Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books
Publication Date: October 23, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Mystery/Thriller
There’s none so blind as they that won’t see.
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.
I’ve wanted to read more thrillers and books with an edge and Blind Spot’s synopsis sounded perfect. It has the classic thriller setup: the blind heroine trying to figure out who’s lying and find the killer, with the most terrifying setting of all, high school. The joke was on me before I even started reading – the synopsis wasn’t telling the truth. This was no thriller, the mystery didn’t take much of the book and what did fill the book was your typical fictional teen angst.
Roswell “Roz” Hart knows the first day of her sophomore year is going to be crappy. For the first time, she’s going to have to navigate the halls without the help of her (now former) BFF Missy. Her macular degeneration has left her with mostly peripheral vision and she’s been enrolled in a Special Ed class to teach Life Skills to kids with disabilities. Roz makes a stink about being put there, since she’s been getting along just fine. Mr. Dellian, who teaches the class and is a nasty piece of work, insists she stays and after that, seems to make it his mission to make Roz’s life miserable.
The Life Skills class is where Roz meets Tricia, the future victim of the story. She’s an abrasive, sexually inappropriate, drug-addicted mess that Dellian pairs up with Roz for class activities. The rest of the class might as well be a handicapped version of The Breakfast Club. This stereotype? Got it. That one? Got it. One of said stereotypes is the handsome hockey jock Jonathan (nickname: Zeus), who seems to know Tricia pretty well and takes an interest in Roz. For the girl on the sidelines, Jonathan is the ticket to popularity or at least a normal dating life and naïve Roz is smitten. There’s also Greg, a nice, preppy boy in Roz’s AP History class, also taught by the tormenting Dellian, who seems to be sending some signals to her, or at least doing some really nice things for her and making it obvious he’d like to spend some time with her.
We haven’t nearly reached the place where Tricia’s death happens, but this is the turning point in the book. Is this a mystery? Thriller? Psychological drama? Not particularly, no and no. From this point on, it’s bad decisions, deceit and getting even. Roz makes one awful choice after another, lies to people, makes utterly stupid decisions and doesn’t know when to just quit. She’s hardly the only one. I was agog by all of the characters who lied, withheld things and acted out of spite and far, far too much of it involved who was dating or sleeping with whom. Seriously, revenge oral sex? I quit counting all of the misdemeanors and felonies they committed once I used up the fingers I was using to hold the book.
By the time Tricia disappears, it’s almost a relief because I think now I’m moving on to the serious part of the book, when things are going to take a turn for the thrilling. It’s not really though. There’s more of the same, just on a bigger scale and the crimes the rotating members of the Scooby Doo gang pull off just vary in length of potential detention center time. I was surprised by a few revelations late in the book, which ought to have been a good thing. I love it when a good mystery has tricked me with a red herring or hinted that I should believe one thing enough that I wasn’t looking elsewhere. That’s not why I was surprised though. These big “revelations” were the results of lies.
I’m not going to spoil the ending at all, but I want to say that the author practically held my hand and walked me up to the resolution I’d been expecting for a while, then everyone else in the story jumped out and yelled, “surprise!” Yet again, the joke was on me.
My Summary: This book irritated me. Writing this review irritated me which irritates me (it’s very meta, isn’t it?). I wanted to like this so much, right from the opening line, which was perfect:
“Winter stopped hiding Tricia Farni on Good Friday.”
One-fourth of the way into the book though, I had a stomachache from all of the deceit, awful choices and outright meanness of most of the characters and I was hanging on for the promising blurb on the back cover. The only thing it really delivered on was a sensitive look at the difficulties someone with macular degeneration has. Since I’ve been ranting about the book, I feel like I should explain my non-condemning rating. I liked one character in the entire book, Greg. Everyone treated him like dirt and he may have been a little too good for all of them, but he was the one character who actually reacted in a normal way to everything. If someone in the Life Skills class had stood up and asked Dellian if Barry Manilow knew he raided his wardrobe, I miiiiight have gone a little higher.