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Blind Spot

Blind Spot

3.8 6
by Laura Ellen

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An utterly believable mystery, gritty with high school drama and shot through with suspense. . . . A captivating read, right to the last page."—Carol Plum-Ucci, author of The Body of Christopher Creed

"Action-packed. . . . Through the teen's gripping first-person viewpoint, the mystery and romance universalize the struggle to discover and confront the truth."—Booklist

"Elements of the problem novel commingled with a potential murder mystery will be a draw for fans of ripped-from-the-headlines drama."—Bulletin

"An engaging page turner with a very likable protagonist."—Kirkus

VOYA - Stacy Holbrook
After being diagnosed with Macular Degeneration and pronounced legally blind, Roz Hart is given more bad news—she must start sophomore year in a Life Skills class for Special Ed students. Though she has a blind spot causing her to only use peripheral vision, Roz insists she does not need the class; she can take care of herself. This attitude pits her against the class's teacher, Mr. Dellian. Also her AP History teacher, Dellian treats Roz terribly when she protests against Life Skills. Roz brightens when Jonathan, popular hockey star and Dellian's assistant, invites her to his weekly parties. The two start dating and Roz is happy to feel normal again. Unfortunately, her condition is not her only blind spot—Roz becomes blind to the dangerous truth about her new boyfriend and his parties. When Tricia, a drug addict from Life Skills, is found dead, Roz tries to find out what happened. It is only when Roz learns to accept help and trust her friends more than Jonathan, that Roz learns the truth about Tricia's death. Using Roz's naivety and partial blindness, the author creates a mystery with a gritty, issue-oriented storyline to engage readers. The dark tone of the novel adds to the suspense of the story, making for a compelling, entertaining read. Tricia's hard drug use is described in the story, as is the use of a date-rape drug at Jonathan's parties; both are necessary to overall plot development and young adults will appreciate the author's honesty with the subjects. Reviewer: Stacy Holbrook
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Roswell Hart has macular degeneration, which causes everything in her line of vision to be obstructed by spots. To the independent teen, her placement in a learning-skills class is an insult to her intelligence and her determination to live a normal life. The way the author approaches the issue of legal blindness is the book's strongest attribute. The rest of it falls short of delivering a good read. A troubled classmate is found dead in the river, having been missing for six months. Roz had fought with her and was the last one to see her alive; she has no memories of that night. And now she is accused of murder. The book is simply written, but readers become bogged down in the slow-moving plot. The characters lack dimension and are difficult to connect with. The "bad-guy" teacher is completely incompetent and unprofessional. The police supporting a scheme by a bunch of minors to bring the dead girl "back to life" to ensnare the murderer is highly improbable. The characters bicker, feel sorry for themselves, and lie to one another. Even though current issues are included in the novel (date rape, absent fathers, inept mothers, drug use), they do not add any credibility to the characters or the story.—Corrina Austin, Locke's Public School, St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada
Kirkus Reviews
A girl with macular degeneration finds herself the key witness in a murder mystery set in Alaska. When AP student Roz discovers she's in a special ed class because of her visual "disability," she is furious. Mr. Dellian, who teaches both Life Skills and AP history as well as coaching hockey, seems to take active pleasure in her discomfort. Everything about Life Skills is awful, especially junkie Tricia, who, on the first day of school, somehow manages to get Roz to buy pot for her with the help of hottie Jonathan Webb. This isn't all bad, as soon Jonathan is calling Roz "Beautiful" and taking her to parties. Meanwhile, Roz makes friends with new-kid-at-school Greg, former crush object of her ex-BFF, and slowly comes to appreciate her fellow Life Skills classmates. And then Tricia goes missing after a calamitous party and is discovered dead months later. Roz is an enormously appealing narrator, her tangled emotions about everything from needing to ask for help to navigating friendships both believable and sympathetic. Secondary characterization is for the most part solid, though Greg is a bit on the saintly side, and Mr. Dellian (who speaks like a boarding school relic) is thoroughly unconvincing as an educator, however good an antagonist he makes. The convoluted end is both hard to believe and emotionally satisfying. Though there's entirely too much going on, this is an engaging page turner with a very likable protagonist. (Mystery. 12-18)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

