Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Review: Don't Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

Title: Don't Touch
Author: Rachel M. Wilson
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Release Date: 2 September, 2014
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss

A powerful story of a girl who is afraid to touch another person’s skin, until the boy auditioning for Hamlet opposite her Ophelia gives her a reason to overcome her fears.

Step on a crack, break your mother’s back. Touch another person’s skin, and Dad’s gone for good.

Caddie can’t stop thinking that if she keeps from touching another person’s skin, her parents might get back together... which is why she wears full-length gloves to school and covers every inch of her skin.

It seems harmless at first, but Caddie’s obsession soon threatens her ambitions as an actress. She desperately wants to play Ophelia in her school’s production of Hamlet. But that would mean touching Peter, who’s auditioning for the title role—and kissing him. Part of Caddie would love nothing more than to kiss Peter—but the other part isn't sure she's brave enough to let herself fall.

Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson, this debut novel from Rachel M. Wilson is a moving story of a talented girl who's fighting an increasingly severe anxiety disorder, and the friends and family who stand by her.
Review by Nara

Don't Touch was a touching (#pun) book about a girl who is unable to let others touch her for an irrational fear of it causing the divorce of her parents. This book deals with mental health in a truthful light, certainly without shying away from the gruesome detail. Caddie's difficulty with having others touch her and her incredibly slow progress were very frustrating, but they were also quite realistic. You wouldn't normally expect someone like Caddie to be able to solve her issues with OCD and anxiety instantly- and I was definitely glad that wasn't the case in this book. She has to work on her issues over an extended period of time, and that makes it all the more satisfying each time she makes the small step to cross to the next stepping stone of her recovery.

I feel like the secondary characters were quite interesting as well. Caddie's best friend, Mandy, had to deal with some issues of her own- which were not quite on the same seriousness scale as Caddie's- but still drove some intriguing minor plotlines. Another of the secondary characters was Oscar, a member of the same friendship group, and I'm sorry, but Oscar was such an irritating douchebag. He was just arrogant and obnoxious and oh my freaking god, just get rid of him. That being said, he did improve slightly towards the end, with a few heartwarming gestures, and I suppose even in real life, there are some friendship groups with characters like him.

Which brings me to the romance. The romance, as would be expected in a book where the protagonist is someone who is afraid to touch anyone else, is very slowly developed. I was initially worried that it was bordering a bit on instalove, but I'd really say it's insta-attraction that then is quite well developed into an adorable romance. Sidenote: the love interest, Peter, is a bit of a geek which, let's be honest, is totally the best kind of love interest.

If you want a book that gives a realistic take on mental illness, do give Don't Touch a go.

Really liked it

Overall: 7/10
Plot: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
Romance: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 3/5