Books & More from the Teen Scene

Book reviews and other reflections from one of Oregon's young adult librarians

“Blink & Caution” by Tim Wynne-Jones December 21, 2011

Filed under: Fiction,Realistic,Street Lit,Thriller — hilariouslibrarian @ 12:05 am
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Wynne-Jones, Tim. Blink and Caution. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2011. 324 pages. ISBN: 9780763639839.

Blink & Caution cover

Images courtesy of

The Basics:

Blink is a Toronto street kid stealing breakfasts at fancy hotels when he witnesses the alleged kidnapping of a mining company CEO. After he steals a discarded Blackberry and money from the man’s hotel room, Blink gets sucked into the increasingly strange crime. Caution is a street kid trying to get away from her crazy junkie boyfriend, but the path she takes forces her to face the reasons she ran from home in the first place. They are about to meet and the results will be explosive.


Blink, you are running scared and don’t know why you do half of what you do. You keep calling that man’s daughter and you’re just getting yourself mixed up in some crazy kidnapping or whatever that doesn’t have anything to do with you. But who cares, right? There’s no one who care for you or cares about you, so you can just do whatever, right?

Caution named herself – as in Slippery When Wet, as in Harmful if Swallowed, as in Watch Your Step, as in Toxic. She has decided she will walk out on Merlin the magician, even though she knows he will come after her and might even kill her. And maybe that’s all she deserves.

When Blink meets Caution, they’re both in over their heads. If they team up, will they pull each other back from the brink? Or pull each other down until they both drown?

Random Thought:

These characters are so compelling, so well-drawn that they’ll crawl into your head and live there long after you reach the final page.

Awards and Honors (Source:

  • Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for 2011
  • Junior Library Guild Selection for Spring 2011

“Rooftop” by Paul Volponi November 18, 2011

Volponi, Paul. Rooftop. New York: Viking, 2006. 199 pp. ISBN: 0670060690

Rooftop cover

Images courtesy of


Estranged cousins Clay and Addison reconnect when they both land in the same day treatment rehabilitation center. As they struggle to manage the program against the pull of the streets, life changes in an horrible instant that leaves Addison dead on a rooftop and Clay unsure how to handle the political circus that overtakes him.


They were already supposed to be at the family night potluck over at Daytop, their day treatment rehabilitation center. But cousins Clay and Addison ran off, chasing that punk Clorox who still owed Addison the money, even though the cops broke up the dice game.

They ran up.

Chasing Clorox to the rooftop.

A wild search.

The sound of footsteps on the stairs.

They turned.

A blaze of gunfire.

A cop’s startled face.

Addison dead at Clay’s feet.

An unarmed black boy shot by a white cop.

Clay is swept into a media and political circus. He is cornered into a lie that leaves him breathless and unsure how to end this thing, how to keep himself going, and how to face what really happened that night in the New York City projects on a lonely Rooftop.

Random thought:

I should recommend this book to Travis, 16. Travis is currently enjoying the books of Laurie Halse Anderson, including Twist, Prom, and Speak. He likes that they talk about high school life and how sometimes people get caught in a situation or make some really bad decisions, but they can still change and get back on the right path. This would be a good fit!

Awards/Honors (source:

  • ALA Best Book Young Adult
  • ALA Quick Pick
  • New York City Library Book for the Teen Age
  • Tayshas List (Texas Library Association)