Saturday, June 4, 2011

Book Review: Blink & Caution, by Tim Wynne-Jones

Blink and Caution goes on the list as one of my favorite reads of the year. This contemporary story of two runaways trying to find their way in the world just grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go.

Blink has a great plan for eating breakfast. He has stolen some nice clothes and goes into fancy hotels and eats room service food that has been left in the halls. This is working out quite well for him, until as he is hiding in the ice machine room, he hears what appears to be someone trashing a hotel room and then three men leave this room very quietly. One of them drops the room key, so he checks out the room, finds some money in a wallet and a Blackberry.

Caution is starving. There is no food or money anywhere in the apartment. She goes to her boyfriend’s drug supplier to try to get some of the money that is owed, so she can buy some groceries. She does get some of the money, but when she gets home, she discovers how much her boyfriend, Merlin, has been lying to her. She steals a lot of money from him and goes on the run. She knows that Merlin will kill her if he finds her.

It turns out the guy Blink saw leaving the hotel room on his own accord, has been reported kidnapped. Blink decides to do some investigating. Eventually he crosses paths with Caution and they go on a desperate adventure together that seems hopeless and also fraught with danger.

That’s the basic plot, but there’s so much more to this story. The back story of each of these characters is slowly revealed, giving the reader much to sympathize with. When I first started the book, I thought maybe I was mistaken and this isn’t a YA book – it’s quite edgy, with the thievery, drug use, and mention of sex. It’s not that there is sex in the book – not at all, but it is made clear that Caution’s relationship with Merlin has been sexual.

The book is told from the two main characters’ alternating perspectives. It is unique in that Caution’s story is told in the third person, but Blink’s is in the second person. I thought this was an ingenious tool. I never was confused, like I sometimes am in dual narrations, about which one was doing the narrating. It wasn’t necessary to title each chapter “Blink” or “Caution.” It was immediately obvious, and therefore effortless to follow the narration. I loved it.

Wynne-Jones tells it like it is. These are not romanticized runaways on a fun, light-hearted adventure. Every day is a struggle, but I also found myself caring deeply about these kids. You really want everything to work out for them, but through most of the book it doesn’t seem very likely.

Girls and boys will both enjoy this book if they like strong, sympathetic teen characters who are easy to root for. This isn’t a romance, although there are romantic elements which add a bit of sweetness to the story.  I can’t recommend this one enough – just read it. Oh, and if you still have doubts, go look at the cover. I normally don’t talk too much about covers, but this one is exceptional. Those bullet holes look absolutely real.

Published by Candlewick, March 8, 2011
Copy obtained from the library
242 pages

Rating: 5/5

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  1. Oh goodie! I am so psyched to read this. I just placed it on my TBR pile for summer reading. Thanks for this review.

  2. This does sound like a good read. Your review left me wondering, "How does this story end?" I'll keep an eye out for this one.

  3. I must get my hands on Blink & Caution, since you mention it as one of your favorite reads this year. It seems like an intense read!


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