By Laura Ellen
Available now from Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin)
BLIND SPOT came out in October, but I've just now gotten around to it. It was a difficult read for me. I wanted to know what happened, but there was a character in particular who made me so mad that I had to keep setting the book down. Really, that's a compliment to Laura Ellen. She made me feel, even if I didn't always like what I felt.
BLIND SPOT begins when Roswell "Roz" Hart hears that Tricia Farni's body has been found and she finally starts questioning her own memories and why she can't recall the evening Tricia disappeared in any detail. The book is then divided in three sections covering before her disappearance, during, and after. This is no simple mystery. There are many characters who could've done it and plenty who were capable of it. BLIND SPOT is populated with some nasty people.
Tricia had problems. She was battling drug addiction and traumatized by the violence of her past. There's a reason she and Roz met in Life Skills. Roz is there because of her vision - she can't see anything dead center. She doesn't want to be there, however, nor does she want to be partnered with an obvious crazy like Tricia. There begins a long rivalry between Roz and the Life Skills teacher Dellian. But things aren't all bad. Roz starts dating super hot Jonathon and makes friends with Greg and Heather. Things start getting nuttier, especially after Tricia's body is found.
I'll be straight. Roz makes some of the dumbest decisions I've ever seen a protagonist make. I can stomach it because she faces some major consequences for her stupidity. Ellen does not let her off the hook easily. But I can see many readers getting frustrated with Roz. She wants to find Tricia's murder, but her bumbling actions could help the guilty party go free.
I kind of loved how messy BLIND SPOT is. Every answer leads to more questions. There is no obvious suspect because there are too many obvious suspects. It is a story populated by flawed characters. Even Greg, sweet boy that he is, sometimes acts like a jerk. However, I think Ellen held back from pushing it too far. There isn't so much meanness that it leads to despair. The book really succeeds on the fact that there are people who cared about Tricia and want to find out what happened to her. It's that small core of love that kept me going through the rough patches.
I think Ellen shows great promise as a writer. I like that BLIND SPOT is different and not afraid to be abrasive. I did have to keep some space between me and it at times, but I'm interested in what Ellen will be able to do once she becomes a more polished author.