Books & More from the Teen Scene

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

“The Boundless” by Kenneth Oppel October 27, 2014

Filed under: Books,Fiction,Historical Fiction,Magical Realism,Thriller,Young Adult — hilariouslibrarian @ 6:14 pm
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The Boundless cover

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The Facts

320 pages; published April 2014

The Basics

After witnessing a murder while traveling on the maiden voyage of the most elaborate train ever conceived, Will Everett is on the run from a gang of scheming brakemen, jumping from car to car in the night. His only asset is his wit; his only allies, a gaggle of circus freaks; and his biggest challenge, the very real sasquatch and bog hag lying in wait along the way.


You would have thought Will Everett experienced enough excitement for a lifetime after a chance encounter led him to pound the final spike into the TransCanadian Railway and then survive the avalanche that followed.

But only a few years later, he launches into the adventure of a lifetime on The Boundless, a train of epic proportions making its first trip across the same TransCanadian Railway. A murder witnessed sends Will on the run, careening through the night across the top of the train, hiding out in a circus, and being pulled into a web of double-crossing intrigue. In a world where sasquatch and bog hags are real, an escape artist is his only true friend, and brakemen are out for blood, Will needs every ounce of his courage to survive his ride on The Boundless.

Random Thoughts

  • Kenneth Oppel has really outdone himself here, with quirky characters and madcap action that deliver high entertainment value all around.

I’ll Recommend This To …

  • Middle grade readers, especially boys
  • Fans of adventure
  • People who think trains are cool
  •  Kids who secretly (or not so secretly) believe Big Foot is real
  • Anyone who ever wanted to run away to join the circus

“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