Age group: 14+
Blink and Caution are a pair of teens living on the streets of Toronto. One morning, Blink, who exists on pilfered breakfasts from fancy hotels, gets off on the wrong floor of the wrong building and witnesses one very wrong event in progress, a “terrorist pajama party.” The news reports play it up as a CEO’s kidnapping, but Blink knows the truth – and the ostensible kidnappers know he knows it, to his increasing peril. This violent incident brings the two wayward teens together – first as adversaries, then as allies – to unravel the truth behind the crime and find common ground as they try to stay alive.
Veteran children’s writer Tim Wynne-Jones paces Blink & Caution like an express train that seems ready to derail at any juncture. But, like an expert crime writer, he offers enough detail and downtime to allow readers to care deeply for his titular characters. There are even some much-needed flashes of humour amidst the suspense.
Blink’s second-person narration is a particularly risky move, but this narrative gambit draws us deeper into his terrified animal state, which, over time, thaws to reveal a broader, more human spectrum of emotion. It also contrasts with Caution’s more traditional third-person narration. She is haunted by past guilt, but full of pluck and a determination to be more mature in the way all teens want to be.
Blink & Caution succeeds because Wynne-Jones displays tremendous empathy for his dynamic duo. The pair’s shared adventure will linger in the minds of readers.