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Review: Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones

in a sentence or so: Caution is on the run from her abusive boyfriend and a past that hurts her more and more every day. Blink stumbled into a kidnapping while stealing breakfast from a hotel and is running towards the mystery. their paths will cross and their lives will change.

Blink is 16 and homeless. he's out nabbing breakfast from a hotel hallway one morning when he sees a kidnapping. only it isn't what he expected a kidnapping to look like. for instance, the man being taken seemed to be running the show. and he left his wallet and cell phone in the bloodless, yet obviously set up to look like a struggle, room. as Blink is trying to process this scene, the cell phone rings. it's the kidnapped man's daughter...and she's quite a looker. maybe it wouldn't hurt for him to pick it up and tell her what he knows...or thinks he knows...

Caution is 16 and living with a man named Merlin.  now, while he has an incredibly awesome name, Merlin is no one to be a fan of. emotionally and physically abusive and using Caution as a drug mule, Merlin is your definition of scumbag. Caution ends up leaving him, but quite by accident really. once she's out the door, she realizes it's exactly what she needed...but she can't get away. Merlin knows where she is and will not be made a fool. plus, she stole his huge cash stash...so he's got more than enough motive to hunt her down.

Caution meets Blink when she scams him at the train station. she sees this clearly vulnerable boy with a nervous tick who's packing some serious cash. since her money is gone, she's in need of a little padding. all Blink sees an overly chatty girl with a bright blue jacket who just wants to have breakfast with him. Caution's conscience gets the better of her and they end up on the journey to unravel the bizarre kidnapping together.

Blink - who's real name is Brent - is told in second person. i thought initially that was to indicate mental illness, but i don't think that's what the author was getting at. not truly, anyway. Blink has a crappy past that's led him to a life on the street, but he has his wits about him. he's rough, he's hurt, and you pick up pieces of his past along the way.

Caution - who's real name is Kitty - grew up happy. like, storybook happy. but then she caused something so tragic and painful that wounded herself so deeply she feels unworthy of any kind of love.

the chapters alternated characters, which creates a parallel path of discovery before they unite in common purpose. you see where they came from before they come together and start anticipating what might happen when they do finally connect. they both pack so much grief and hurt independently, you'd think that together they would be overwhelmed. you'd be wrong (i was). they grow out of their grief together. they realize that it takes another person to truly invest in us to grow and remember that we deserve to love and be loved. they realize they need each other if Blink is going to get back to being Brent and Caution is going to get back to being Kitty.

i rooted for Blink and Caution independently, and even more so as a team. without being mushy or heavy handed, the read is blunt and says exactly what it means to say. we get the inner monologue of both characters, which is always nice, but there's also a creepy mystery driving the plot along.

at the core, this read was about love. Blink is so desperate for love you'd cringe if he weren't so endearingly unaware of it. Caution feels unworthy of love and can't imagine deserving anything but hurt, but is clearly a caring, thoughtful, and bright girl.  their hurt was so tangible for me, which made me root for their own self-acceptance and openness to love all the more. Brent and Kitty will stick with me for a long time.

fave quotes (i usually do one, but since there are two narrators, it made sense to do two okay?):

"The goodness of people, the badness of people. She feels like some plaything of the angels: the kind ones and the fallen." (Caution: 128)

"You moan and twist and jerk, because what does he know about hurt? You are hurt - mightily injured. Not by this hold on you, but by life with its never-ending snares and pitfalls and dire consequences." (Blink: 237)

fix er up: the final resolution was a bit too neat and tidy. it was brief, yet fitting...but i wanted more. a nit-pick, i realize, but there you have it.

title: Blink & Caution
author: Tim Wynne-Jones
genre: Edgy, Mystery
publisher: Candlewick Press
drop date: March 2011
buy this book: Amazon | Borders | Barnes & Noble

[ftc notice: i received a copy of this book for review from Candlewick Press. i received no compensation for this review]

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.

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