cover image Blind


Rachel DeWoskin. Viking, $17.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-670-78522-3

As Emma, the protagonist in adult writer DeWoskin’s profound YA debut, knows, “we’re all only a half-second disaster, mistake, or choice away from being changed forever.” At the start of Emma’s freshman year, she loses her sight in a freak accident. Despite help and support from her parents, six siblings, best friend Logan, and classmates at Briarly—a school for the blind Emma attends before she “mainstreams” back to her local high school—Emma wants to curl up and die. But when Claire, a friend from her “old life,” kills herself by swallowing a cocktail of painkillers and drowning, Emma rethinks her “PBK” (poor blind kid) attitude and her approach to recovery. While writing the book, DeWoskin learned Braille at the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind, and her sensitivity to details (comparing characters’ voices to smells, textures, and colors; describing conflicted reactions to Emma’s blindness) shows. By using Claire’s death as a counterpoint to Emma’s misfortune—one chosen, the other inflicted—DeWoskin enables her characters and readers to put tragedy into perspective. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jill Grinberg, Grinberg Literary Management. (Aug.)