Nick's decision to stay from the script and Emma's subsequent drowning played too strong a role in his inner torment. Had it been presented in a way that was more sympathetic, I could have related to his struggle to deal with his guilt over her death. Instead, Nick's constant doubt and regret over his decision to save Taryn, paired with his acceptance that Taryn was worth the feelings of guilt, was repeated over and over to the point of overstatement. I found myself skimming entire paragraphs of Nick agonizing over Emma's passing, while simultaneously rejoicing for now having Taryn in his life; it became tiresome. In fact, Nick became tiresome as his inner angst-filled narrative was much more reminiscent of a young teenage girl then a seventeen-year-old guy. Had I been better able to relate to Nick, I might have been able to sympathize with his inner turmoil. But Nick was too much in his own head, forcing his narrative to keep me at arms length, which prevented me from truly understanding his particular set of problems.
With the way in which Nick's relationship with Taryn developed in Touched, I also had a hard time understanding why Taryn was so attracted to Nick. At one point Nick even comments on how mean he is to her, constantly pushing her away and physically distancing himself from her, yet she remained adamant about being in his life. I understood that his attraction was due to seeing a future where they fell in love, but where did her attraction for him come from? Guilt? And even though I understood where Nick's feelings came from, it didn't make it any easier to believe in them. Without being able to see their relationship develop, I wasn't able to feel a connection between them, so I couldn't understand why Nick felt such anxiety whenever they were separated.
The plot was all over the place and didn't seem to follow any kind of structure. It felt jerky and unplanned, with Nick's focus consumed with one particular aspect before he suddenly remembered something else and his focus on that aspect was abandoned until it was convenient to bring it up again. It made it so that while I was reading, even though I felt like so much had happened, the plot was no further ahead then when I had started Touched. Plot twists were introduced to create suspense, but they only accomplished to further perpetuate Nick's whining about life being unfair. With the ending I found myself ready to toss Touched aside. I can't get into details without spoilers, so I'll only say that it was too convenient.
With a potential-filled beginning, I found Touched failed to deliver. A jerky plot and a detached narrator made it a struggle to understand the characters' motives and to sympathize with their situation, and an overly convenient ending made all of their effort seem wasted.