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Young Adult Fiction Canada

Blink & Caution

by (author) Tim Wynne-Jones

Candlewick Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2011
Canada, Runaways, Law & Crime
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2011
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2012
    List Price
  • CD-Audio

    Publish Date
    Sep 2015
    List Price
  • CD-Audio

    Publish Date
    Aug 2012
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 14 to 18
  • Grade: 9 to 12


Two street kids get tangled in a plot over their heads — and risk an unexpected connection — in this heart-pounding thriller by Tim Wynne-Jones.

Boy, did Blink get off on the wrong floor. All he wanted was to steal some breakfast for his empty belly, but instead he stumbled upon a fake kidnapping and a cell phone dropped by an "abducted" CEO, giving Blink a link to his perfect blonde daughter. Now Blink is on the run, but it’s OK as long as he’s smart enough to stay in the game and keep Captain Panic locked in his hold. Enter a girl named Caution. As in "Caution: Toxic." As in "Caution: Watch Your Step." She’s also on the run, from a skeezy drug-dealer boyfriend and from a nightmare in her past that won’t let her go. When she spies Blink at the train station, Caution can see he’s an easy mark. But there’s something about this naïve, skinny street punk, whom she only wanted to rob, that tugs at her heart, a heart she thought deserved not to feel. Charged with suspense and intrigue, this taut novel trails two deeply compelling characters as they forge a blackmail scheme that is foolhardy at best, disastrous at worst — along with a fated, tender partnership that will offer them each a rare chance for redemption.

About the author

TIM WYNNE-JONES is one of Canada's foremost writers for children. The author of over thirty-five books, he is a two-time winner of the Governor General's Award, as well as a two-time winner of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award and of the Arthur Ellis Award. His short-story collections include Some of the Kinder Planets, Book of Changes and Lord of the Fries. He is also known for his Rex Zero series. Recently, he wrote the young-adult novels The Ruinous Sweep; Emperor of Any Place, which earned seven starred reviews; and Blink & Caution, which won the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award. Tim is also the recipient of the Edgar Award and the Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work. In 2012, he was made an Officer to the Order of Canada. He lives in Perth, Ontario.


Tim Wynne-Jones' profile page


  • Short-listed, Governor General's Literary Award - Children (English)
  • Winner, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award

Editorial Reviews

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
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Wynne-Jones’ finest, most beautifully written novel yet, one more in a career full of distinguished works
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

The story is told in alternating viewpoints, with Blink’s segments in second-person present tense, which adds a heightened sense of immediacy and urgency…Those who enjoy thought-provoking thrillers will not want to miss this novel
—School Library Journal (starred review)

Master suspense-spinner Wynne-Jones uses an alternating third person perspective, with dashes of a second person perspective, to draw the reader deeply into the story and care about the fate of these two soul-weary runaways
—Library Media Connection (starred review)

This is gritty, sure, but more than that, its smart, and earns every drop of its hopeful finish.

The crime-drama element of the novel, involving a dispute over corporate uranium mining on Indian-owned land, has enough suspense and action to keep readers interested while they forge a connection with the main characters, whose relationship deepens as they help each other survive immediate dangers as well as the aftereffects of past trauma.
—Horn Book

Suspense combines with a genuinely moving character drama to ensure broad reader appeal
—Bulletin of the Center of Children's Books

Over the course of the novel these two damaged children move from darkness toward light and healing, and by the end we are awfully glad of it
—Wall Street Journal

A fast paced mystery with intelligence and heart…snags readers and doesn’t let go.

All the elements of a classic noir: a quick thinking leading lady; an unlikely. but decent. hero; a femme fatale with dubious motives; goons with nicknames like “Tank,” “Merlin,” and “Snake”; and, of course, action and suspense.
—Plain Dealer

This novel is charged with suspense and intrigue and trails two deeply compelling characters as they forge a blackmail scheme that is foolhardy at best disastrous at worst along with a fated tender partnership that will offer them each hope.
—San Diego Union Tribune

Librarian Reviews

Blink & Caution

Blink & Caution is an action thriller driven more by the perspectives and interior lives of the superb male and female protagonists than the sometimes contrived plot. Both characters are teens living in the seedy underbelly of Toronto; they are homeless and obliged by past troubles to live on the wrong side of the law. Blink (Brent) was forced from home by an abusive step-father, while Caution (Kitty) left her family because of her immense guilt following the death of her brother. When Blink witnesses an unusual altercation and takes a cell phone from the crime scene, he involves himself in a plot of kidnapping, theft, industrial espionage and corporate fraud. During his investigation he hooks up with Caution, who first robs him and then saves him when the two end up in a violent stand-off with very scary men.

The central relationship begins with distrust, becomes friendly and is ultimately transformative for both teens. This development is never unrealistic or forced — and the basically happy ending feels completely authentic. The intense hardships suffered by both Blink and Caution are chronicled in such a way as to evoke sympathy and understanding, but never pity. The alternating points of view keep the pace lively and the somewhat strange second person voice for Blink works, although it never feels truly necessary. I wish Wynne- Jones had kept the complexities of the background plot (revealed in the latter third of the novel) cleaner and more specific, but for most of this long novel, the storytelling does not lag or falter.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Spring 2011. Volume 34 No. 2.

Blink & Caution

Blink is in the wrong place at the wrong time and witnesses a crime. Having stolen a smartphone from the room where the crime was committed, he’s now linked to the crime. Caution is running from her past and her drug-dealer boyfriend, and the last thing she needs is to get mixed up with another street kid who’s got problems of his own. But somehow their lives become intertwined and they forge a partnership.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Fall, 2012.

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