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Review: Blink and Caution

Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones. Candlewick. 2011. BrillianceAudio. Narrated by MacLeod Andrews. 2011. Review copy from publisher.

The Plot: Blink accidentally witnesses a crime — actually, a non-crime. Jack Niven, an important businessman, has been kidnapped, but Blink saw Niven with the so-called kidnappers and knows he not only went willingly; Niven was in charge, the boss. Homeless and living on the streets, Blink helps himself to the man’s smartphone and wallet and now has linked himself to the crime.

Caution has run away from her drug-dealing boyfriend, taking his stash of money and pot. Somehow, he keeps tracking her down.

Blink and Caution are both on the run. Their paths cross, their stories merge, and two broken teens begin to put together the pieces of their lives. 

The Good: Blink & Caution is told in alternating chapters. Blink’s chapters are told by a person talking to him, a step or two ahead of him: “You lean against the wall, exhausted from the act of holding yourself together. You got off at the wrong floor, my son — that’s all. The wrongest floor of all. You don’t know that yet, but you’re never far from that feeling.” I loved this way of storytelling; MacLeod Andrews, the narrator for the audiobook, brilliantly conveyed the tone of the person talking to Blink. (Andrews does such a stunning job with this book that I now want to listen to everything he’s narrated). Blink’s half of the story is one of mystery — who is Niven? what is happening? why did he fake a kidnapping? — and the unknown narrator adds to the feeling of suspense. Blink quickly finds himself in over his head, but he cannot stop himself. He cannot leave the mystery of Niven alone.

Caution’s story is both more basic and more heartbreaking. Oh, Blink has had a tough few years; his father left, his mother’s new husband is abusive, so Brent (known as Blink because he blinks frequently) is living on the streets. Caution (aka Kitty) ran away from home like Blink, but she ran away for different reason. Caution killed her brother, and yes it was an accident, but he’s still dead and the life she is now living is one built upon punishing herself for her crime.

Blink and Caution are two teens who fate has not treated well. Both deserve better than what life has given them. Caution, especially, has almost been broken by what she did. Almost . . .  because while she ran away, while she hooked up with a drug dealer, while she is now on the run for her life, she is on the run. She does want to live. Blink & Caution is about two broken people coming together and being made whole, but it’s two broken people who are ready to be made whole. Had their paths crossed earlier, it would not have been the right time in either of their lives. Together, they are stronger; together, they may be able to figure a way out of the mess Blink is in. Together, they may become strong enough to survive on their own.

Because I found myself caring so deeply about what happened to Blink and Caution. Because it hurt, knowing how deeply Caution was hurt by what she’d done. Because I wanted these two teens to connect, and once they connected, I wanted to see what they would do. Because this was one of the best audiobooks I’ve ever listened to. This is one of my Favorite Books Read in 2011.

About Elizabeth Burns

Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is


  1. I totally just downloaded this so I can start it in the car next time I’m driving. How can I possibly walk away from a favorite book and best audiobook accolade!

  2. Michell, let me know what you think. I really enjoyed how he told the story & will be interested on your take.

  3. I just finished listening to this on CD and was blown away. I think the alternate narration really works and the reader did a good job of being Caution in spite of the reader being a guy. (what a terrible sentence.) It helped that Caution’s sections are third person, too.

  4. Alison, wasn’t the reader wonderful? Sometimes with audio books, the reader doesn’t register — not in a bad way, and it doesn’t hurt the story, but at the end of the book I may say excellent story but not have much to say about the reader. For a handful of titles, like this, I’m left with WOW.

  5. I just finished reading it on my kindle, Blink & Caution is an honest and addicting portrayal of two very different teens and the accidents that tie them together. Highly recommended.


  1. […] should note here that in her audiobook review, Liz over at Teacozy had a very different, and quite interesting take on the second person voice. […]