The summer before 10th grade, Dr. Rose says that Natalie will go blind – completely and absolutely blind, maybe overnight, maybe before Christmas. So she transfers to the Baltimore Center for the Blind boarding school so she can learn Braille and learn how to cope.
With the little tunnel of sight she has left, Nat is sure that she’s not like the other kids there – the ones blind from birth or suddenly blind from an accident – and just lives for the weekends at home with her parents and the goats, away from lessons about walking with a cane and making the bumps of Braille become letters in her mind.
Dr. Rose could be wrong, miracles happen, right? Bargaining for miracles doesn’t work in real life though. Nat has to decide if she’s going to get ready for her new life or hide forever on her parents’ farm. Are her old friends starting to forget her? Can her new friends and teachers help her prepare for a future she can’t envision?
The author’s academic year spent with blind teens and all their hopes, fears, and expectations makes this work of fiction read like real life. 224 pages
Recommended by: Katy Manck, Librarian-at-Large (retired academic/corporate/school librarian), Gilmer, Texas, USA
- 14 year-old Natalie was born with a congenital disease in her eyes known as sporadic aniridia. (She has no irises in her eyes). Her sight is fine until she is eight and juvenile glaucoma starts to set in. She does everything the doctors say to do so that hopefully she will not lose all of her sight. She lives with this hope until the summer before her sophomore year when she is told that it is no longer ‘if you lose your sight’, but ‘when you lose your sight’. This devastates Natalie and she begins her battle in trying to cope with the blow that life has dealt her.
Instead of staying at her regular high school her parents send her to a boarding school for the blind in Baltimore hours from her home. She considers herself ‘normal’ and there is now way she needs to be here at this school. She refuses to learn to walk with a cane or to learn how to read Braille. She stays to herself and doesn’t try to fit in or make friends.
As she loses more and more of her sight she slowly comes to terms to the fact that she will be completely blind and needs to learn these skills. This transformation does not come overnight but takes most of the school year.
Not only does this book deal very well with the fears and struggles of someone losing their sight but the author also packs it full of normal teenage feelings and experiences. You find yourself going through many emotions and rooting for Natalie as she struggles. The author spent a year with blind students and is able to portray this story in a very realistic way.