Thursday, February 9, 2017

Blog Tour: Love and First Sight

Title: Love and First Sight
Author: Josh Sundquist
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 3, 2017
Source: The NOVL for Review Consideration

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.

My Review

Josh Sundquist is no stranger to the YA book community, having already penned a YA memoir and having a huge online presence. However, Love and First Sight is officially his debut YA novel, and from what I can tell, Mr. Sunquist is more than ready to write a few more novels. Filled with emotion, humor, and the ramifications of teenage life with a disability, Love and First Sight is sure to win readers over and have them begging for more.

Will Porter has been blind since birth. Since early childhood, he's been educated at a boarding school for the blind and vision impaired. But now that he's older, he wants to experience life - teen life - in the real world. So he comes home and enrolls in the local public high school. There, he starts to learn about the difficulties of teenage life. He makes some mistakes on his first day, but ultimately, he makes a lot of really great friends who help him through a huge decision - deciding to get an operation that could give him full eyesight for the first time.

When I first started reading Love and First Sight, I didn't really know what to expect. However, I was hoping that I would be in for a book that felt authentic - like I was reading the story of a real and blind teenager. For the most part, I got that. Sunquist uses imagery that really puts readers into the shoes of Will Porter. There's a lot of words about sound and the feel of things - definitley things that made the book and Will's life seem realistic to me. Will's also very dependent on routine and counting out his routes. When Will's friends and classmates try to describe how something looks, he struggles, having no reference points for how things look and appear. Then one friend in particular finds a way to really describe things and starts using scent and other senses that he would understand to put things into perspective for him.

There are also other themes that are prominent in Love and First Sight that I really think will resonate with today's readers. I don't want to spoil anything, but readers will see how Will reacts to many of today's important issues for the first time, especially the complexity of physical appearance, racism and attractiveness. Everything about everything Will encounters is eye-opening and, there are many heartwarming and emotional moments scattered throughout the novel.

The characters in Love and First Sight are unique and refreshing. Readers who have read many YA novels know how it feels to read about the same characteristics and personalities all the time, but Mr. Sundquist really makes his characters stand out in ways that other authors have yet to explore. Yes, there are smart characters who embrace their nerdiness in other YA novels, but these ones just really stood out for me. I loved reading about Will and his friends - Cecily, Nick, Ion, and Whitford. They are a classic gang that I think readers will remember for years to come.

Josh Sundquist's Love and First Sight should be on everyone's radar for 2017. Josh Sundquist just gets it; he knows how to speak to his readers and keep their attention. This is one book that will be hard for many to put down! It's a book that literally makes you feel good when you read it, but it also makes readers realize that they should appreciate what they have in life, embrace their differences, and have a little fun now and then.

Josh Sundquist is a popular YouTube personality, motivational speaker, Paralympian, and author of the teen memoir We Should Hang Out Sometime. Love and First Sight is his first novel.


Week One:

2/6/2017- BookHounds YA - Interview
2/7/2017- A Gingerly Review - Review
2/8/2017- Actin' Up with Books - Guest Post
2/9/2017- The Hardcover Lover - Review
2/10/2017- A Dream Within A Dream - Guest Post

Week Two:

2/13/2017- Eli to the nth - Review
2/14/2017- Literary Meanderings - Interview
2/15/2017- Here's to Happy Endings - Review
2/16/2017- Wandering Bark Books - Guest Post
2/17/2017- Just Commonly - Review

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