Read an Excerpt


Winter stopped hiding tricia Farni on Good Friday.
   A truck driver, anxious to shave forty minutes off his commute, ventured across the shallow section of the Birch river used as an ice bridge all winter. His truck plunged into the frigid water, and as rescuers worked to save him and his semi, tricia’s body floated to the surface.
   She’d been missing since the incident in the loft six months ago. But honestly, she didn’t come to mind when I heard that a girl’s body had been found. I was that sure she was alive somewhere, making someone else’s life miserable. Maybe she was shacking up with some drug dealer, or hooking her way across the state, or whatever. But she was definitely alive.
   on Easter morning, that changed.
   The body of seventeen-year-old Tricia Farni was pulled from the Birch River Friday night. A junior at Chance High School, Tricia disappeared October 6 after leaving a home- coming party at Birch Hill. Police believe her body has been in the water since the night she disappeared.
   I couldn’t wrap my brain around it. tricia was a lot of things, a drug addict, a bitch, a freak. But dead? No. She was a survivor. Something — the only thing — I admired about her. I stared at my clock radio, disbelieving the news reporter. Ninety percent talk, aM 760 was supposed to provide refuge from my own wrecked life that weekend. I thought all those old songs with their sha-la- la-las and da-doo-run-runs couldn’t possibly trigger any painful memories. I guess when a dead girl is found in Birch, Alaska, and you were the last one to see her alive, even AM 760 can’t save you from bad memories.
   While the rest of chance High spent Easter Sunday shopping for bargains on prom dresses and making meals of pink marsh- mallow chicks, I lay on my bed, images of tricia flooding my brain. I tried to cling to the macabre ones — the way I imagined her when she was found: her body stiff and lifeless, her brown cloak spread like wings, her black, kohl-rimmed eyes staring up through the cracks in the ice that had been her coffin all winter. these images made me feel sad and sympathetic, how one should feel about a dead girl.
   another image kept shoving its way in, though. It was the last time I’d seen tricia. the last thing I remembered clearly from that night, minutes before she disappeared. She and Jonathan in the loft. It made me despise her all over again. and I didn’t want to despise her anymore. She was dead.
   What happened to her that night? and why couldn’t I remember anything after the loft, not even going home? all I had were quick snapshots, like traces of a dream: Jonathan’s body against mine; arms, way too many arms; and Mr. Dellian’s face. Puzzle pieces that wouldn’t fit together.
   I’m used to piecing things together. My central vision is blocked by dots that hide things from me, leaving my brain to fill in the blanks. My brain doesn’t always get it right. I misinterpret, make mistakes. But my memory? It’s always been the one thing I could count on, saving me time after time from major humiliation. I can see something once and remember it exactly — the layout of a room, the contents of a page, anything. My visual memory makes it less necessary to see, and I rely on it to pick up where my vision fails.
   How could my memory be failing me now?
   I went over that night again, much as I would with my vision, putting the pieces together to make something sensible and concrete. But the more I focused on those tiny snippets, the farther they slipped from my grasp.
   then “copacabana” started playing on the radio.
   I slammed my fingers down on the power button to stop the lyrics, but my mind went there anyway. a replay of the day tricia did a striptease during lunch. the day I helped her buy drugs . . .

Meet the Author

Laura Ellen was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, and now lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with her husband, three children, and a dog. Legally blind, Laura drew upon her own life in her portrayal of Roz. Blind Spot is her first novel. Visit her website at www.lauraellenbooks.com.

