Friday, August 19, 2011

His Eyes

His Eyes by Renee Carter

This is a sweet, endearing teen romance. Amy is a senior in high school, in need of money to attend her college of choice. So she takes a babysitting job for the summer, but she's shocked to find that her charge is not a little kid but a boy her own age who was recently blinded after falling off a horse. Tristan hasn't adjusted well to blindness, and his mother hopes that Amy can help bring him out of his shell. This should have been a great book, but for me the devo factor was only middling.

The story is engaging, but not as good as it could be. Note that this book is self-published, so the writing quality will be different from that of a professionally published book. Judging by the brief bio at the end, the author seems to be quite young, maybe even a teen herself when she wrote this.

With that in mind, it's flawed but not terrible. The writing style is lively and fun, and the narrator Amy comes across as a likeable and original character. Unfortunately, all the other characters are flat stereotypes: the preppie rich kids, the hippy mom, and especially the evil ex-girlfriend, who seems to have stepped straight out of Gossip Girl. The slobs vs. snobs conflict between the public and private high schools also seems cliched--sure it happens in real life, but the way it's described here is more like an '80s movie. It's a bit disappointing that a young author so close in age to her subject doesn't offer a more authentic or original view of high school.

The depiction of blindness didn't feel very realistic to me either. I can't believe that a fabulously wealthy mom would not have her recently blinded son go through real rehab, no matter how reluctant he was, and that instead of hiring a trained therapist or tutor, she would hire a teenage babysitter. Rather than a realistic depiction of adjusting to blindness, the book hinges on the idea that Tristan used to only care about surface appearances--now that he's blind will he learn to see the inner beauty of a girl he would never have considered before?

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