author : cylin busby
pages : [hardcover] 304
favorite characters : west & olivia
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.
Wow. I’ve been wanting to read this book for a long while and knew that it had the opportunity to be a really powerful read. I love the fantastical element in it of not knowing whether or not Olivia truly exists or if she is just a figment of West’s damaged mind. Because he’s trapped in his hospital bed for so much of the novel, it was definitely at risk for falling flat or trying to overreach and become philosophical in the times when West contemplates this change in his life and what it currently means for him. I love the way that it was all handled and hope to read more from Cylin Busby in the future.
West and Olivia were both imperfect characters just like the rest of the cast and that’s what I think I liked so much about them. Olivia is erratic, with mood swings that generally center around West, while he’s unable to do much more than communicating through blinking his eyes and then attempting to write some things out. But only Olivia is the one who allows him to try this with her. She’s the one he can really come to and he seems to be the only person she’s comfortable around. They need each other desperately and it’s in that that the reader can see that they’re really still two kids who are struggling to get through this stay in the hospital.
I really recommend this book to fans of suspense novels, medical mysteries, odd romance, and intriguing plot lines. I typically lean toward fantasy and dystopia this days so Blink Once is a refreshing voice in the YA genre. If you’re interested in picking up a great YA novel that might be unlike anything you’ve read lately, definitely reach for this one!