Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Don't Touch by Rachel M. Wilson Review

"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."


Mental diseases, as I probably said before, is not my favorite thing to witness or read about. Caddie, the main character of Don't Touch, has an anxiety disorder. She doesn't like it whenever she touches someone's skin (actual skin to skin contact) and will have a panic attack when someone does touch her skin. She covers up from neck to toe, making sure that there will be no accidental contact. 

(Also, Ophelia is a character in one of Shakespeare's play. She is played by Caddie in her school's play. I have never read or seen the play, but from some fast checking on Wikipedia, I know a little bit about Hamlet. Think of this paragraph as a disclaimer.)

First of all, Caddie is an amazing character. She struggles with her obsession to never touch a person's skin. After father's abandonment, Caddie's anxiety disorder has gotten worse and worse. She extremely dislikes her condition, and whenever she tries to get over it, the obsession bounces back and hits it where it hurts. Reading about Caddie's amazing and internal struggle is difficult at times, but Caddie's bravery and determination strikes a chord in me. 

Second of all, Don't Touch has a wonderful cast of characters. Each of them are cool in their own way. Peter, especially, is amazing. Each character is understanding once they learn of Caddie's problems, and they help her deal with it. The supporting cast is brilliantly written and remains stunningly positive for Caddie's determination to overcome her anxieties. 

The romance between Caddie and Peter is exhilarating to read about. Caddie refuses to touch Peter, even though she wants to. Peter wishes to touch her, but he respects Caddie's wishes. It is a strange romance, like watching two oppositely charged magnets trying to get close to each other. But they can't meet, because there is a barrier. Despite the lack of physical actions, the romance is beautiful and the connection blows me away. 

The plot is well-defined, and each part of the book is paced perfectly. I can't help but read the book (and annoy my friends because I refuse to take eyes off of it) until the very end. The ending is highly satisfying, and Caddie's journey doesn't reach her end. No, she is at the beginning, which is filled with a lot of hope for the future. 

Overall, Don't Touch is an awesome YA Contemporary novel with a touch of William Shakespeare. It has an unique narrator whose internal struggles will empathize with readers. Don't Touch is best for those who love watching a character overcome her fears. 

Rating: Four out of Five

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