Friday, August 10, 2012

"Blink Once" Review & Author Interview

Date to-be Published: September 4, 2012

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Number of Pages: 304

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

First Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book; I literally didn’t see the big twist near the end coming! I mean how epic is that? To be able to have this big twist that turns the whole book upside down and you never saw it coming? That takes some serious talent; usually you can at least guess part of the twist or even suspect it but in this book you don’t. Both way I really enjoyed the entirety of this book and loved the companionship and emotions that this book evoked from me. This was a book about growing up and believing in yourself and others. There was so much more to this book that was between the lines and I can’t wait to re-read this again sometime in the future. But this is one book you surely don’t want to miss.


So it really deals with the aftermath of bike stunt gone bad. This was a world of consciousness and unconsciousness and the whole time you’re trying to determine reality from fiction. It wasn’t actually that hard of a plot to follow, you just had to really pay attention to the story and read along the lines. I really enjoyed the different parts to this book; like the nightmares he was having, it was fun to start throwing in some of my own theories with the other characters but of course I was wrong…and it was like the other character Olivia was another main character…she was very essential to the plot and I still have a theory she was a huge symbol in this book; like she stood for something much greater than a mere person or object...I really found that the author really knew what she was writing when it came to the medical conditions and terms, I didn’t think it felt made up or wrongly created. But this plot was definitely filled with plenty of conflicts and surprises to keep the reader interested and by the end of the book I did feel satisfied yet really drained also. It was like all the emotion that the author was able to get the reader to feel drained the reader also but it still left them with a satisfied hunger. Without the emotion and storyline this book wouldn’t be itself, it would only be an image of what it is now. And the pace of the story was pretty fast, there was always something happening; stories being told so it was by far a very fast read. Overall I enjoyed the plot and thought the story was worth being told.


Ahhhh….the romance was amazing in this book; it was not the least bit overdone or overwhelming. I really enjoyed the relationship between West and Olivia, it was a bit awkward at times yet just right at others…it wasn’t unrealistic and it felt like a normal attachment, none of that fairytale mojo you get in most YA. The relationship had it’s ups and downs and definitely had a lot of interesting facts attached that even the characters didn’t know until the time came for them to. Anyways I really enjoyed this aspect and was very pleased how the author chose to approach this aspect to the story.


I really enjoyed the creation of these characters, West had plenty of background information for the reader to better get a grasp on who he really was. He had plenty of traits and quirks that the reader got to know gradually throughout the book. And Olivia was the biggest mystery of them all, the way she just showed up in this book took the reader on a ride of a lifetime. She was so different yet so real; I really loved the creation of her and what she stood for. Her presence in this book really snapped together to West’s. As far as any unnecessary character there weren’t any, every minor character was just as significant as West and Olivia; without them the story couldn’t be told; it would be missing pieces. So overall the characters were a very essential part to the foundation of this book and I really enjoyed getting to know each and every one of them.

Transformation of the Character:

I think West did transform some in this book, he started to grow up during his recovery and I think Olivia was a very big part of why he went through this transformation. I don’t want to give much away but just know that the transformation was believable and very fun to watch take place throughout the entire book. So overall this was a successful and good aspect of the book.


I really loved the way the author described both the world and the characters. I felt that I could really see in detail what West was seeing and really FEEL what he was feeling. I liked the way she described the littlest of details like how it felt to be cold; the weight of not moving…it was all so surreal and amazing to read. And the emotions that we got through the thoughts and details were amazing; not every book can really make me feel some of the RAW pain I felt in this book. And the whole description of the hospital stay and the nightmares gave me chills at some point. As for the dialogue it was perfect! The concept of blinking was used so perfect in this book that it really made the title of this book stand out. I enjoyed that she chose the concept of blinking for talking….it really made the reader take a step back from the story and really see what was happening. So overall I really thought this aspect was very essential and great for the story.


This was written in first person and in one POV, so it allowed the reader to better connect with West and understand what he’s going through. And as far as the authors writing, I really thought it was fantastic! It was fun to read and easy to understand, I didn’t feel like the writing was juvenile or underdeveloped; it really blossomed throughout the entire story. This was really a great aspect to the book also.

Quote of the Book:

““Do you know how long I’ve been here?” After waiting a beat or two for my answer, she laughed.

“I’m so desperate, I’m having a conversation with a human vegetable!” I blinked twice. I’m not a vegetable.”

Goodreads summary:

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.

Last Thoughts:

I would recommend this to young adult readers and anyone who loves stories with twists! I really enjoyed reading this book and the huge twist that really surprised me. I loved that I was able to read about the present the past, the way the two were entwined was perfectly structured. This book has become one of my favorites of this year, I just liked the story itself and the creativeness of West’s story. I really enjoyed the author’s writing and can’t wait to read other works by this author.

