Monday, February 20, 2012

Book Review: Blink and Caution

My first guest blogger is Lynn Becker! She is my friend and book reviewer extraordinaire.

Blink and Caution, by Tim Wynne-Jones, is an ambitious, captivating young adult novel. The writing and structure are pretty complex, but the mystery is compelling and accessible, providing a strong hook to keep the reader engaged. 

There are two main characters, whose stories are told in different voices, with different POVs. The character named Caution is narrated in third person present tense, as in "She sniffs, rubs her nose with the cuff of her jacket," which has become pretty common in YA fiction in the last few years. It provides immediacy and tension, as the reader feels like s/he is experiencing the story along with the character. The second character, Blink, however, uses the much rarer second person present tense, as in "You're uptown and hungry." This is pretty experimental. In addition to providing a clear way to distinguish between the two voices, I think this second person present tense brings a lot more tension to the story--it's a very active voice. 

The novel is gritty, but it's also incredibly human, and real, and earnest. Plot-wise, we are in Toronto, where Blink is living on the streets, foraging for breakfast in fancy hotels, when he finds himself caught up in a high profile kidnapping case. Caution is also on the streets, having escaped from her drug-dealing boyfriend, but clearly still on the run--from the boyfriend as well as a terrible secret in her past. How these two cross paths and form an alliance forms the basis of this powerful and, ultimately, sweet story.

It's a dense read, but if you can find the time, it's highly worthwhile.  It also won The Horn Book Award for Fiction. And he's Canadian. (last bit added by Angela)

Lynn Becker

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