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Love and First Sight

Love and First Sight

3.9 7
by Josh Sundquist

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Sneak Peek Inside

In his debut novel, YouTube personality and author of We Should Hang Out Sometime Josh Sundquist explores the nature of love, trust, and romantic attraction.

On his first day at a new school, blind sixteen-year-old Will Porter


Sneak Peek Inside

In his debut novel, YouTube personality and author of We Should Hang Out Sometime Josh Sundquist explores the nature of love, trust, and romantic attraction.

On his first day at a new school, blind sixteen-year-old Will Porter accidentally groped a girl on the stairs, sat on another student in the cafeteria, and somehow drove a classmate to tears. High school can only go up from here, right?

As Will starts to find his footing, he develops a crush on a charming, quiet girl named Cecily. Then an unprecedented opportunity arises: an experimental surgery that could give Will eyesight for the first time in his life. But learning to see is more difficult than Will ever imagined, and he soon discovers that the sighted world has been keeping secrets. It turns out Cecily doesn't meet traditional definitions of beauty--in fact, everything he'd heard about her appearance was a lie engineered by their so-called friends to get the two of them together. Does it matter what Cecily looks like? No, not really. But then why does Will feel so betrayed?

Told with humor and breathtaking poignancy, Love and First Sight is a story about how we related to each other and the world around us.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
At the start of this engaging novel from motivational speaker and memoir writer Sundquist (We Should Hang Out Sometime), 16-year-old Will Porter enrolls at Toano High School. Blind since birth, Will knows that if he is going to become a journalist, he must prove that he can live independently in the sighted world. His first day is a fiasco, but Will acclimates quickly and befriends a girl named Cecily. Romance seems destined until Will undergoes a cornea transplant and discovers that Cecily hasn’t been entirely forthcoming about her appearance. Will’s trust in Cecily is shattered, and he’s left wondering whether their relationship is worth salvaging. The plot’s beats are predictable, and the interpersonal conflicts can ring false, but Sundquist writes eloquently about what it might be like for someone who was born blind to be given sight. He explores the physical, emotional, and psychological ramifications of Will’s change in a thoughtful and evocative manner, providing readers with a fresh perspective on how humans interact with each other and the world around them. Ages 12–up. Agent: Lucy Carson, Friedrich Agency. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
"Sensitively explores disability and its influence on identity...The juxtaposition of blindness with (not) judging by appearances is common, but the author gives depth to the trope by highlighting the betrayal Will feels at the exploitation of his blindness. Thought-provoking and insightful."—Kirkus Reviews"

Unique...will encourage young adults to think about their own biases related to physical attractiveness and body image. Readers will enjoy the humor and romance of the story while gaining a better understanding of life with a visual disability...A highly recommended and engaging story for most YA collections."—SLJ"

Sundquist writes eloquently about what it might be like for someone who was born blind to be given sight. He explores the physical, emotional, and psychological ramifications of Will's change in a thoughtful and evocative manner, providing readers with a fresh perspective on how humans interact with each other and the world around them."—Publishers Weekly"

Rich in sensory detail, this novel pulls readers into Will's world. Sundquist deftly shows the difference between the act of seeing and truly seeing. This fresh and funny coming-of-age story presents an opportunity for readers who take certain abilities for granted to take stock of challenges facing peers."—Booklist"

Sundquist does a nice job of getting inside the head of a person who has absolutely no visual frames of reference...without it feeling intrusive or overly clinical. For budding scientists and future doctors, these details offer new thoughts as well as context for understanding the real stories of people gaining eyesight after blindness and then wishing they hadn't; even readers who just came for the romance will find themselves understanding the "tyranny of the visual" in new ways."—BCCB"

In his debut novel, memoirist Josh Sundquist proves he's as adept at making up new stories as he is at recounting his old ones as he explores overcoming adversity, seeing the world through fresh eyes (literally), and keeping a sense of humor in the midst of life's tribulations. An exciting new voice in the world of YA fiction."—Tommy Wallach, New York Times bestselling author of We All Looked Up"

Is love blind? Should it be? With an intricate, intimate fiction debut, Josh Sundquist aims to find out."—Barry Lyga, New York Times bestselling author

