On a frontier world is a colony called Harmony.
Like everyone who lives there, Jacob is blind.
In his debut novel, David Stahler Jr. vividly imagines a future where genetic engineering has taken a startling turn. On a distant planet, in a utopian community of the blind, one remarkable young man will discover just how much there is to see -- if only he is willing to look.
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David Stahler Jr. received his bachelor's degree in English from Middlebury College in 1994 and later earned a graduate degree from the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program at Dartmouth College. His other provocative works for young adults include Truesight, The Seer, and Otherspace. He teaches in Vermont, where he lives with his wife and two children.From School Library Journal:
Grade 5-7--Stahler debuts with a thought-provoking tale strongly reminiscent of Lois Lowry's The Giver (Houghton, 1993) in plot, tone, themes, and setting. Growing up in Harmony Station, a colony established on a distant planet by an association of blind people who have had themselves genetically altered so that their offspring will be blind, too, Jacob is approaching his pivotal 13th birthday when, in the wake of a series of severe headaches, he realizes that he can see. What he sees, besides previously unsuspected natural beauty all around, is that his supposedly pious, tightly knit, morally upright community harbors food thieves, adulterers, and hypocrites. Though most of the characters are only sketched, and Jacob displays a precocious ability to recognize colors and facial expressions, his agonized efforts to make sense of his bright, new, less innocent world make compelling reading. That readers will come away with the distinct impression that, at least in Stahler's view, the blind cannot lead independent, genuinely satisfying lives without sighted help and special technology constitutes a less attractive aspect to the story. Sentenced to surgical blinding after his secret comes out, Jacob flees at the end, like Lowry's Jonas, into an uncertain future. Fans of issue-driven fiction will find this novel absorbing.--John Peters, New York Public Library
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