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.
I must say I haven’t read anything like Blink Once and I really liked the premise of the story and the author’s writing. I felt immediately drawn to the characters and was eager to discover the details of West’s accident and if he would ever recover. I liked that the author kept me guessing until the end. The story is all about the characters and they basically change each other’s lives. Also, the underlying moral/theme is pretty thought-provoking and genuine, making this a pretty heartfelt and touching read.
Since it was told from West’s POV, the reader basically experiences what West is experiencing and much of it is a bit hazy since he’s being treated medically with drugs and trying to recover from his accident. Things aren’t always what they seem and I love that Cylin really did her research on patients like West to give readers a glimpse of what they could possibly be going through. She really ties things together at the end and has you feeling all the emotions for West, Olivia, and even all the other patients within West’s medical ward. Olivia is such a fun, yet odd character, very free-spirited and endearing.
Most of the story is of West trying his best to recover and his interactions with Olivia. His parents and friends make appearances, of course, along with an interesting slew of nurses and medical staff. Ultimately, his life rests on the decision to undergo a very risky, and possibly life-threatening, surgery or to hold out and hope his body will regain function without it. While working through all that, West deals with quite a few creepy nightmares that makes you wonder if his room isn’t being haunted by ghosts of the patients before him. Everything is pretty much tied together and West have to figure out how and then learn to deal with the reality of it all, including the mystery behind Olivia.
Blink Once is an emotional read and one you’ll find you can’t quite look away from. It pretty much draws you in right from the beginning and even though the ending is a bit sad, you won’t be disappointed.