Justina Chen is an award-winning novelist for young adults whose books include A Blind Spot for Boys, Return to Me, and North of Beautiful (a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus and Barnes & Noble). Her other novels are Girl Overboard (a Junior Library Guild premiere selections) and Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies), which won the Asian Pacific American Award for Literature.
A passionate advocate of teen advocacy, Justina co-founded readergirlz, a cutting-edge literacy and social media project for teens, which won the National Book Foundation’s Prize for Innovations in Reading.
When she isn’t writing for teens, Justina is an executive communications strategista. That’s a fancy way of saying that she helps leaders tell their stories at companies like Disney and AT+T, NASDAQ and Microsoft. What she enjoys best is trekking the world with her two compadres, her teen kids.
A Blind Spot for Boys by Justina Chen
Publication Date: August 12, 2014
Shana Wilde has always had a blind spot for boys. Can she trust the one who’s right in front of her?Shana is officially on a Boy Moratorium. After a devastating breakup, she decides it’s time to end the plague of Mr. Wrongs and devote herself to her true passion: photography.Enter Quattro, the undeniably intriguing lacrosse player who slams into Shana one morning in Seattle. Sparks don’t simply fly; they ignite—and so does Shana’s interest. But just as she’s about to rethink her ban on boys, she receives crushing news: Her dad is going blind.Shana and her parents vow to make the most of the time her father has left to see, so they plan a photo safari to Machu Picchu. But even as Shana travels away from Quattro, she can’t get him out of her mind.Love and loss, humor and heartbreak collide in this new novel from acclaimed author Justina Chen (North of Beautiful).
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
The main reason why I wanted to read Blind Spot for Boys was because Justina Chen set part of it in a place that's on my bucket list: Machu Picchu.
Troubled rich kid meets troubled poor kid and a love interest blossoms. They're trying to fight it, but somehow the feelings bubble through. What happens next? While the story may have gone all Pretty in Pink, I am infinitely glad that it didn't. Of course there's a happy ending (it's a romance, after all) but how they got to it makes this interesting. As something Stesha could say, it's the journey that makes it an adventure.
Shana thinks she has it all figured out: her college course, boys, life in general. That is, until her father makes some mistakes at work that lead to him finding out he's turning blind. Then her perfect parents turn on one another and her whole world goes awry. Add to that her secret of the boy who dumped her and she's completely, totally lost.
On her wandering so to build up her portfolio, she almost gets flattened by a most interesting looking guy. Quattro. Not only does he look interesting but he himself is interesting, too. And, pretty much perfect. A semi-date leads to her blocking him out, afraid of what might happen again.
Machu Picchu suddenly looms in the distance and Shana finds herself on a trail with a motley crew of people, her parents, and surprisingly, Quattro with his father. The challenges of the terrain and the trail itself peel away layers and reveals who is truly who on the inside.
While Ms Chen may not have trekked Machu Pichu personally, she definitely translated the feelings hikers have very accurately. There's no better way to know what a person is truly like except when they're tired, dirty, and still have a ways to go on challenging terrain before being able to rest. And that's also the best way to turn friends into family. Very few things would be off-limits after experiences like this!
I like that while it's inspiring with its ideals and positivity, there is no trace of simperingly sweet sermons designed to mold young readers into better persons. It's simply a story of one of the toughest times in a person's life, that cusp of turning into an adult from an almost independent teen.
A Blind Spot for Boys should be on a must-read list of books. While Justina Chen may have disguised this as a light summer romp (did she? I wonder?) there are lessons planted here that are tiny seeds waiting to take root later on.
He swung one leg over the bike, propping up the kickstand as if he’d been invited to stay.
I sighed. Here we go again. Why does the right trifecta of hair, height, and hamstrings give me the illusion of being more attractive than I am? It was more than a little annoying, especially after last night, when Brian Winston—senior at a rival high school and latest post-Dom conquest—lunged at me as if three dates qualified him for a free pass to my paradise.
I quickly unscrewed my camera off the tripod, which should have been the universal sign language for Sorry, but this chicky babe isn’t interested. But did Quattro catch the hint? No. He said, “I’m visiting UW. What do you think about it?”
This guy was harder to lose than a case of lice. But thanks to hot summers toiling at my family business, deploying pest control techniques on rats, wasps, bedbugs, and other vermin alongside my twin brothers and Dad, I knew exactly how to handle this situation.
I assessed Quattro with an expert and clinical eye: nearly my height, at just over five seven. Brown hair streaked with gold. The poor guy must have been color-blind. What other possible explanation could there have been for pairing purple shorts with red sneakers from Japan and an orange Polarfleece pullover. It was almost tragic how much he clashed.