A remarkable young adult author whose earlier book RED KAYAK was a must-read recommendation from me, has done it again in her latest BLINDSIDED by Priscilla Cummings (Dutton, 2010, $16.99. July 2010). In this story we meet 14 year old Natalie. She’s a typical young girl does well in school and has many friends. Her life is turned upside down, when on a recent visit to the eye doctor she is told she will soon be blind.
After the news is accepted, Natalie’s family arranges for her to attend a School for the Blind. Her eyesight at this point is still functioning on a limited basis and the family feels this will help Natalie when all of her sight is gone. Initially Natalie is withdrawn and tries to weather this new school without any companionship. She starts out as a single but son is assigned a roommate.
Learning how to function safely as a blind person is a challenge at first. However, as she loses more and more of her extremely limited sight she adapts and learns quickly. One of the major exams, going alone to a shopping center, she passes successfully. Natalie seems to be well on her way to being able to survive independently and successfully as a blind person.
When her roommate leaves school on her own and needs rescuing , Natalie is called on for help. This real situation has none of the safety features provided during Natalie’s exam and she is truly put to the test. The suspense builds and builds as the two blind girls are on their own in an attempt to return to the safety of the school.
In addition to a marvelous story of Natalie’s fight to learn life as a blind person. there is much information on how a blind person is trained to be independent. The story is intriguing and should easily capture the interest of any middle-schooler or high school boy or girl. There is even a developing love interest for Natalie and a male student at the school.