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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Touched by Cyn Balog

Nick Cross always listens to the voice in his head. Because if he doesn't? Things can go really, really wrong. Like the day he decided to go off script and saved a girl from being run over . . . and let another one drown. Trying to change the future doesn't work.

But this summer at the Jersey Shore, something's about to happen that Nick never could have predicted. He meets a girl named Taryn and finds out about the Book of Touch. Now the path that he thought he was on begins to shift . . . and there's no way to stop things from happening. Or is there?

In a life where there are no surprises, nothing has prepared Nick for what he's about to discover--or the choice he will be forced to make. . . .

Released: August 14th 2012         Pages: 320
Publisher: Delacorte Press           Source: Library

First Look: ***** That cover. It is fabulous.  It might seriously be my favorite cover ever.  I love the creepy abandoned-looking theme park (there's a shadowy roller coaster on the back cover), magical tendrils of something-or-other, an offbeat font, and a cool color scheme.  When I first saw it, I didn't even care what the book was about.  I had to read it no matter what.

 Setting: ***** The setting didn't play a big role in the novel.  The narration and descriptions gave me an adequate idea of the placed I needed to be acquainted with in order to move along in the story.  There's not much else to say about it.

Characters: ***** The thing that kept me from connecting with Nick, the main character, was his obnoxious and frankly appalling objectification of girls.  I would have liked him well enough if all his references to girls standing around him hadn't been only directed at their physical appearance.  Seriously--is a girl's body the only thing you can notice about her, Nick?  He actually, at one point, referred to looking for girls as something along the lines of "checking out the fresh meat".  Excuse me?  I have a name for guys who talk like this.  I call them: SINGLE.

All of the other characters were pretty bland.  Again, we didn't learn much about Taryn other than that she was good-looking.  I only got any depth from Nick, but half the time I was too annoyed with him to notice.

Plot: ***** The idea of someone knowing the future, and being able to follow the "lines" to see events to come, and watching those ideas adjust as choices are made, is pretty interesting.  For the most part, it was carried out well.  The introduction of the "Touches" into the plot was interesting.  The explanations made as much sense as they needed to, without detracting from the story.

I loved the ending.  It's hard to explain without spoiling it, so I won't try.  I respect the sacrifice Nick's grandmother made, though, and the whole thing was a clever and satisfying way to wrap up the plot.   

Uniqueness: ***** 
The premise is a unique take on the ability to see the future.  However, the book has several disappointing clichés, mainly the loner that nobody likes inexplicably gaining the attention of the beautiful girl that everyone loves, for no particular reason.

Writing: ***** 
The narration itself, for the most part, does its job--telling the story--without being intrusive to the reader.  I can't bring myself to give it four stars, though, because of Nick's obnoxious and borderline sexist attitude toward girls that shows through in his first-person narration.  I've already talked about this, so I won't repeat myself.  It made me honestly angry, though.  And it came from a female writer, too, which I fail to understand.

Likes: Nothing not already mentioned above.

Not-so-great: At one point, Nick referred to his mother as a "MILF".  I wasn't familiar with this acronym, so I looked it up.  And...I'm a little bit creeped out.  Did I miss the part when Nick became a Lannister?  (And there's no need for you to look this acronym up.  Trust me.)

Overall: Touched, for me, was another of those awesome cover, so-so story books.  I had problems liking the main character because it seemed like every comment he made about a girl was directed toward her physical appearance, and nothing else.  The plot was interesting, and I liked the ending, but I had too many problems with Nick's attitude to give this four stars. 
Similar Books: It has heavy similarities to Thirteen Days to Midnight--it involves a boy with some sort of paranormal ability, a little romance, and they both have similar tones.   It also reminded me a little of Auracle and even Infinity.
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