November 18, 2014

Latest Read: A Blind Spot for Boys by Justina Chen

A Blind Spot for Boys by Justina Chen
Publication date: Aug. 12, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Borrowed from library
Summary: Sixteen-year-old Shana Wilde is officially on a Boy Moratorium. After a devastating breakup, she decides it's time to end the plague of Mr. Wrong, Wrong, and More Wrong. Enter Quattro, the undeniably cute lacrosse player who slams into Shana one morning in Seattle. Sparks don't just fly; they ignite. And so does Shana's interest. Right as she's about to rethink her ban on boys, she receives crushing news: Her dad is going blind. Quattro is quickly forgotten, and Shana and her parents vow to make the most of the time her father has left to see. So they travel to Machu Picchu, and as they begin their trek, they run into none other than Quattro himself. But even as the trip unites them, Quattro pulls away mysteriously... Love and loss, humor and heartbreak collide in this new novel from acclaimed author Justina Chen. (Adapted goodreads.com)

The good
Justina Chen is a pro at exploring the unexpected and inexplicable connections between two people. She did it in North of Beautiful and again here in A Blind Spot for Boys. It probably has a lot to do with her love of the movie "Before Sunset", which is all about that. Sometimes there is no exact reason for why you click with someone, romantically or even as a friend. It’s something I’ve definitely thought about when I look at the people I’m closest to and try to remember how they came into my life. For sixteen-year-old Shana Wilde, it starts with a boy named Quattro who practically runs her over with his bike. Shana is focusing on her photography and is on a self-imposed “Boy Moratorium” after a devastating break-up and a string of bad dating. Quattro is cute, a little older, new to town. They hit it off immediately but when Shana finds out her dad is going blind, any thoughts of breaking her moratorium fly out the window. But fate has other plans when her family decides to make the most of the time her father has left to see by planning a trip to Machu Picchu and she runs into Quattro there in Peru.

I really liked Shana despite our many differences. I’m no heartbreaker, I’ve never left a string of boys in my wake and prior to meeting Quattro I would say that she and I have different ideas of what we’d consider our ideal guy. But there were things about her I did relate to. She and her two best friends are this trio of support, understanding and laughter (one of them is baker like my BFF!). Even though we don’t get to see them “on-screen” much, Shana thinks about and mentions them often. I also loved how important family was to her. We see her relationship with each parent and through her eyes, we see how much admires her own parents’ love story. And as they’re on this trip together and dealing with her father’s sight loss, they all struggle. How to help him, when should they step back, what will the future mean. And the people they travel with become a part of their story too and I enjoyed learning about many (well, most!) of these characters as well.

(Some) reservations
I didn’t fully connect to the romance in this book. The way they met was very meet-cute and the tension was certainly there but something was missing. Maybe being on this trip, isolated from civilization increased the intensity of their feelings quicker than normal? But the pacing of their relationship felt uneven to me. And I never quite got Quattro. He held back so much from Shana and fluctuated between hot and cold. I understood his reasons for it once they were revealed but I think his character could’ve been fleshed out more. In general, I liked everything about the book.. it just needed a little more.

Do I recommend?
I’m a fan of Justina Chen’s writing and the way she explores chance meetings and fate so I do recommend you check out her writing. But I would start with North of Beautiful, especially since that’s my fave.

Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. I still have not read a Justina Chen novel! I definitely recall you mentioning North of Beautiful before. But this post about A Blind Spot for Boys has reminded me that I really should take the time to read her stuff! A Blind Spot for Boys has a pretty intriguing plot to me (it kind of sounds like Wanderlove x The Book of Broken Hearts x Just One Day), and I think I'd be inclined to pick it up if I saw it.

    ReplyDelete