March 6, 2015

Review: Don't Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

Title: Don’t Touch
Author: Rachel M. Wilson
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mental Illness
Release Date: September 2nd, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
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.

My Review: I love YA novels that deal with real issues without romanticizing or glossing over them. I want to see the good and the bad and the happy and the sad. I want to feel the pain and the anxiety right along with that character. I want to be drawn into their brain, seeing their though processes no matter how frustrating it may be- and with books like this it can get very frustrating. Needless to say, this book gave me everything I wanted and more.

I loved Peter and Mandy. Peter was understanding and patient, but not to the extent where it was unbelievable. Obviously, when you have a mental disorder and are refraining from telling anyone about it while continuing irrational behaviors, people are bound to be confused and upset. Anyone who didn’t react in a negative way at some point would seem unrealistic, to me, at least. I was also able to connect to Mandy more than I thought I would. Imagine loosing your best friend, getting her back knowing something is wrong, wanting to be there for her, wanting her to confide in you, but having her push you away and keep secrets when all you want to do is help. It would hurt, and as much as you try to be understanding, there’s only so much you can take. The two were both very realistic to me, trying to help but also getting frustrated, rightfully so, at some points.

Many people disliked this book because they didn’t understand; they didn’t get how Caddie was keeping it to herself or how come she couldn’t just get over her problems. I think that’s an extremely invalid reason for disliking it, because it isn’t that hard to understand why Caddie couldn’t get tell anyone. When you have a mental disorder, its typically uncomfortable for you to ask for help or to open up about it. You don’t know how people will react. You have no idea if they’ll judge you, hate you, think your weird, or stop speaking to you. It’s nerve-wracking. Also, many people think the book could have been wrapped up in 100 pages or that Caddie could have gotten over her issues quicker. OCD isn’t something there’s a quick fix for, it’s a serious issue that takes time.

I loved the setting of the book, and the role Hamlet played in everything. Caddie was essentially trying to see if she was or wasn’t Ophelia through the whole book and I really enjoyed it.

Mental health is a serious issue to tackle, and Rachel Wilson did a great job with it, especially since she’s dealt with anxiety and OCD herself. Her author’s note at the end is not something to be skipped over. I am grateful that there are more and more books entering the YA genre about mental illnesses, books that are showing the real side of these diseases. I think we need them. Partially, for some readers to know that they aren’t alone and for others to gain more insight on serious topics.

Don’t Touch was a wonderful debut novel by Rachel Wilson, and it had a great balance. Never too sad or heavy, and the perfect amount of humor with the right amount of seriousness.


  1. I love this book!

  2. This book sounds great! I am always looking for books that handle mental illnesses well, so I will definitely read this soon. Nice review. :)


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