cover image Blink & Caution

Blink & Caution

Tim Wynne-Jones, Candlewick, $16.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7636-3983-9

Wynne-Jones (The Uninvited) delivers a dazzling crime novel that evokes the taut writing and tropes of hard-boiled fiction while interweaving social justice themes and a solid sense of realism. Blink has been living on the streets ever since running away from his abusive stepfather. While on a foray into a hotel to scavenge for leftover room service food, he witnesses an oil executive's faked kidnapping and ends up getting involved as he realizes the implications of the crime. Along the way, he meets Caution, on the run both from her abusive, drug-dealing boyfriend and her guilt over the accidental shooting death of her brother. The two teens are caught up in environmental and racial issues that are far beyond their ability to remedy, and Wynne-Jones—often using a surprisingly effective second-person voice—focuses on their attempts to escape immediate danger and repair their internal emotional damage. Blink and Caution's gradual need to trust each other to heal drives the story forward, and should provide ample thrills to lovers of crime novels and strong teen characters. Ages 14–up. (Mar.)