It is pretty agonizing for her, and I can only imagine the huge change that it would make on your life. She is angry, questioning what makes life worth living and exploring those things. The details seem so realistic... How she is so overwhelmed when she first goes back to school, all of the noise, not knowing who is talking to her, the crowds and everything being so much harder for her academically. She can't read the board, or pay attention as well because noise at times is like an assault to her.
She keeps opening her eyes and being surprised when she is still in the dark. It just endears her to me. After her accident, she was screaming and refusing to do anything and I think that is so realistic. I could see that being my reaction. But it starts to change and she gets the curiosity and drive to try to get back into the game of life when she gets a K9 buddy, a dog named Spark. He loves her just the same and it is a constant for her. He isn't a seeing guide dog persay, but he did have training.
I adored her best friend and sister Leah. They were by her side whether she wanted it or not. Logan (female best friend) tries to keep her up to date with what is going on and helps her from class to class. She wouldn't take no for an answer in her darker days and kept coming back to visit her. And speaking of her family, there are 7 kids. It is pretty unique to get to read about a family like that and I think it was a good element. From the younger siblings we get to see the tender moments and also the questions that no one else will ask, and from the older we see the support. Emma's parents are polar opposites but they make it work and they are present in kids lives even when they sometimes agree to disagree how to handle some of the issues that arise.
And the element of the teen missing and then found? It was an okay element for me, but I wasn't overly crazy about it. I think it did help to keep the town and other teens from school from focusing too much on Emma, and it gave her another tragedy to come alongside and realize that while being blind sucks, at least she is alive. It is also an avenue for the teens to get together, get to know one another better as well as finding their safe place to talk about tragedy.
The romance is pretty light in this one, but I was okay with it. During most of her dark time, I think that it would have been unrealistic. But I will say that the romance that was there wasn't quite the direction that I expected it to go, but I was still pleased with it, and think that it fit the tone of the book.
I really enjoyed watching Emma grow, the amazing family that she has, and the support from Logan (even though their friendship was tested, and that it evolved) and her other friends that she learned to lean on and begin to let in bit after bit. Emma was well on her way to figuring out how to live as a person who has lost her sight, as well as into a beautiful and strong person.
The ending was nice, and gave me completion. Though I wouldn't mind more time with these characters, and I was sad for the time to end, I like how it wrapped up and where it left me in Emma's story.
Bottom Line: Journey of a girl finding her way in a world without sight. Also firmly a story of family and friendship.