You turn on your computer and lean back in your chair while the machine whirs to life and the screen brightens. You check your email, your facebook, and finally you check to see if any of the blogs you regularly read have been updated since you last checked.
You see that Newbery Quest has a new post, and you wonder if Elizabeth has finally written about a Newbery book. Alas, instead of a post that actually correlates to the blog’s title you are stuck reading something written in second-person present tense, and yes, that is a little bit of annoyance you feel. You keep reading though, because you are a nice person.
You read the following review:
“Blink is a homeless teenager on the streets of Toronto who is just trying to stave off hunger and stay warm. Without trying, Blink gets caught up in the supposed kidnapping of Jack Niven, a CEO for a uranium development company. Blink is the only one who knows, or thinks he knows, that Jack actually staged his own kidnapping. Hoping to make a little money, Blink tries to find Jack and expose the lies, but he quickly realizes he is in over his head.
Caution is a teenager with a secret and a death wish. After running away from home, Caution finds a place to stay with a drug lord named Merlin, who is obviously anything but a good influence. When the betrayal and rough treatment are more than she can handle, Caution runs away again, but this time she is hunted by Merlin. No matter how much Caution runs, both Merlin and her past are always just a few steps behind.
The unfortunate paths of Blink and Caution merge and a friendship evolves. While tracking down Jack Niven, avoiding danger, and trying to think quicker and smarter than their enemies the unlikely pair soon realize that meeting each other was their luckiest break. Not only do they work better as a team, they also derive courage from each other enabling them to face the haunts of the past and helping them find a way back home.”
Hmm…you think. That book sounds fairly interesting, but you are still scratching your head, figuratively or literally, about the strange composition of this blog.
Well, now I’ll tell you: Tim Wynne-Jones, the author of Blink & Caution, tells Blink’s story in this strange second-person present tense. It was a little maddening at first because I had never read anything like it. However, I eventually got used to it and even enjoyed it a little bit.
The characters are well-rounded and well-developed. That is to say, they are easily imagined from the get go, but as the story develops you understand and picture them more and more clearly. The chapters are alternately told from the perspective of Blink or Caution; however, whenever it is a ‘Blink’ chapter the tense switches to that second-person whatever. At first, it was extremely distracting, and I had a hard time following the story, but after I was able to anticipate and understand this different perspective I was able to enjoy it. The plot sustains momentum throughout, especially at the beginning because you are reading two different story lines while anxiously awaiting their collision. While the story ended on, what I thought, was an unrealistic high note, I will admit that I was relieved to see good endings for two clearly troubled teens. All in all, there was plenty of adventure and action/suspense, particularly near the end, and I am usually a sucker for that type of entertainment.
Case in point: remember my ridiculous obsession with Indiana Jones movies? While I do love Harrison Ford, it is the adventure/suspense that keeps me coming back for more.
The reason I reviewed this book: In January I am attending a mock-Printz (kind of like the Newbery but for young adults, typically on the older side) and Blink & Caution is one of the titles on there.
I just thought you’d like to know.
Coming up next: Weekend Haps