Thursday, March 19

Rachel M. Wilson - Don't Touch

"The part of me that needs to touch is like a tiny bird I swallowed by mistake. It beats its wings against my throat, tickles my heart with its feathers, grips a rib with its claws. It tastes the inside of my skin with its little bird tongue." 

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.

Highlight for spoilers. 

Don't Touch was a hard book to read, Caddie's point of view showed me a much darker mental state than I could have ever imagine. Rachel M. Wilson writes so beautifully and expressively that I couldn't stop the novel from sucking me in, and I didn't want to. This was a really frustrating and emotional journey but I haven't, for a minute, regretted reading this novel. 

My favorite thing about Don't Touch were the characters. If they hadn't been so well-crafted I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have enjoyed the novel as much as I did. They were all a 100% realistic, and they had their own distinct personalities. I loved how they sticked together and were a real team even when they were technically fighting for the same roles. Obviously, there were some conflicts but that just made them feel even more real. What I loved in the characters the most, though, was how differently they turned out than I first expected. I'm mainly talking about one character - the hug was soo freaking adorable and made me like him a LOT - but thinking about it all of them were more complex and awesome than I first expected. 

The romance was well-developed, and maybe the thing that made me feel for Caddie even more than I already did. It was obvious she wanted to be with Peter but at the same time she couldn't even touch him. The chemistry was pretty great, I couldn't help but feel anticipation (and sometimes anger) when they kept wanting, wanting, wanting but never touching. It was surprising to see that even though Caddie knew that her behavior wasn't normal she couldn't stop it. I mean technically I know what OCD is but knowing it, and seeing it through someone's eyes is not the same by far. 

I think the mental-illness was brilliantly portrayed. Sometimes the deepness of Caddie's anxiety really creeped me out. With every avoided touch she got farther and farther away from ever finishing 'the game' and the amount of lies she told to her friends and family kept growing. I thought that it would be impossible for me to feel what Caddie felt, given that I've never had OCD nor did I know anyone who's had, but I was able to connect to Caddie and I felt for her completely. I felt like she got better a bit too quickly after she started seeing the psychiatrist but this happened close to the end so I got that Wilson couldn't possibly stretch out the story more. 

I require YA novels to have the parents involved because they are important in a teenager's life and it's unrealistic when we know nothing about them. I'm glad to say that I was happy with the size of role Caddie's parents got in the novel. I liked the mother, she was a pretty great mom despite the fact that she had no idea about Caddie's problems. She was very supportive and it was obvious that she loved her children. Caddie's father is an entirely different topic, he was kind of an asshole and I can't say one good thing about him. I liked that in the end he didn't came to see Caddie  in Hamlet, because Caddie's reaction showed us how much she developed.

“Dad used to read to me before bed when I was little, and if we heard the whistle, Dad would say, 'A train's coming to bring you good dreams.'
Tonight the whistle just sounds lonely. I don't think I'm going to be falling asleep anytime soon.”

I liked all the theater talk and how the play was in the center of the book. I was always fascinated by theaters and school plays so this was a huge plus for me. Inevitably, Hamlet was spoiled, so if you're interested in reading that play do so before you get down to Don't Touch

Overall this book was quite exceptional but I still can't give it maximum rating. Why? Because most of the time I felt more invested in the supporting characters' life than in Caddie's, even though I was pretty invested in her life too. My other problem was how fast Caddie started to heal but I've already talked about that one above. 

Recommended for anyone who would like to read a novel about a realistically portrayed mental illness (OCD). 

The story idea: 4/5
The realisation of the story: 4/5
The characters: 4/5
The cover: 4/5
Enjoy factor: 4/5


  1. I have this book in my TBR.I love books about mental illnesses,and OCD is something I can relate to,as my mom has it.I am a klutz,so it's pretty tough for us to live together,but we've managed:)

    1. I'm glad you want to read this because it's really amazing. Gee, that must be pretty hard, I'm glad you're able to work this out. :)

  2. I've heard about this book before. I don't remember exactly but there was some buzz around it and what cought my attention was the psychological aspect of it (and Hamlet, as well hahahaha) so reading your review and seeing that that aspect was treated well and it was believable makes me wanna read it. OCD is quite a problem and people don't take those who suffer it very seriously, which is a shame really

    1. I've met with quite a few people who thought that people with OCD should be able to just stop and act normal without any help. I honestly don't understand how some people be can be so ignorant. What I liked in this book was how understanding the supporting characters were. I hope you'll enjoy this. :)

  3. I was in two minds about reading this book, but after reading your review I really want to!

  4. I never heard of this book before, happy to see you enjoyed it and hope all your read is a Great One :D

    1. You should totally give it a chance because it's such an amazing read.


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