Friday, August 10, 2012
Me on Touched
Author: Cyn Balog
Release Date: August 14, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Press (Random House imprint)
Nick has always listened to the voices in his head. If he doesn't, things can go really wrong. Like the day he went off script to save a girl from being run over and let another girl drown. Changing the future doesn't work. But the summer is ready to show Nick something he never could have predicted, not when Taryn moves to town and shows him the Book of Touch. Now the path he was on is shifting, and there's no way to stop things from changing. Maybe. In a life with no surprises, nothing has prepared Nick for what's coming, or the choice he'll have to make.
Touched starts with an interesting premise, leading the reader through a mysterious and very complicated situation before coming to an ending I never expected to find. Nick lives a very complicated life, knowing what his future holds and needing to decide whether or not he wants to follow the "script" in his mind. The reader is swept along with Nick, forced to follow as he makes choices and mourns the life he was given.
The characters and the mood help the book stay away from the clichéd idea of "a weird thing happened to turn a family into the weird family that everyone in a small town avoids like they have the plague." It's such an overused idea that the author has to make the characters stand out and make readers feel like they're reading a book with a brand new idea.
Balog's previous books have had female narrators, but here she gives us a good confused and annoyed teenage guy voice with Nick. Nick is clearly bitter over his ability to see his future, to have pounding headaches when he goes off script, to have people look at him like he's a freak and call him "Crazy Cross." He's annoyed and in pain and pissed off, and then everything changes when Taryn shows up and tells him he's been Touched.
As interesting as Taryn is with how little she tells Nick about her past even though he somehow knows everything about her, she's the love interest that appears after the book starts who knows more than she lets on while it's up to Nick to both fall for her and learn her secrets. Of course, learning those secrets leads to something more dangerous, could lead to their deaths, but he has to learn them.
The story was interesting enough, the book is all about Nick dealing with being Touched, dealing with knowing what will happen and the consequences of not following through. The idea of fate is one often confronted in young adult novels, whether we can change it or whether we're stuck following a script that's already written for us. The unexpected ending was very much a shock, but I'm curious as to what readers will think of it, whether they'll find it too easy or whether it'll take them by surprise.
(I received and e-galley to review from Random House through NetGalley.)