Love and First Sight

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Love and First Sight Book Poster Image
Blind teen finds love and more in engaging coming-of-ager.

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Encourages empathy by giving details about what blindness is like, especially things sighted people would never think of. Explains neuroplasticity, what the visual cortex does in people born without sight, and some art history including the difference between realism and impressionism. Some facts about a surgical procedure to give sight to people who are blind; the success rate; and the mental, physical, and emotional effects of the surgery on patients. Author's note explains research into visual impairment and real-life basis for some characters and events in the book.

Positive Messages

Sometimes you have to rely on others, and that can be risky. But trying to be completely independent gets lonely. Life is better when you have friends and loved ones to share things with. Race shouldn't be such a big deal given that people have so much more in common than they have differences.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Will wants to learn how to make his way in the real world, so he leaves the sheltered school for people with visual impairments and goes to "mainstream" school. He's smart and brave, and he makes friends and learns from his mistakes. Love interest Cecily is also smart and brave. Cecily and Will's friends model being helpful without seeming like they feel sorry for Will. Will's mother is a bit overprotective, but his family environment is loving and supportive.

Violence

Cecily mentions being bullied in the past. Some kids call her a mean nickname she's had since grade school. Will describes feelings of rage and tries to punch the name-callers. He misses but slams himself into some lockers and gets knocked flat on his back.

Sex

One kiss, emotions, and tingling sensations briefly described. A teen mentions he'd like to be a plastic surgeon so he could "play with boobs all day." Will notices his feelings of attraction to Cecily and wants to kiss her.

Language

Name calling: "d--k," "douche." Also "boobs," "butt," "sucks," "suckitude," "bitches," "ass," "pooping" and "taking a dump."

Consumerism

Doritos and Skittles teach Will about shapes and colors. Will mentions good and bad things about Teslas.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Will feels good from anesthesia when surgery is about to start. In recovery from surgery, he thinks pain meds are great and that he should have surgery more often.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Love and First Sight, by YouTube personality Josh Sundquist (We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a True Story), is a novel about Will, a blind boy who at 16 decides to leave his sheltered private school and enter mainstream public school. It'll encourage empathy because it shows a lot of surprising things about not being able to see. One violent incident is mild, but Will describes his feelings of rage. There's one kiss and a few brief descriptions of feeling attracted to someone. Strong language is rare but includes "d--k," "bitches," and "ass." Messages and role models are positive, and it asks good questions about friendship, honesty, independence, tough choices, and what's important. The content's fine for most tweens and up, but the older-teen characters and issues will probably be enjoyed best by seventh- and eighth-graders and up.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Teen, 14 years old Written byEdenWolf3550 April 11, 2018

I can't help but fall in love

I can't help but fall in love.. with this book! It teaches you of being blind and how see-ers dont understand. We see that even being blind people push thr... Continue reading

What's the story?

In LOVE AND FIRST SIGHT, 16-year-old Will, who was born blind, has lived a pretty sheltered life. He's always been safe and comfortable with the community of people with visual impairments. He wants to be a journalist when he grows up, but he knows that he'll never achieve that goal unless he learns how to function in the "real world." So he starts his junior year in a mainstream school, where he'll have to learn a lot -- more than where his classrooms are -- if he wants to make it. His doctor tells him he might be a candidate for a rare surgery that could give him vision, just like everyone else. There's no guarantee the operation will work, but if it did, what would that do to his new friendships and the stronger feelings he's starting to notice for his classmate Cecily? It could change everything. So how can Will know if it's worth the risk or not?

Is it any good?

Josh Sundquist takes a turn from his memoir to write a lively, engaging novel with lots of appeal for fans and newcomers. There's a lot to admire about Love and First Sight narrator Will, who's brave enough to push himself outside his comfort zone. That's an important skill for everyone to have and even more so for someone who's blind from birth.

There are many specific details about dealing with visual impairment, but Will also deals with lots of things any teen can relate to. They'll find Will easy to root for. The big changes in his life, and the tough decisions he faces, keep the pages turning. The mystery surrounding Cecily is easy to figure out and a disappointing cliché. Still, there's plenty to admire about the story and characters, making Love and First Sight a feel-good choice for a wide audience.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about living with visual impairment or blindness. Was there anything that surprised you about Will or about his life?

  • Did you read the author's memoir, We Should Hang Out Sometime? What's the difference between a memoir and a novel? Which do you like better, or do you like both?

  • If you met someone who couldn't see you, what would you tell them about yourself?

Book details

Themes & Topics

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