My Rating:

Cylin Busby Ross likes to say that she is from Maine, but really she has lived in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Maine, New York and California. Since both of her parents were born in Maine, and she went to high school there, she thinks of it as her home state. She can also do a mean Downeast accent. Cylin has worked at Random House, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster as a children's book editor. She was also Senior Editor at Teen Magazine. She is the author of fiction and nonfiction books for young readers, numerous magazine articles and short stories. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.

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Interview with Cylin Busby

What inspired you to write this novel?

In the memoir that I co-wrote with my dad, THE YEAR WE DISAPPEARED, he tells the story of his near-death experience and how it felt to be technically “dead” for a few moments. His story started me thinking about what happens when you are not on this Earth, or in your physical body anymore…especially when your body is being kept alive for you. What if you were a teenager, confused about life anyhow, not fully formed as person, and found yourself in that place where Dad was—somewhere between Here and There. And what if you weren’t alone….

This thinking led to the idea for BLINK ONCE. The story of two teenagers who meet in a hospital, and fall in love, their state of awareness fluid—some of what they experience is real, happening in our world, and some of it happens on another plane. A place where only they know, somewhere between life and death, a place that few have seen and returned from. It’s not a place that they can stay forever, and soon a choice will be made. Who will stay, move on to whatever is next, and who will return to the living?

Were there any scenes that were taken out that you wished weren’t?

During the revision process, there was one big plot point that was removed from the book. It concerns the last scene between Olivia and West, the last time they meet at the hospital. I don’t regret taking that part out, but it did somewhat change the book and flow of the story (it’s hard to explain without spoiling the novel for readers, so I’ll leave it there!)

What is your ideal writing environment?

I need quiet to be able to write, so if the house is empty, that’s best for me. I can write in a café or at the library, but I find that I get distracted by what people are doing around me. I’m a big fan of “people watching” so I’ll find myself wasting lots of time looking around the café and trying to figure out what everyone else is doing there, instead of focusing on my own project.

Were there any songs that helped inspire you to write?

Great question—but a tough one because there are so many songs that make me think of West and Olivia. There is an old Radiohead song “High & Dry” that I had running through my head whenever I thought about West. A song by the Psychedelic Furs called “Love My Way,” has this great line in it: “Falling over you was the news of the day” which, to me, is about that moment when you realize you’ve totally tumbled for someone. And I guess finally The Cult song, “She Sells Sanctuary” reminds me of Olivia and what she does for West in this story.

How would you take to West’s situation? Would you be scared?

I think I would be even more terrified than West is—not only of being paralyzed, which is scary enough on its own, but also of the bad dreams and the idea that the hospital might be haunted, especially since he is powerless to defend himself. He strikes me as a brave character and I tried to portray him that way, although he also has a soft heart.

If there was one book you could live in what would it be?

No question: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. I’ve always wanted to try the goodies in that book—they sound so amazing. And can you imagine being in that factory for a day?!

Who were your greatest supporters throughout the entire writing/publishing process?

My long-time editor, Melanie Cecka is a friend first and an editor second. She read the first chapter of this book and told me that I should keep writing. Without her, I’m not sure there would be a book! And my agent, Brenda Bowen is a former publisher, so she’s an amazing editor and so supportive of everything I do. My first reader is always my husband, Damon, and he does not hesitate to give me straight feedback—sometimes it’s harsh, but I appreciate it.

How do you go about learning all about the medical references in this book? Was it easy?

The medical conditions in this book required a lot of research. I used personal, first person accounts for some of it, and sought out my friends and family who work in medicine for the rest.

How did you come up with your characters names?

I know a woman whose son is called “West” and I always loved that name and hoped to use it in a book. When I started writing about this handsome BMX racer with a kind heart, I knew I had found the right boy to call West, it just fit him. As for Olivia, the name is lyrical and beautiful and I thought it suited a delicate ballerina.

What is one thing you hope your readers get out of this book?

I would like readers to come away from BLINK ONCE believing in soul mates—as goofy as that may sound. Olivia and West do not meet under the best circumstances, yet they grow to be friends and then fall in love. I do believe in soul mates, but I don’t think that there is only one for every person. Instead, I think that we have different soul mates for different times in our lives—maybe you meet one soul mate in high school, and another in college, and then marry one later in your life. Some people never meet their soul mate, some people meet their soul mate at the wrong time and it doesn’t work out. Love is a personal path for each person, determined by fate and luck—you just have to roll the dice, and see what you get.

Thanks so much Cylin for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions! It was so much fun learning the answers!! 


  1. I just finished this today too and I have to agree this was an amazing read full of twists and turns, I loved it!!

    Nice review and interview!!

  2. Great review and interview, thank you for posting this--it was interesting to hear the story behind what inspired the novel (I loved it too!)

  3. I just won this on Goodreads and can't WAIT to read it! :)