he is quite judgy and shallow, He really pissed me.

Writing is also poor, the pace is so slow. Enforced diversity and bland characters.

I don’t want to waste my time to write a long review of this terrible book.

“Lean on others long enough, and eventually you’ll fall.”
Profile Image for Celeste Paed.
19 reviews1 follower
June 9, 2016
I just want to start by saying kudos to the author for finding a way to make me see what was happening in a book that's told in first person narration from a blind kid.

I borrowed this book from my roommate who received the book as an ARC at Book Con 2016. She read it and after a conversation about not knowing what to read next, I ended up going with Love and First Sight. It was a very quick read. I would estimate about five hours spent in total. The book was overall enjoyable and I found myself awkwardly laughing aloud in my bedroom a couple of times. As I mentioned in the beginning, Sundquist flawlessly managed to make the book as visual as possible despite the fact that the narrator is blind and is blind for most of the novel. It was really interesting to watch Will try to explain to his friends how he saw the world, and how so much is relied on sight to explain things. It was a very honest and never at any moment did I feel like the author was trying too hard to make sure the reader understood the fact that Will is blind. It was very natural and his thoughts flowed very well. All the research Sundquist did to make Will's voice sound real paid off.

I think the only problem I had with it was when it came to the big reveal that Cecily doesn't fit traditional standards of beauty (not a spoiler, it says this in the synopsis). I'm overall just confused about how she looked in general, and that can't really be helped since Will is after all blind. But with the addition that she looked different, without really explaining how she looked from the things Will can tell from the moments where he touches her, I was left confused. It's not really talked about at all, it's mentioned really lightly in a few different conversations. That being said, I don't think it affected the plot much because (and for me at least) the book was more about Will coming to terms with his blindness and his newly gained sight and how he chooses to interact with the world after the surgery.

I think fans of Mind Games by Kiersten White and The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness (two very different books I know, but just bear with me on this one) will really enjoy this book about inner beauty and meaningful relationships.
Profile Image for Morgan.
1 review
February 6, 2017
I listened to this story on Audible. It was a waste of a credit and I have returned it.

I thought about giving this book a two-star rating because I do like Josh Sundquist and think he's a great YouTuber and has always been pretty good at story telling. Unfortunately, I think he should stick to telling true stories instead of writing fiction.

I took issue with a lot of things in this book. One of the biggest issues I have with the book is that Josh literally stole a character from Harry Potter. There is a character named Hermione, goes by Ion, who has frizzy brown hair and is one of the smartest students in the school. I honestly can't believe that made it past an editor because that's a blatant, unoriginal rip-off. I mean, the least he could do is write his own characters.

The second thing that I took issue with is that I don't think Josh researched the blind community very well. At one point Will mentions that he doesn't know why his cane is called a white cane if the people who use it can't see the color. I think if Josh had done some research, he'd know that there are more than just white canes and that the colors are supposed to signal something to sighted people. Such as a red and white striped cane signifies that this person has both a visual and hearing impairment. I don't believe for one moment that Will would have been ignorant to that fact especially since he went to a school for the blind.

The last thing I took issue with is the overall message of the story. In the last few pages Will says, "Yeah, Independence and self reliance sound nice in theory but in reality they are just synonyms for loneliness." No. No. NO. NO. NO. This is said when Will decides/realizes that he feels like he needs to be dependent on a girl. I think that this signifies to the teenagers who read this book that life is meaningless if they aren't dependent on a boyfriend or girlfriend and that if you are independent and self-reliant that you will be lonely and alone forever. I literally will NEVER RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO ANYBODY JUST BECAUSE OF THIS END OF STORY REVELATION.
Profile Image for R.F. Gammon.
469 reviews178 followers
June 24, 2017
Well, this was a very sweet and fluffy book. I very much appreciated the fact that it was almost entirely clean, and that it was by a male author from a male POV. That's not too common anymore :( And also... Will is entirely legally blind. That was very cool.

