Thursday, January 31, 2013

Blind Spot by Laura Ellen: Book Review

Blind Spot
Author: Laura Ellen
Publisher: Harcourt, 2012
Reviewer: Sharon M. Himsl
Age: 15 up, Young Adult fiction
Pages: 332

Roz, a junior at Birch, Alaska’s Chance High, is haunted by the memory that something terrible happened at the loft party—where Tricia was last seen. When Tricia’s body turns up six months later, Roz struggles to learn the truth. Roz has macular degeneration, an eye disease that causes a blind spot in her central vision. And except for “quick snapshots,” her memory (too) of that night is foggy. Can she trust what she does remember? Ellen retraces the last forty days, before Tricia’s disappearance, beginning with day one at school.
Sad without Missy, once her best friend, Roz feels lonely and lost. Moreover, she is in Mr. Dellian’s special education (SPED) class, a huge mistake, she is positive. Even with poor vision, she gets good grades. She doesn’t need SPED. But efforts to transfer out fail. Furious, Roz is stuck in SPED and partnered with Tricia, a strange girl who “twirls” a lot and (oddly) calls Mr. Dellian, Rodney. Tricia, a recovering heroin addict, gets Roz to buy her some “weed” through Jonathan, a classroom aide. Roz’s crush on Jonathan clouds her judgment and they then begin to date. Greg, a childhood friend, worries about Roz dating Jonathan (others worry, too), but Roz ignores his concerns and flirtations. Greg likes Missy, not her—right? A party with drinking, sex, and possibly a date rape drug takes place. Tricia disappears. Jonathan, Roz and even Mr. Dellian are suspects. Only Roz’s trust in the knowledge she has, and her newfound friends, including those in SPED, can unravel the truth. Although interesting to read about living with macular degeneration and life in a SPED class, some of the plot details are missing. For one, Missy and Roz’s friendship is never developed. Why they are friends again at the story's end is never quite clear. Readers may also find Ellen’s jump in time confusing in the beginning (I did). Nonetheless, Blind Spot captures the teen voice and angst of life as a girl with macular degeneration.

Copyright 2013 © Sharon M. Himsl

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