Praise for We Should Hang Out Sometime:
An Amazon.ca Best Books of December 2014 for Children and Teens Selection
A YALSA 2015 Teens Top Ten Nominee
2015 Goodreads Choice Awards Nominee"You should read this book sometime. I loved it so much!"—Justine Ezarik, New York Times bestselling author of I, Justine: An Analog Memoir"

[A] laugh-out-loud memoir..."—SLJ

School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Blind since birth, 16-year-old Will Porter has decided that he is ready to mainstream at a new high school rather than continue attending his former school for blind students. After a few minor missteps, which are presented with humor, he adjusts to the new school and makes some interesting friends along the way. The most unique aspect of this inspiring tale is that it is told exclusively from Will's point of view. The author succeeds at providing readers with a sense of the challenges of day-to-day life for someone with a visual disability, especially for a risk-taking teenager who is striving to be independent. A close friendship and budding romance between Will and fellow student Cecily add further layers. When Will considers surgery to restore his sight, the threat that this possibility poses to the teens' relationship will encourage young adults to think about their own biases related to physical attractiveness and body image. Readers will enjoy the humor and romance of the story while gaining a better understanding of life with a visual disability. Sundquist makes it clear that Will is not defined by his disability; he often has better "vision" than those with eyesight. VERDICT A highly recommended and engaging story for most YA collections.—Theresa Muraski, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Kirkus Reviews
Sundquist (We Should Hang Out Sometime, 2014) explores blindness and sight in his first novel. Aspiring to be "the Stevie Wonder of journalism," white, congenitally blind Will Porter is confident that mainstreaming into high school at 16 will be a snap. But things get awkward when he falls for Cecily, an artistic, evasive white girl with a knack for explaining visual concepts. Soon, Will learns that he has the opportunity to gain eyesight via experimental retinal stem-cell implants. His difficult decision sensitively explores disability and its influence on identity. The author's research shows; there are frequent explanations of eyesight and its relationship to the brain. That information is critical for understanding the disorientation and frustration that Will experiences upon gaining eyesight. Sight requires him to learn colors, shapes, and perspective as if he's just been born—which, in a sense, he has. Such surprises as racial differences (when he sees African-American pal Whitford for the first time he thinks, “What’s the fuss about?”), paintings, and a "counterintuitive" snowstorm prompt interesting reflections, and his new perspective is tested when he realizes that Cecily's appearance significantly differs from his cheerfully nerdy new friends' descriptions of her. The juxtaposition of blindness with (not) judging by appearances is common, but the author gives depth to the trope by highlighting the betrayal Will feels at the exploitation of his blindness. The resolution is optimistic yet realistically open-ended. Thought-provoking and insightful. (author's note) (Romance. 13-18)

Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Josh Sundquist is a Paralympic ski racer, cancer survivor, popular YouTube vlogger, motivational speaker, and Halloween enthusiast. Every Tuesday, Josh releases a new video to 200,000-plus subscribers on his YouTube channel. He is the author of We Should Hang Out Sometime and the bestselling Just Don't Fall. As a motivational speaker, Josh speaks to schools, conventions, and corporations across the world. He invites you to visit him online at joshsundquist.com or follow him at @JoshSundquist.

