Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones

Posted by on Apr 27, 2014 in Book Reviews, Ontario | 0 comments

blink-and-caution Summary: Living on the street, Blink has his ways of finding the food and clothing he needs. On one of his food expeditions, he stumbles upon a hotel room key, thinking he’s hit the jackpot, until he finds out the room belonged to a man who has been abducted and his life becomes complicated. Caution is a teenage girl living with Merlin the drug dealer. She considers her life with him to be a worthy punishment for mistakes she has made in the past, until she realizes he’s sleeping with someone else. When Blink and Caution meet, it’s a rocky start, but their adventures together create a friendship and attraction that will change both of their lives.

Number of Pages: 342

Age Range: 15-17

Review: A fast-paced read, Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones explores themes of guilt, grief and self-esteem against a thriller-type background. While I enjoyed the character development and the way the story resolves, I never quite got used to Blink’s first person narration style.

It was complicated, because both Blink and Caution’s stories could have filled their own books. I wanted to know more about Caution, but I have to admit Wynne-Jones does a skillful job of weaving the two stories together and he does tell his reader all they really need to know and wraps things up with a satisfying conclusion.

I was intrigued by the contrast of city life with small town life. The story is a physical journey as much as an emotional one, and Wynne-Jones makes the various settings another character in the story.

What I loved most though was the depth of Wynne-Jones’ writing. Caution’s involvement in a freak accident leads to her trying to punish herself, and ultimately wishing she was dead. Her journey is insightful and authentic as she connects with Blink and comes to the realization that life is worth living.

It’s a longer read, but the tension of the plot holds the reader’s interest throughout the book. I’d recommend it for mid to older teens.

Memorable Quotes:

“And so shame is added to her sorrow, but that’s okay. For her, sorrow is so deep, the shame is no more than a hard pebble thrown into a vast emptiness.” – Caution from Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones, page 53

“Caution sits silently, across a table in another universe. Was this what Wayne-Ray wanted for her? To know that beyond killing her parent’s beloved son, Wayne-Ray’s best friend, and her own brother, she had also robbed this stranger of the love of her life? Because Caution can see in Tamika’s eyes what Spence had meant to her. How many murders have I committed? she thinks.” – Caution from Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones, page 131

“In silence she had to face the screaming in her head. That’s what she meant. The city was like a drug that took the edge off the scream, hid it at least. Her scream merged with a million other screams. On the street, pretty well everybody she met looked as if they had some major scream going on inside their skulls. There was this thin wall of bone holding it in. She could see it in their eyes. She wondered what would happen if all the lonely people let it out at the same time. She imagined the city quaking, collapsing like in some apocalyptic movie – The Day After Whatever. She remembers expecting it to happen any day. Waiting for it. But now, up here, driving north, she wonders if the cream she took with her to the city is even in her anymore. In her hurry to leave, did she leave it behind?” – Caution from Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones, pages 213-214

“But there is nothing else weak about him, she thinks. He is bold – reckless, perhaps – but full of this crazy kind of certainty that is like a tonic to her. In his determination to turn things to his advantage, he seems invincible in a way. Somehow he’d convinced her, against her better judgement, to join in on this whole scheme. So she feels guilty for knowing better and yet falling for it. Falling for his eagerness, the way it lights up his eyes.” – Caution from Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones, page 292

“‘Shhh,’ you say into her hair. ‘It’s all right.’ And what you mean is just that – this is all right. You expect nothing more than this. And you wonder if this is what love might be. And you wonder if you knew it would take so much for it to happen. And you wonder how anything that felt like this could ever die. And then, because you can’t help yourself, you wonder again if you are dead and this isn’t purgatory anymore but a kind of heaven suitable for the likes of street urchins and losers. And you know that it is enough of a heaven as long as it includes her.” – Blink from Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones, page 317

Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones is published by Candlewick Press (2011).

(Buy this book: Amazon | Indigo | Canadian Booksellers)

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