Blink & Caution by T. Wynne-Jones
Wynne-Jones, Tim. Blink & Caution. Somerville: Candlewick Press, 2011. Print.
Tim Wynne-Jones' new novel is a tightly-paced thriller, featuring two strong and realistic characters with which older adolescent readers will engage. It tells the story of Brent Conroy (or Blink) and Kitty Pettigraw (Caution), two teenagers who are living marginal lives. The narrative shifts back and forth between the story of Blink, told in the second person with a unique rhythm and voice, and that of Caution, a more straight-forward third-person narrative. Blink and Caution live parallel lives, each occupying a precarious living situation—Blink living on the street and Caution with her drug dealer boyfriend; each character has chosen this situation in order to run from their individual personal tragedies, leaving them both open to abuse and other troubles. Blink's story is driven by his discovery of the scene from where Jack Niven, the CEO of a major mining company, was apparently kidnapped; Blink steals Niven’s cell phone, and begins a conversation with Niven’s daughter, who pleads with Blink to help her solve the mystery. Blink soon crosses paths with Caution, who is herself on the run from her boyfriend after stealing thousands of dollars from him, in retribution for his cheating. Together, the two work to solve the kidnapping, and the novel continues on its fast pace. The characters are unusual and yet believable, as Wynne-Jones writes them to a depth of development not always seen in other YA novels. The opening chapter focuses on Blink, and this unusual use of the second-person prompts an immediate engagement with the story, particularly for strong readers who like a challenge. The ending ties together perhaps too neatly; on the other hand, some readers may find this to be a relief after the unrelenting pace of the novel’s narrative drama.
Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Allison Sivak
Allison is the Assessment Librarian at the University of Alberta Libraries. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Library and Information Studies and Elementary Education, focusing on how the aesthetics of information design influence young people’s trust in the credibility of information content.