Things I liked:
-Will himself. He was snarky and sarcastic and sweet and I loved him.
-Cecily. She made the whole story better. And I liked how the romance wasn't really the focus of the story, but was still sweet and tasteful enough to work.
- Will'a friends. Nick made me cry laughing. Seriously. Even though he's probably the dirtiest character in the bunch. And I adored Ion and Whitford, too. They seemed like the kind of people I'd be friends with XD
-The accurate representation of teenage emotions. People are complaining about everyone overreacting the whole time. Well, that's how the teen mind works. And Will was going through major emotional trauma. So... it makes complete sense to me.
-Will's parents. They were very real and kind of amazing.
-Did I mention how real this whole book is?

Things I didn't like so much:
-The flap kind of gives away the whole story. Will doesn't even get his surgery until halfway through the book! And it's the main focus of the story, not Cecily's appearance. So.... yeah.
-Also. The road trip. Cecily left to take care of her dad, who had a heart attack. Wouldn't she come back home to finish out the school year? It would have made a lot more sense for Will to just wait until she got home... But whatever. Like I said above, the teenage mind.

Definitely a 4.5 star book for me!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jess.
112 reviews116 followers
February 6, 2017
Disclaimer: I was sent this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

When I first heard of Love and First Sight I didn't think that I would end up enjoying it as much as I did. There is no better book to start off 2017 with!

I rated the book 4/5 stars due to the writing style - which was a bit mainstream and lacked a personal touch. But aside from that, you could tell that Josh Sundquist really did his research before taking on the task of writing this book.

From the first chapter you can tell that the author put a lot of hard work and care into this book. He accurately describes (what I would expect to be) the everyday life of a person with visual impairment & carefully outlines the story to help the reader identify with them. You can tell that every word in the book is meant to be there and has purpose.

The characters are all written beautifully. The author describes each characters physical traits and qualities through the perception of a blind person and then again through eyesight. Will, the main character, is an amazingly relatable teenage boy who is blind. He really brings something beautiful to the story with the way that he describes the world.

Love and First Sight is a moving story with unforgettable characters. I definitely learned a lot about visual impairment and the perception of blind/visually impaired people in the world today. I really hope that you guys can give this book a chance, it's worth it.
Profile Image for Jessica (Goldenfurpro).
880 reviews251 followers
June 12, 2019
This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd

Actual Rating: 3.5

Short and Simple Review
I really enjoyed the narration in this book. The MC, Will, has a very instinctive voice that is prone to humor. It worked really well on audio. The premise of this book was also interesting, a blind teenager that might be given an opportunity to see. I thought it discussed interesting ideas, not only things that what a procedure like that would do and how it would actually affect the brain, but I really liked how the characters discussed things like art in this book. Will was born blind so he had never seen art before, of course, so it was interesting how Cecily tried to explain it as well as how Will tried to explain things to her. The main reason why I could not give a full four stars is Will frustrated me later on in the book. Will feels "betrayed" by Cecily not telling Will about her appearance. I sided more on Cecily's side than Will's and I think Will overacted. Honestly, why does her appearance matter all that much to him?
Profile Image for Jenny Jo Weir.
1,545 reviews77 followers
April 9, 2018
Awe! If you are looking for a fun, enjoyable, lighthearted story look no further I tell you. This book is just for you. Cute, adorable and very easy flow.

Josh writes impeccably and I love that his books are always innocent and appropriate for all ages and types of audiences. I always feel comfortable recommending him because he never disappoints. Cute book! I’m very happy I was able to experience this one.
Profile Image for Sue.
560 reviews28 followers
June 13, 2018
It's safe to say I did not like this book and that the main character is the worst I have ever read. Narcissistic, arrogant, whiney and overindulged it was impossible to feel any empathy for him.
The writing is clumsy and overexplained.

I listened to the audio version of this book. If I wasn't elbow deep in paint at the time I would have switched it off. I wish I had.
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