[eARC Review] Don't Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Title: Don't Touch
Author: Rachel M. Wilson
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Contemporary
Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
Release Date: September 2nd 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: eARC received by publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

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

Caddie has a history of magical thinking—of playing games in her head to cope with her surroundings—but it's never been this bad before.

When her parents split up, Don't touch becomes Caddie's mantra. Maybe if she keeps from touching another person's skin, Dad will come home. She knows it doesn't make sense, but her games have never been logical. Soon, despite Alabama's humidity, she's covering every inch of her skin and wearing evening gloves to school.

And that's where things get tricky. Even though Caddie's the new girl, it's hard to pass off her compulsions as artistic quirks. Friends notice things. Her drama class is all about interacting with her scene partners, especially Peter, who's auditioning for the role of Hamlet. Caddie desperately wants to play Ophelia, but if she does, she'll have to touch Peter . . . and kiss 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.

From rising star Rachel M. Wilson comes a powerful, moving debut novel of the friendship and love that are there for us, if only we'll let them in.

I honestly did not know what to expect going into this book. I think I was expecting a paranormal, something like Shatter Me, but what I got was so much more than that. I got a contemporary book that is so real and honest about the struggles and hardships of OCD, a book that left me with so much heartache, sympathy and love for these characters.

Don't Touch follows the trials and tribulations of Caddie and her fear of being touched. This is not some small aspect of her life that we get a glimpse at, this is the all consuming part of her entire existence, and we watch as she struggles to not only live her life, but make friends. I loved Caddie as our narrator because her voice was so authentic and I at times felt the same struggles she felt in her everyday life.

Characters are my main focus when reading a contemporary, and outside of Caddie there were plenty to choose from. And i will admit that I wasn't a fan of some of them, and I think that was by design. I connected right away with Caddie so when we are introduced to new characters I automatically went to how they treated her, and when we met her BFF Mandy. Now Mandy has no idea about the OCD that Caddie suffers from so that is a point of tension right from the beginning, but I honestly wasn't a fan of how she treated Caddie in certain points in the book...the play in particular. But what I think I liked the most about Caddie and Mandy's relationship was how real it felt and how pliable it was. It showed that not all friendships are created equal and that they change over time, no matter how much we don't want it to happen.

Caddie does have a love interest and I loved it so much because it was not linear. Everything happened in a kind of zigzag pattern and I loved it, it seemed to real and innocent at the same time. And i loved that Peter, her love interest, was the reason that Caddie wanted to change, and for the right reasons. She wanted to be able to connect with a person on an intimate level and even though she knew it was worlds away, she wanted to try anyway. These two characters brought out the best in each other and I loved them together. 

Overall Don't Touch is a heartbreaking look at OCD and its debilitating effects on a person and their everyday life. The author took a subject that never really gets the light of day and made it the center of everything, and honestly I am so glad that she did. I have so much respect with anyone dealing with OCD or anxiety because what they go through everyday is something we cannot even imagine and I loved getting a glimpse into that kind of life. Caddie's character changed me and the way I look at other people, because you never know what someone is dealing with on the inside. This book is a must read for sure!

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