Don’t Touch

Don’t Touch

Don't Touch

by Rachel M. Wilson

Genre: YA Contemporary
Published: September 2, 2014
by HarperTeen




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.


Powerful and gripping, Don’t Touch was virtually a favorite of mine simply from the concept itself as it follows two things that I find fascinating: theatre and psychology. Luckily, the execution itself is just as well-done as the synopsis, and Rachel M. Wilson creates a story that both lingers and provokes thought.

Ever since her parents divorced, Caddie has been afraid of being touched or touching someone else; believing that if she does, something horrible will happen to her family.

Don’t touch protects me from pain. Like an overzealous bodyguard whose last client died shaking hands. There are so many things in the world that can make you hurt, and people – people do it best. If I can’t touch them, they can’t hurt me.

But when Caddie signs up for drama class, she realizes that if she wants to play the role of Ophelia, she’ll have to touch Peter, who is auditioning for Hamlet. Part of her would like nothing better than to touch him, but the other side of her just can’t ignore the consequences of what might happen if she does…

Caddie herself is a wonderful character that you can’t help but sympathize for. Her fear is illogical and nonsensical to us, and there are times when you will admittedly just want to kick her for not being able to see the obvious. But, mostly, you’ll feel sorry for how badly she’s been blinded by this fear; and you’ll find yourself rooting for her to overcome it step by step.

The supporting characters are impressively developed as well. From Caddie’s fabulous group of friends that take her for who she is, to her parents, to her younger brother – the development in them is not lacking one bit. They each have their own distinct personalities and backstories that make them incredible and intriguing in their own rights; and it just makes the story that much more vibrant and intriguing.

The romance is a big part of the story here, and, in my opinion, it absolutely delivered. The romance between Caddie and Peter is slow-burning, but once it hits, it doesn’t stop coming. The chemistry between the two is absolutely fantastic, and I found Peter to be a fabulous and supportive love interest that complimented Caddie perfectly.

Few authors in the YA genre have the guts to write about a topic as personal and as distinct as OCD, but I found that Rachel M. Wilson handled it absolutely wonderfully. You really get a hand’s on look at what it’s like for people who have to live with this condition on an everyday basis, and it really gets you thinking.

I cannot recommend this enough – especially to those who suffer from anxiety or OCD themselves. This really changes your outlook on what these individuals have to go through, and you’ll find Caddie’s journey both inspiring and thought-provoking.

People talk about stage fright, but life is what’s scary. In a play, you know where to stand, what to say, and the ending’s already been written. I’ve played crazy characters, emotional wrecks, but no one of them ever stopped breathing.


43 thoughts on “Don’t Touch

  1. I’m glad you enjoyed this book! 🙂 So far most of the reviews I’ve read they were disappointed. I only hope they don’t go with the quick fix for OCD. Books and movies always try to do that with psychological issues. Nice review! 🙂

  2. I’m glad you really liked it! I haven’t heard of this book at all, and I’ve never read or heard of anything like it. But yeah. AND AS USUAL AWESOME REVIEW ZOE (so copying you). I’m putting this on my TBR, then checking to see if the library has it, muhahaha.

  3. I’m so glad you loved this, Zoe! I have a friend who raves on and on about Don’t Touch so it seems to be quite the hit. I love the sound of the premise and definitely have to find some time to read it 😀 Slow burn romance? Sign me right up. I need a good romance. There’s been such a drought. Fabulous review, as always, Zoe!! <33

    1. I have a feeling you’d really like it Jess! 😀 It’s definitely an intriguing and unique read, and if you want a wonderful slow burn romance, this is definitely for you. Thank you! :blush:

  4. I ended up with a couple of copies of this book, for some strange reason. But with such good reviews I’ve been reading so far, i don’t mind it one bit. 🙂 I’m really looking forward to reading my copy.

  5. What a strange fear, to not want to touch anyone. I thought that perhaps it was a metaphor ‘don’t touch’ meaning, never let anyone close. That kind of thing. But wearing the gloves, I feel incredibly sorry for Caddie. I can’t imagine not being able to let someone hug you, or just a gentle touch on the arm. It would be a lonely existence that’s for sure. I love that the author had the strength to bring OCD into this one, we don’t see many genuine books about it.
    Brilliant review. I’m completely sold <3

    1. That was my initial reaction as well Kelly! Such a sad and unfortunate fear to have. Thank you! Looking forward to reading your thoughts if you end up giving it a try.

  6. This sounds really well done. I’m glad you enjoyed it so much. I do like books that deal with various aspects of psychology, because I find it quite interesting. I do have OCD or what you’d call OCD tendencies so I don’t know if I could read this or not…it might make me overthink things a bit too much. haha

    1. It is Lauren! 🙂 And hmm…if you have OCD, to be honest, I’m not really sure how you’d feel about reading this; but it is fabulous regardless.

  7. At first I was really interested in this one but after a lot of mixed reviews I decided this one wasn’t for me but Zoe you’ve got me reconsidering again. Ahh I don’t know! LOL Zoe but awesome review 🙂 if I see this one at the library I’ll pick it up 😉

    1. Both the cover and the concept itself are both fantastic, aren’t they? 😀 Looking forward to seeing your thoughts on it.

  8. When I first heard about this book, I couldn’t help thinking, “A girl who doesn’t want to be touched? That doesn’t sound like much of a plot – this book seems a little boring.” But your review corrected that misconception. I LOVE books that explore psychology, and you make it sound like Don’t Touch does an amazing job of doing just that. I’ll have to put this title back on my radar!

