cover image Blink Once

Blink Once

Cylin Busby. Bloomsbury, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-59990-818-2

Busby's novel works both as an atmospheric mystery and a realistic portrayal of what trauma patients and their loved ones face during hospitalization. When 17-year-old West wakes up in a hospital, a neighboring patient his age, Olivia, tells him that he has been in a mountain biking accident and is paralyzed ("Sorry if you didn't already know. I'm sure you're bummed"). Using blinks%E2%80%94"once for yes and twice for no"%E2%80%94and then a whiteboard, West starts to communicate with Olivia, an intense, unpredictable girl. As their relationship turns romantic, Olivia warns West against an experimental surgery his family has scheduled, and West is simultaneously unsettled by recurring dreams about a violent man that he thinks are "trying to tell me something.... Something about this hospital, this room." Readers will race to the end of this moody, surreal book from Busby (who collaborated with her father on The Year We Disappeared) to unravel the mystery behind West's dreams and his strange connection to Olivia. They won't be disappointed by what they discover. Ages 14%E2%80%93up. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Sept.)