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Love and First Sight 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Boundlessbookreviews 4 months ago
I voluntarily received a copy via publisher through NetGalley. Love at First Sight, was a very interesting and unique story. That brought you into another world. Will, has been blind since he was born. So he knows nothing other than his other senses. He decides he wants to make some changes in his life and goes to a public school. I felt that this was really interesting, because there are not a lot of stories out there, that involve a blind character. Reading from his perspective really made you think. Sundquist, really did well with this. The way he described how Will felt. Or when Will goes through an operation and having to learn, really everything again. The only thing is, I didn’t emotionally connect with this characters. It really didn’t grip me in any way....Lissa Overall, I give this Three Boundless Stars. It was a good and enjoyable story.
Arys 4 months ago
Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist was a book that I would have to say grew on me. The dynamic of the book shifts from that of a blind teenager who has gone from interacting primarily with other blind students to making his way in a normal high school and all the issues that come with it (making friends etc.), to a story of seeing for the first time and how that can effect perceptions and relationships. The book ends with a whirlwind adventure of sights, friendship and romance. The book started off a bit heavy on the stereotypes, both of blind people and high school for me. Once past the beginning, the relationships Will built with his friends and Cecily took over which brought life to the novel and I began to enjoy it more. I also appreciated how Josh Sundquist displayed significant research into the field of the blind gaining vision (as supported by the Authors Note). Overall, Love and First Sight was a good, well-paced, and enjoyable read. There are lessons learned about life, appreciation, and friends that this book emphasizes which should not be missed. I happily recommend. (I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book I received from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my fair and honest review.)
Caroles_Random_Life 4 months ago
I enjoyed reading this book. I was pulled into the story right away by the wonderful characters, an interesting premise, and just the right amount of humor. This was a super quick read for me largely because I had a hard time putting the book down. The descriptions were vivid and I couldn't help but imagine what it would be like to be in Will's position. I am very glad that I decided to pick up this book. Will is starting a new school. He previously attended a school for the blind but is transferring to a mainstream high school. He starts out having to deal with a well meaning but unhelpful assistant pricinpal and before the day is over he has not only made a girl run from the room crying but has also sat on another student's lap at lunch. Before long, Will seems to find his place at his new school with a group of friends that keep him busy. Will has the opportunity to have an experimental surgery that can make it possible for him to see for the first time in his life. Once he has the surgery the sudden ability to see isn't as smooth of a transistion as you might expect. Since he has never had the sense of sight, he has no reference point. His brain developed without visual input and it takes a lot of work to understand what he can now see. The descriptions regarding his sudden ability to see were incredibly strong in this book. I felt Will's frustration along with him and his family. Will's relationship with Cecily was a major focus of the story. They develop a strong friendship through their work together on a school project. Their personalities just seemed to click and they both seemed to gain a lot by being together. When Will can finally see her, things don't go exactly as planned and I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed by Will's actions. I do understand that he was upset by the fact that things were kept from him but I hated that he was willing to make as big of a deal about it as he did. I would recommend this book to others. I found it to be a quick read that was rather eye opening. Will's quest to be independant and fit into the world was such an interesting story. The humor was nicely woven into the story and really added a lot to the story and character developement. I plan to look for future novels by Josh Sundquist. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers TheNovl.com.
KikiD870 4 months ago
Love and First Sight is the first I've read by author Josh Sundquist. I read it in less than a day because I just couldn't put it down. It is a gripping story with fabulous characters and an even ore fabulous story. So much of YA fiction focuses on girls so I was happy to read this novel, one that focuses on a guy. Will is not your average teenage guy, either. He is blind and has spent most of his life sheltered from the visual world. He has always gone to a school for the blind, and much to his mother's distress, he has chosen to spread his wings and prove to her that he can thrive in the rest of the world, too. The descriptions of the world as Will "sees" it are vivid and they only become more vivid after Will undergoes surgery. The author really captures his journey and all of the emotionally charged aspects of it. The emotional side of it all is something I never would have considered before reading Will's story and it really was eye-opening. The story is a wonderful blend of humor, stark reality, and adult choices. It is as much a story of friendship as it is one of growth and coming of age. It is also a story that makes you think. Being in Will's head makes you, as a person with sight, see the world in a different way. It made me reconsider friendship and honesty and how differently even non-vision-related issues can be experienced by someone without sight. And as Will goes through the experience of having to make a potentially life-altering decision, it made me think about all the implications of that kind of choice. Choices that seem like easy ones on the surface, but really aren't. I enjoy a book that forces me to take another look at life and see it from an entirely different perspective. Overall: This is a great read that will make you think. The story is incredibly engaging and it is one that I won't forget for a long time. This is a book I highly recommend!