    1. That was what worried me too Emily. 🙂 But don’t worry – it may not seem like it has much of a plot because it’s purely character driven and the plot itself regards Caddie facing her fears. And if you like psychology like I do, definitely give this a try! Glad it’s back on your radar – if you do end up reading it I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 🙂

  9. AH! It was that good a read? Now I must read it! And it sucks, because I don’t have the time at the moment *pulls out hair in frustration*
    I’m glad you liked this book so much (which makes me much more certain that I want to read it as well, or still want to read it really, because the whole concept is awesome and I’ve thought so since I first heard about it on teatime!)
    Brilliant review Zoe!

  10. I totally get illogical fears, because I am so afraid of spiders it is unreal. Like, even money spiders. I used to pass out and have fits and everything. And I KNOW that I’m a gazillion times bigger, but I can’t help it. I’M CRAZY OKAY?

    Anyway, this sound so goooood AND I’m really in the mood for romances lately so yay. Well-developed ones though, that have slow-burn and good backgrounds and characters that exist outside of each other. Which this looks like it does have, so again I YAY.

    1. LOL…now I’m trying to picture you screaming whenever you see a spider – ha! 😉 And if you’re in the mood for slow burn, this is definitely something to try.

  11. Caddie was definitely a very sympathetic character! I agree when you say it was quite frustrating reading from her POV, because her fear seems so illogical, but you also sort of understand where she’s coming for and can’t help but root for her.

    And yes to the romance! Slow burn romances are the best, and obviously, with one member not being able to be touched, slow burn romance was definitely appropriate. Ahhh Peter. He was so geeky and awesome.

    1. Bingo Nara! I completely agree. 😀 There are times when you just want to shake her and make her wake up from how illogical she’s being, but there are other times when you can’t help but see why she feels the way she does. 🙂

      Peter + Caddie = :heart:

  12. Both psychology and theater are interesting to me, so I love that someone got an idea how to mix the two and what’s most to make it so good. But I’m also happy about the romance here. I was a bit afraid it would get swallowed in this story but I’m so happy it didn’t happen. I’ll have to read this one asap. Amazing review, Zoe 🙂

    1. If you’re into those two things like I am, this is definitely worth a try Tanja! 😀 And I completely see where you’re coming from about the romance (I was a bit nervous of that too!), but it really doesn’t take over the story at all. Thank you!

  13. I absolutely couldn’t agree with you more. I was so impressed with Rachel M. Wilson’s ability to put Caddie’s struggle into words, and to do it so well while still making the story interesting and relatable. I can’t find the words to describe my own feelings of anxiety, and Rachel was able to not only find them, but make the eloquent and heartwrenching. I seriously had to put the book down and take a moment because I could so clearly relate to the struggles, and I felt like someone really and truly understood. It was powerful, and this book should NOT be missed. Wonderful review!

    1. I remember reading your review on Goodreads Shannon and being absolutely awe-inspired by how personal you made your review. I am so glad to hear you adored it too and found that it realistically displayed what it feels like to live with anxiety. Thank you!

  14. Wow, this sounds amazing, I’m definitely going to have to grab a copy now 😀 I’m very curious about the main character and the whole ‘No Touch’ rule. I really want to know more now!! I’m just a little worried that the story isn’t going to have much else in it than what you’ve spoken about.. But the romance sounds very cute and very ‘ship-able’ lol. Great review!!

    1. I had the same worry Gina – that it wouldn’t have much filler, you know? But it absolutely does. Between the coming-of-age (ish) story inbetween, there’s a lot of other subplots to keep you occupied as well, so don’t fret! 😉 And yes…the romance is definitely ship-able! 😉 Thank you!

    1. I completely see where you’re coming from Tricia. I’ve also seen mixed reviews (a tad more on the positive side for me at least), but it is absolutely worth the read in my opinion. Thank you!

  15. I find books that deal with theater and psychology fascinating too. I’m glad that Rachel Wilson was able to deliver well. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about OCD before so that should be interesting. And I’m sure Caddie would have her frustrating moments, but I guess she can’t really be fully faulted for it. Great review, Zoe.

    1. Yeah! Glad you find those topics interesting too – ha! 😀 There definitely aren’t many books about OCD – especially in the YA genre – which is why I really admired that here. Thank you!

  16. *fist pump* I’ve got this one up next to read so I am more relieved that I should be that it turned out to be such a great book for you! ;D (I’ve had enough of those mixed-feelings books, honestly.) I really admire authors who are able to make you actually think with their works — I’ve always thought that it must be something quite difficult to do, for some reason.

    Caddie kind of reminds me of Matthew from Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern. Both of them are afraid of touching others because they believe, in some sick, twisted way, that they’ll cause something horrible to happen to that person. And since I loved Say What You Will, I think I’ll be able to sympathize with Caddie a lot, too. Hearing about how awesome Caddie’s friends are, despite being secondary characters, makes me really excited as well. xD

    The romance between Caddie and Peter is slow-burning, but once it hits, it doesn’t stop coming.” — I have to admit that I pride myself on being a bit of a romance cynic, but if the romance is good, I get hopeless for it. *dies* So yup, definitely looking forward to watching the romance between Peter and Caddie start!

    1. I am definitely looking forward to seeing what you think about this Megan – it’s definitely unique and thought-provoking. And, to be honest, I actually connected to Caddie much more than I did to Matthew for whatever reason. Whether it was simply better characterization or the fact that we have the same hobby, I’m not sure. I’m interested in seeing what you think of her though!

      And I have a feeling you’ll love this romance Megan! 😉

  17. Brilliant review. I have been really curious about this book, mainly because the premise is so interesting. I love a slow-burning romance, it’s my favourite kind. I’m also interested in the psychology aspect of Caddie’s story as well.

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