Monday, December 15, 2014

Review: Don't Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

From Goodreads: 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.

My Rating: 2.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Since I enjoy reading books that deal with mental issues, Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson was a book that I was looking forward to reading because its main character, Caddie, has obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Unfortunately, it took me a lot longer to finish Don’t Touch than I expected due to my difficulty in connecting with Caddie. I suspect part of the reason why is because of how much she kept talking about her similarity to Ophelia – something I honestly couldn’t care about.

I wasn’t a fan of the romance either. Considering that Caddie was always acting weirdly and/oe freaking out around Peter, I didn’t find it very believable that he would be attracted to her. I also find it very surprising that people took so long to notice Caddie’s aversion to touch, and just accepted her wearing gloves and constantly being covered at all times as a quirky habit.

What I did like, for the most part, was the depiction of OCD in Don’t Touch. For example, Caddie is quite aware that the thoughts and deals that she makes with herself are illogical, yet she still can’t help engaging in the compulsions that she has. I also liked that Wilson addresses the fact that OCD often runs in families and that its symptoms can wax and wane.

However, I wasn’t too happy with Wilson’s portrayal of the way that Caddie’s OCD is treated. The book makes it seem like OCD is easily cured by a few conversations with a therapist and making the choice to resist one's compulsions (as witnessed by Caddie’s miraculous ability to suddenly make out with Peter); whereas in real life, OCD is typically treated with a combination of medication and cognitive behavioural therapy. As well, those who suffer from this mental disorder are never completely cured as stress often re-triggers the obsessions and compulsions. 

Don’t Touch was released in September 2014 by HarperTeen. 

Comments About the Cover: I like the monochromatic look and its simplicity.  

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (HarperCollins) for free via Edelweiss. 


  1. It seems like the treatment part of the story is rushed. I'm glad that more books are coming out about mental disorders, however, I wonder if the books are researched enough and have the correct information especially for readers who don't know much about mental disorders.

  2. I typically steer pretty clear of issues books, I've learned they're just not for me Z, so I think I'm going to pass on this one. I'm glad the overall depiction of OCD worked well for you even if the treatment of it was a bit too simplified!

  3. When I first saw this one I really wanted to read it but now I'm not so sure, the romance and easy-cure for OCD sound pretty frustrating, although it sounds like the actual disorder is depicted well. Great review!

  4. Darn, I was looking forward to this one so it's a shame to hear it didn't work for you. I'm glad that the OCD was depicted quite well (you know it's a pet peeve of mine when psychological disorders aren't portrayed accurately!) but the treatment side of things really sounds like it could have used some more research. Plus, if you can't connect with the characters, then you're not going to want to keep reading, regardless :(


I love comments and will reply back via either email or stopping by your blog. Please note that this is an award-free zone.