itsraymarie 4 months ago
While this book was a pretty quick read, it was full of emotion and humor and raw feelings. You could tell this book was heavily researched and carefully written, so as to relate as true of an experience as possible. I liked Will, and reading about his struggles trying to navigate a public high school. Sundquist did a really thorough job of getting into his head, showing us the process and struggles of a blind person, that sighted people would not even think to consider. Will finds his group of friends, who I enjoyed very much. They were fun, and kind of reminded me a little of my own group of friends in high school. This is a romance, and I did like the relationship between Will and Cecily. It blossomed slowly, and I loved them. However, I feel that this book did not necessarily focus on the romance. It's a huge part (I mean, it is the title) but this is a book about Will. I was a little apprehensive about the "giving Will eyesight" part of the story, as that could have gone so wrong, but I should have known Sundquist would handle the subject with great care. Will's thought process leading up to his decision was carefully expounded, and everything that happened after was carefully researched. The writing was detailed yet precise, letting us really see everything that was happening. I loved this book. I love how all the different subjects were handled, how touching this story was while still being fun. Sundquist wrote a great story, and I can't wait to see what he comes out with next.
book_junkee 4 months ago
I had enjoyed the other book I read from Josh and I liked the premise, so I was interested right from the start. I liked Will and his group of friends. They were like a band of misfits and the loyalty between them was perfect. Will's mom was a bit annoying, but it makes sense. And even Will mentions that she's a helicopter mom. What I enjoyed the most was being in Will's head and learning about things as he did. Especially after the surgery. The science-y parts weren't too science-y and it definitely pointed out things I would have never thought of. The best part of the story is the last chapter and I loved the format it was in. Overall, it was a quick and intriguing read. **Huge thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss for providing the arc free of charge**
onemused 4 months ago
"Love and First Sight" is a sweet story of Will, a teenage boy who is trying, often against his mother's hovering, to forge his way to independence. He has been blind since birth and his parents (particularly his mother) are really protective of him. When he was 5, he was playing a game against another child who was cheating (a 5yo cheating? Color me shocked!), and this led to some striking life conclusions that he cannot rely on anyone else/life is hard. I was a bit surprised that this was the catalyst for life changes, as I can't tell you how many kids I've seen cheat on Battleship and other board games in my day, and it didn't usually have to do with eyesight. Kids cheat. Anyway, this was when his family decided to send him to a boarding school for blind children. The big upsides to this are that they taught him a lot about how to navigate the world as someone without eyesight. Now that he is 16 and aching for independence, Will has decided to enroll in his local public school. He needs to learn how to get around people who are not also blind/taking care. Like any new student, there are some mishaps on the first day, but he recovers well. As he cannot see where he is looking, a girl in his journalism class thinks he is staring at her and starts to cry. To make it up to her, he volunteers to accompany her to the museum showing Van Gogh paintings for her story. They bond over her ability to communicate why people like paintings in a way that makes sense (e.g. referring to sounds instead of visual comparisons). It ends awkwardly, but this begins a beautiful friendship. Will can tell there is something up with Cecily- everyone treats her differently and she makes ad nauseum remarks about appearance- but no one outright tells him what it is. Alright, so now he has the opportunity to undergo some experimental surgeries to regain his eyesight and he does (as per the synopsis). He has to relearn everything, and typically, as the author mentions in his note and through the father, this does not go well- the plastic period for vision is past and the visual cortex has never performed accordingly. It goes better than I would anticipate but it makes for a cute story. Anyway, once he finds out what is "wrong" with Cecily, Will feels betrayed by the fact that she didn't tell him, but as she points out we don't all admit our flaws right away- hers is just one that people usually see. Will is pretty sensitive about being taken advantage of for his blindness (see story about cheating with 5yos), so there is a big bump in the road there, which I thought seemed a little silly compared to their relationship but does align with teenage drama. I laughed so many times during this book and loved how adorkable Will and Cecily were. The romance is slow between them, and I liked the build-up, which was in stark contrast to the usual insta-love you so often find these days. The book is a fast read- I read it in a couple hours this afternoon- but the pace is perfect! It's a really enjoyable read, and I would definitely be interested in reading more from this author. I would be curious to know if this matches up what someone who is blind would experience, but it seems really well researched. Overall, it's fantastically sweet and charming. A perfect cozy winter or beachy read! Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.