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Blind Spot 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a great book. And personaly since i dont like to read i loved this book. I couldn't put it down and would totaly recomend it to someone.
stampymom More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars Roz's character is unlike any other that I have ever read. She wants to be "normal" so badly and is beyond angry that the school has decided to put her in a class of kids that she deems definitely not "normal". Little does she know that these kids have a lot more to offer than she ever thought. The mystery surrounding Tricia's murder is full of plot twists right up until the moment that I had that unmistakable "ah ha" moment.  An interesting, captivating YA mystery. Totally worth the read.
chapterxchapter More than 1 year ago
Is the cover of this novel not creepy and cool at the same time? The first time I saw Blind Spot by Laura Ellen, I really thought that it would end up rolling to the paranormal side of the YA spectrum. I mean, reading the description I thought that maybe main character Roswell Hart’s eye disease would turn out to be something totally supernatural and result in her solving a murder scheme (teen psychic or something). That was my best guess and I was pretty happy when I found out that Blind Spot is far from paranormal/supernatural/etc. I was overjoyed. Blind Spot is a part of two genres: teen fiction and mystery. I’ve never been able to really get into teen fiction however reading Blind Spot has definitely got me wanting more high school drama… to read about… not in my actual daily life… Anyways! Blind Spot takes place in the first person and follows the life of main character Roswell (Roz) Hart who has been diagnosed with an eye disease that keeps her from seeing things clearly. Instead of looking straight on, Roz has to look more to the side which makes eye contact impossible. When Roz is put into special needs class she finds a frenemy in Tricia Farni and a very real enemy in her new teacher Mr. Dellian.  Dellian has made it his goal to embarrass Roz by using her disability against her and nobody believes Roz when she tells authority figures about his harassment. It’s not until Roz has to buy Tricia pot that she becomes involved in both a romantic relationship with her school’s renowned player Jonathan and a web of lies. After going to a party with Jonathan and waking up at home with no recollection of the night’s events, Roz finds herself stuck in the middle of a murder mystery and has to discover who it is that killed Tricia Farni before the murder is pinned on her. The most memorable thing about Blind Spot will definitely be the Dellian vs. Roz relationship that is a crucial part of the novel.  Right from the first chapter that he’s introduced in, I absolutely hated Mr. Dellian. The ways he constantly made fun of Roz by using her disability against her and constantly had her drowning in a sea of trouble because of his harassment had me so angry. I swear, every single chapter that Dellian and Roz were in had me fuming and near the end of the novel, when Dellian’s role in the novel grows even more crucial—I was furious. I don’t want to give any spoilers so all I will say is this: I don’t care who died, if somebody did what Dellian did you can’t just forgive them after they say sorry once. You just can’t! Personally I found that Roz was a character that I personally could barely relate to. I understood her when it came to her past with lost friendships but other than that I didn’t really understand the logic that came with her reasoning. For example when she finds Tricia in the bathroom begging for Roz to go buy her some weed instead of going to a teacher and Roz decides that her best option is to go and buy some weed. Really? Buying drugs isn’t cool nor is it smart guys, you can get expelled for stuff like that. Just go to a teacher and explain that Tricia is in the bathroom trying not to shoot herself up with a needle, it’s probably really easy and the smartest thing you could do. All of that being said, there were times where I would have to put the novel down and shake my head because of Roz’s immature and thoughtless choices, but I suppose that it does all help Roz grow as a character nearing the novel’s conclusion. I’d recommend Blind Spot to readers who are looking for a mystery novel with a shocking end and to fans of teen fiction that want a story that focuses on some of the major downs that come with being a teenager.
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
This book completely turned out different than what I thought it be. Instead, I was consume by an awesome plot that brought a great mystery I just had to solve. What I loved most about the story is the great plot. Filled with non-stop good drama and a mystery you can't help but immerse yourself in Roz shoe's. So much memory lost, so many clues to put together. For me, it is good to see the main character out of the loop along with the reader. Watching all the pieces come together is wonderful. There's not much of a love interest rather than a good friend and a toxic friendship. There are so many lies, fakes faces, and just all together losers, that I had me fill of digustingness. They tried to use Roz. Use everything they know against her and that made me angry. I'm glad that in the end, Roz out smarts them all, kicking their butts! BOO-TO-THE_YEAH! If you love a good mystery check this book out! It's filled with insane theories and madness of cray cray people. Once the picture is painted, it all made sense. Blind Spot is a doozy when it comes to messing with your mind. Satisfaction guaranteed, Blind Spot is sweet!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Waits for apprentices
Anonymous More than 1 year ago