Love Blind – Christa Desir and Jolene Perry – Simon Pulse – Published 10 May 2016
It starts with a list of fears. Stupid things really. Things that Hailey shouldn’t worry about, wouldn’t worry about if she didn’t wake up every morning with the world a little more blurry. Unable to see her two moms clearly. Unable to read the music for her guitar. One step closer to losing the things she cares about the most.
For a while, the only thing that keeps Hailey moving forward is the feeling she gets when she crosses something off the list.
Then she meets Kyle. He mumbles—when he talks at all—and listens to music to drown out his thoughts. He’s loaded down with fears, too. So Hailey talks him into making his own list.
Together, they stumble into an odd friendship, helping each other tackle one after another of their biggest fears. But fate and timing can change everything. And sometimes facing your worst fear makes you realize you had nothing to lose after all.
When I first heard about Love Blind it went straight on my to-read list due to the similarities to Eric Lindstrom’s Not If I See You First, which I had absolutely loved. And maybe that’s not the best way to pick a book, because this book wasn’t even in the same dimension as Not if I See You First. Love Blind was more about lust and sex and two teens having a million near misses than it was about blindness, courage and sorting through fears.
Hailey is going blind so she creates a fear list of things to complete before she loses her sight completely. When she meets Kyle, timid and practically mute, she challenges him to create his own fear list.
Love Blind is very character driven. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the main characters. Hailey is flippant and brash, almost meeting all the criteria for the stereotypical girl who is a lead singer in an all-girl rock band. But she uses this persona to hide her vulnerabilities and fears about going completely blind. Kyle is almost the opposite, wearing his terror of the world for all to see. When they meet, Hailey barges her way into Kyle’s life. She likes him because he has more issues than she does so that makes her look less crazy. And she tells him this. Repeatedly. Hence why I didn’t like Hailey. There is snarky and upfront and then there is just rude and insensitive. Hailey is the latter.
I liked Kyle more (marginally). He is troubled, but has a great character voice. He has so many words floating around in his head it is hard to get any out when with people, to which I can totally relate. He is facing some tough issues, from regular beatings at school, a broken relationship with his mother and having suffered a serious trauma in his first year of high school. He reads like a sensitive teenage guy, but he does have a tendency to think about sex a lot. Probably realistic, but I could have done without the constant references to his state of arousal.
Love Blind covers a lot of time, from Kyle’s junior year of high school to his first year of college, which allowed both Kyle and Hailey time to mature. As they work through their fear lists, relationships with others and avoiding their feelings for each other, they learn to reflect on who they are and what sort of people they would like to be. Love Blind is certainly a mature young adult novel, due to sexual content and strong language.
I wanted to like this story. It had a great premise, but my dislike for Hailey and the constant this-is-going-nowhere of their love story combined in a book to which I just couldn’t connect.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Blindness, sex, dating, relationships, family.
Reading age guide: Ages 15 and up.
Advisory: Strong, frequent sexual references, themes and a sexual scene with some details. Frequent coarse language, f***, s***, m*****f*****, co**, and variations of.
Published: 10 March 2016 by Simon Pulse.
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 320 pages.