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. . . .
Nick has been cursed by being able to see his future. Once he makes a decision, his mind will flash through a host of images of his future. If he sticks to that decision and follows through with what his mind is telling him to do, he will stick to that particular future. If he strays from it, then he will see a whole new batch of "pictures" and a completely different future. When Nick goes off his current course to save a strange girl, his future starts to spiral. Taryn is the girl he saves and the two start a friendship that neither one saw coming. Taryn seems to know an awful lot about Nick's curse though and he's not sure whether or not he can trust her. But, he just cannot stay away from her, and she cannot stay away from him. I loved Nick and Taryn's relationship. I really liked the way they were able to balance each other out in a way. They truly do need each other. I enjoyed how Nick matured a bit once he met Taryn, and how he was able to finally learn why he is cursed and how to stop it, if he can.
The secondary characters are important to the story as well. They aren't just thrown in there for good measure. I enjoyed reading about them and was even rooting for them in the end, yes even the "cruel" ones who made fun of Nick for the way he was. I thought Ms. Balog did a fantastic job of tying all of the characters' stories together while keeping me interested in each individual story.
I thought the characters were well written and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about them. I haven't read any other of Cyn Balog's books, but I will definitely be putting them on my 'to read' list. Her style is unique and impossible to put down.
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.