Author: Laura Ellen
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Publication date: October 23rd 2012
My rating: 3.5 stars
Seventeen-year-old Tricia Farni’s body floated to the surface of Alaska’s Birch River six months after the night she disappeared. The night Roz Hart had a fight with her. The night Roz can’t remember. Roz, who struggles with macular degeneration, is used to assembling fragments to make sense of the world around her. But this time it’s her memory that needs piecing together—to clear her name . . . to find a murderer.
This unflinchingly emotional novel is written in the powerful first-person voice of a legally blind teen who just wants to be like everyone else.
Just as there are stars in the day sky that you can’t see until nightfall, I realized, there were things right there in front of me that I’d missed.*
And that is a central theme to this story.
I found Blind Spot an engrossing read with a realistic protagonist, and a story that put me on the edge of my seat, and made me a little anxious. It isn’t a perfect story, but it was fascinating enough to make me read it in one sitting.
Sixteen year old Roz find herself in the middle of a murder investigation and is quickly becoming the lead suspect. We find out about the murder of Tricia, Roz’s classmate, in the first few pages when her body floats to the surface of icy waters, six months after she goes missing. Roz, as well her “boyfriend,” Jonathan, seem to be the last people to see Tricia alive, and the meeting wasn’t a pleasant one. Roz can only remember up to a certain point that night and then everything is a blank. She now has to try and piece together things before the murder gets pinned on her.
Tricia is a troubled girl, and not very likeable, as we find out when we are taken back to when Roz and Tricia first meet. Roz is thrown in with her when she’s enrolled in “Life Skills,” a class to deal with her disability. Being diagnosed with macular degeneration has been a struggle for Roz, as it would be for anyone. She desperately holds onto to what little “normal” life she can keep, and tries to get out of the class, without success. This is also where we meet Mr. Dellian, the teacher of Life Skills, who seems bent on making Roz’s life miserable. I find it hard to believe he would get away with a lot of his treatment of Roz, and I really couldn’t stand Mr. Dellian, even when some facts come to light. To me, it still didn’t excuse his behavior.
Finding out that Jonathan, the hockey-star-stud of school, is Mr. Dellian’s aid in the class is just adds to Roz’s humiliation. Surprisingly to Roz though, Jonathan starts paying attention to her, with her self-esteem being what it is, she laps it up. Roz is even more confused when a childhood crush and boy next door Greg also starts paying attention to her. I have a special weakness for the boy-next-door, long-time-friend-that-turns-into-more, romances, and Greg fits the bill perfectly. He constantly goes out of his way to help and protect Roz without demeaning her. I’ll let you get to know Jonathan, or “Zeus” as he’s nick-named, all by yourself.
I think I found the parts revolving around Roz dealing with macular degeneration, and her relationships more intriguing than the actual mystery. Just tackling things that are routine for most people, like opening a locker, was a challenge for Roz. Her struggles to stay as “normal” as possible, and stubborn denial of any help made me want to hug and strangle her at the same time! I think Ms. Allen did a good job walking the fine line between making a main character flawed and yet still likeable. That’s not to say that the mystery wasn’t interesting, in fact I stayed up late reading because of it. There were a few surprises, but for any mystery buff some of these will be easy to figure out. That’s not always a bad thing, though. There’s an amount of reader satisfaction when you get your suspicions confirmed. What I did have issues with was the investigation, and Roz’s involvement in it. I found it to be less than believable. It wasn’t to the point of ruining the story though.
If you up for a dark story with less than perfect characters, I think Blind Spot will hit the mark for you. There’s enough romance too, for junkies like me to be satisfied as well. I'd like to mention that I love this cover and I think it fits perfectly with the story. The writing obscures the central part of vision, just like Roz's in the story.