Love and First Sight by John Sundquist

Love and First Sight by John Sundquist. January 3, 2017. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 288 p. ISBN: 978031605358.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA.

Love is more than meets the eye.

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 sweet but shy girl named Cecily. And despite his fear that having a girlfriend will make him inherently dependent on someone sighted, the two of them grow closer and closer. 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?

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild language


Book Trailer


Booklist (November 15, 2016 (Vol. 113, No. 6))
Grades 7-10. Will Porter, blind from birth, has sculpted his world using smells and sounds. When he transfers to a conventional high school to prove his independence, he finds that trusting in others is his biggest challenge. After meeting Cecily and being charmed by her voice and company, Will gets the opportunity he never dreamed of—an experimental operation to restore his sight. But with that prospect comes the task of learning the world all over again, as well as learning how to trust Cecily when her secrets are revealed. Rich in sensory detail, this novel pulls readers into Will’s world. Sundquist meticulously traces out mundane tasks with fresh takes to highlight how the blind navigate ordinary spaces and occasions—from entering a new place for the first time to playing a game of Settlers of Catan. Through Will’s postoperative struggles, 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.

School Library Journal (November 1, 2016)
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.

About the Author

Josh Sundquist is a Paralympian, motivational speaker, and Halloween enthusiast.

His website is

Around the Web

Love and First Sight on Amazon

Love and First Sight on JLG

Love and First Sight on Goodreads



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