Title: Blink Once
Author: Cylin Busby
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Publication Date: September 4, 2012
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.
*CAUTION: contains spoilers*
I had mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it was an intriguing mystery, but on the other, there were some things I didn’t really like or felt like needed more explanation. At times, I wished that something more could happen, but I realize that would probably have been difficult to pull off due to the fact that Busby’s protagonist was both paralyzed and (SERIOUS SPOILER!!!) in a coma.
I imagine that I’m not the only reader who will think this, but I found Olivia to be a much more interesting character than West. We don’t really learn all that much about West throughout the story, other than a few scenes from before the coma with Mike and Allie.
The idea that Olivia was a manifestation of West’s fears and feelings of lack of control was interesting, and would certainly explain her strange behavior and sudden disappearance just before West is set to have his surgery. It would also explain why Olivia seemed so desperate for West to stay in the hospital with her; he was afraid of life beyond the hospital and the outcome of the surgery.
Something else I wish had been developed further was the reason for West’s nightmares. After West wakes up from the coma and the surgery we do find out that the two people West was dreaming about were actually real, but they don’t have much of a connection to Olivia other than the fact that none of them were real.
I was also kind of confused why West went to see Olivia’s attacker, other than the fact that he wanted to see if that man was real as well. I felt like the scene between West and Olivia’s attacker lacked something. It was rather short and nothing was really resolved for West. Also, on a super nit-picky note, I don’t believe West would have been allowed to see the man who attacked Olivia. Prisons don’t really let random people visit the inmates; it’s mostly only family and legal counsel who are allowed to see people in prisons.
I was also kind of dissatisfied by the ending, to be honest. West’s relationship with Mike and Allie appeared to go back to normal, but Busby never really went into the break-up scene that happened between Allie and West while he was in a coma, so I assumed they had been mostly broken up before. In addition, I didn’t really like how West still seemed so convinced that what had happened between him and Olivia was real. Olivia’s death seemed a little like a cop-out ending, and again, we still left West thinking that his relationship with Olivia was real.
This book definitely brought up a lot of interesting questions about the tricks our minds can play on us when we’re not in control and afraid, but I still can’t decide if I actually liked it or not. The psychological aspects of the story were very interesting to me, but some of the plot points left a little to be desired. Still, I am happy to have read the book, and strongly believe the story will haunt me for a long time.