I requested for this book after seeing its beautiful cover and through the recommendation of a bookstagrammer friend.
Tessa Dickinson is a home-schooled, 16-yr old poetry blogger who lives with her grandparents. She has no friends, except for her blogging community friends who she group-chats with. When Tessa loses her eye-sight in an accident, she becomes miserable and angry and is no longer the same person she was before. In an attempt to cheer her up, her grandparents decide to run a advertisement looking for help – a typist – someone of Tessa’s age to write in her blog while she dictates. Enter Weston Ludovico, son of the newspaper where the ad is about to be printed. He decides to help Tessa even though she refuses it and shuts the door in his face. He loves how he is poorly treated by Tessa not because he is some sick psycho but because he lost his legs three years ago and is tired of people treating him differently. The book describes 100 days of Tessa’s life where she is temporarily blind and how her pessimistic self changes over the period.
When I first began with this book I thought why was Tessa’s character written this way – so pessimistic, so cold and inconsiderate about actual visually impaired people who might be reading it. But let me tell you, this book has been written through the point of view of Tessa, who is recently blind, is unable to accept it and is rightfully angry about it. And there’s a whole lot of sunshine and positive aspects that come up later in the book that makes the initial whining acceptable and realistic.
Weston’s story was sooo good, so so good. I loved how the alternating POV’s were used, from Weston’s past and Tessa’s present. I fell in love with how reckless he is initially showed and how he doesn’t quit and grows through his pain and does not allow the amputation to stump his life. Instead of using all of it to Tessa and giving a TedX talk to her, he gradually shows her there’s so much to life, so much more to experience and I totally loved how obnoxiously optimistic he is. And Weston’s family ? God!! I loved every sibling of his and his mother, his best friend Rudy. They aren’t just secondary characters and I loved how Abbie Emmons has given importance to every one of them.
This isn’t your Insta-love story, because Tessa can’t see and Weston isn’t there to fall in love with her (initially..) but to help her cope up. This isn’t about absent parents, prom dates, drugs or college applications. This is about finding light in the darkness and accepting yourself. This is a heartbreaking-uplifting kinda book that balances out romance, grief, friendship, family and happiness altogether.
“You’re not your asthma,” I continued “or your diabetes or you depression or your anorexia or your social anxiety. You see, most people would look at me and say that I have every right to be miserable. But I don’t. I have no right. And neither do you.”
Obviously, a 5 star read for me, considering it’s a debut that is so beautifully written.