|A Preview of What's Coming||44||(9)|
|The Blind Leading The Blind||168||(4)|
After years of failing eyesight, fourteen-year-old Natalie reluctantly enters a school for the blind, where in spite of her initial resistance she learns the skills that will help her survive in the sighted world.
Priscilla Cummings lives in Annapolis, Maryland.
Natalie, 14, is certain she is not like the other students at her new school for the blind near Baltimore. She sees herself as "normal," even though her vision is slowly disappearing, and at first, she doesn't think she needs to learn Braille or use a white cane. Cummings spent a year with blind students, and she gets the compelling facts and feelings exactly right: the many causes of blindness, sudden and gradual; Natalie's angry denial; the technical specifics about Braille; and the doctors' explanations and therapy suggestions. But this is more than just a message-driven docu-novel, and readers will be caught up in the engaging personal narrative, the spot-on teen talk, and the plot twists, as Natalie and her friend are attacked at night, and she overcomes her fear of walking to the nearby shopping center. The young characters' courage is unforgettable, and so are the heartbreaking details: by habit, Natalie looks out the window, even after her sight loss grows until she sees nothing. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.
Born without an iris, a condition known as sporadic aniridia, 14-year-old Natalie faces the harsh reality that she will become blind. Preparing for the inevitable, Natalie's parents enroll her in a school for blind and disabled students miles away from home, with the intent that she will learn basic living skills. Distraught at leaving lifelong friends and her sophomore year, Natalie fights her new school and sets herself apart from the other students, in part because she believes that she isn't one of them. However, as Natalie's vision continues to fail, she begins to slowly befriend her classmates, learning their stories, sharing their jokes and, most importantly, drawing on their hope. Although told from Natalie's third-person perspective, which spares no detail of her fight to keep her vision, Natalie's classmates also provide distinct and multidimensional voices that powerfully introduce life with vision loss, which will open the eyes of those unfamiliar with this disability. A final short section on Braille offers a basic view of the alphabet's structure. (Fiction. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.