West wakes up to discover that he is paralyzed and cannot move his limbs. He discovers a room full of hospital machines, strange sounds, and strange sights. He blinks once for yes and twice for no in order to communicate with the world. West was a biker who fell into a disastrous, incomprehensible world.
Olivia inhabited the hospital room next to West's. She was a beautiful former ballet dancer, besieged by a desire to be stick thin. She attends to his every need, talks to him, and he is attracted to her and feels as though they know each other, even though he has never spoken to her. They are 16-year-olds who should be having fun, not spending time in the hospital.
One night at 3 a. m., Olivia almost kills him and falls over herself when she decides to transfer him to a wheel chair. For a minute, she forgot to turn on the respirator. She shows him videos of her ballet dances on the computer. West is swept away by her performance.
Olivia raids the nurses' station at night and goes to West with information that perhaps he should wait to see how much sensation he regains in his limbs before electing to have the surgery which kills 10% of patients. West resists because he does not want to delay his recovery. Olivia pleads with him to reconsider.
West awakes from the surgery in another hospital, and he is elated to be able to speak in a raspy voice. He reconnects with his family, biker friend Mike, and ex-girlfriend Allie. West longs for a return to normalcy.
Blink Once by Cylin Busby, 2012
This book is brilliant, and it has some fascinating plot twists. The author did some medical research to make the book accurate. I was very curious to read a book about paralysis, since this is a subject about which I do not know much. I also learned about coma patients; this book makes me grateful that I have never been one. The cover photo, presumably of Olivia, is quite intriguing. I like how some of the chapters begin with snapshots of West's life prior to the accident and some begin with dreams, nightmares, or visions.
West acquires a psychologist after the surgery. I have a master's degree in psychology, and I am always interested in any mental health characters. She seems to be very uncomfortable with ambiguity and any information coming from West that does not fit neatly into her theories. She is too invested in immediately explaining West's stories and emotions.