Blink Once Blog Tour

Short & Sweet Reviews is proud to be a stop on the Blink One blog tour, hosted by Bloombury Teens!

Blink Once
By Cylin Busby
Published on September 4, 2012
Published by Bloomsbury 
Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

West is a high school senior who has everything going for him until an accident leaves him paralyzed. Strapped down in his hospital bed, slipping in and out of consciousness, West is terrified and alone. Until he meets Olivia.

She's the girl next door—sort of. A patient in the room next to his, only Olivia can tell what West is thinking, and only Olivia seems to know that the terrible dreams he's been having are not just a result of his medication. Yet as West comes to rely on Olivia—to love her, even—certain questions pull at him: Why has Olivia been in the hospital for so long? And what does it mean that she is at the center of his nightmares? But the biggest question of all comes when West begins to recover and learns that the mysterious girl he's fallen in love with has a secret he could never have seen coming.

My thoughts...

If I had to give this book a tag line, it would be "way sadder than expected".  For some reason, I was expecting Blink Once to be a creepy story.  West has terrible nightmares, there are dangerous secrets... this is grade A horror story territory, but the book took a totally different approach and turned it into a very poignant story about love and loss and illness, with a side serving of creepy.  I didn't expect to find myself touched by the realizations that West slowly comes to as the book goes on, but there I was, steadfastly blinking back (blink, hey, get it?!) tears.

This is another story where it's hard to talk about the plot or characters without spoiling the big reveal, so we'll keep it vague.  West is an interesting lead because he is immobile for much of the book. Things have to happen to him and around him.  While he's busy trying to process what's happened to him -- how long has he been in the hospital?  why can't he move?  what happened to him? -- the action, and Olivia, the girl in the next room, has to come to him.  Fully paralyzed and on a ventilator, West can't speak to Olivia and mostly communicates to her through a series of blinks.  Of course, having a narrator who can't speak means that we get to spend a ton of time in his head, trying to unravel the mystery at the same time that he does.

In a way, this is an insta-love story -- they meet, he falls for her -- but it makes more sense here than in so many other stories.  West has no one else who understands what he's going through -- not his friends, who don't know how to act around him, or his parents, who want what's best for him but have different ideas of what that is.  The only person who understands him and treats him like he's really, fully human, is Olivia, so it's natural that he starts to develop feelings for her, even if he never speaks a word to her. Even if something seems just the tiniest bit off about Olivia.  The way their budding friendship-slash-romance plays out is beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading this book!  Although I don't have any experience with the sort of trauma West goes through, I felt like the hospital scenes and descriptions of how West physically felt his body even though he couldn't move it, were very well done.  He's put through the emotional wringer and his confusion, fear, and sadness really ring true.  I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a different, slightly offbeat, story to read.

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