Author: Cyn Balog
Source: ARC provided by the author
Publication Date: August 14th 2012
I hereby award this book 5 wings!
I first saw TOUCHED when I was looking for something completely different. I saw the cover and I fell in lust. So I looked it up on Goodreads for the blurb. In that instant, I was hooked. I knew it was something I would absolutely NEED to read.
A short while later, I told Cyn via a social network site that I would have given my left arm for an ARC (and being left-handed, that constitutes for a lot) - if I remember my words rightly, I said "...it got under my skin like an itch that I just can't scratch"
I was lucky in that Cyn was kind enough to send me a signed copy. So two weeks later, it lands on my doorstep and I am screaming with delight, running round the living room and whooping with joy!
I had other things on my list to read though and could not fit it in right away. I probably had it for about a month or two before I finally got around to it. Oh my god, it was worth every second of the wait!!
I picked it up and from the first page, all I could do was smile. In fact, my first Goodreads status update said "So far, this book elicits a smile from me on every page. I knew it would be good when I read the blurb, little did I know just how good!"
I was so hooked that I refused to put it down, even at silly times in the morning.
Unfortunately, I caught a bug and for the last week I have been unable to concentrate more than reading a few pages at a time. So even though I would have normally devoured it in just a day or so, it took me entirely too long to finish. But I was determined to finish and now I have, so let me tell you what I thought....
TOUCHED is the story of Nick Cross - a teenage boy who can see into the future. Not only that, but the voice in his head - or as he refers to it, the "You Wills" - tells him what he will do from one moment to the next. He is to stick to the "Script" because if he should deviate from it, bad things can happen.
We see evidence of this the day Nick decides to go "off script" and save a girl from being run over, only to lose the life of another girl when she drowns.
Emma - the girl who drowned, should have been the one he saved that day. But Nick could see that another girl was going to get run over and was stuck in indecision - he had only a split second to make his choice - and what he chose may well haunt him for the rest of his life.
When he realises what he's done, he tries to save Emma, but by then it's too late. She's dead. Nothing and no-one can bring her back. It's a harsh reality, but one that Nick must face - he could have saved Emma, but then the other girl would have been run over. Neither was a pretty choice and he would have had to live with the consequences of whichever choice he made.
But Emma's brother Bryce is angry. He knows that Nick, a lifeguard, should have been on duty on the beach at the time of Emma's death. Instead, the boy in charge was hungover and asleep. So Bryce wants Nick to pay for his actions, or lack thereof, that day.
It's when Nick is feeling low that Taryn appears. The girl with the beautiful platinum mane of hair. The girl he saved that day.
When Taryn is near, everything is quiet, the "You Wills" are pushed to the back of his head. This beautiful, mysterious girl may just be the tonic he needed. When he's with her, he gets the peace he so craves.
But when Nick is alone, the "cycling" begins. The rush of "You Wills" that he should have been hearing threaten to overcome him.
It's with Taryn that Nick discovers the Book of Touch. It's a book of spells known as "Touches". People are willing to pay a handsome sum to be "blessed" with a Touch. But what they do not know is that they are not necessarily a blessing. All too often, they can be more of a curse. They can destroy what you have and what you are until you are left with nothing.
Pretty soon the path Nick was on becomes nothing but a memory of what could have been, the future he could have had if he had listened to the "You Wills" and lived his life according to the "Script"....
Life is no surprise for Nick. He knows what's coming minutes, days, or even longer before they are going to happen. Even so, there is nothing that could prepare Nick for what is about to happen. He's gone off "Script" so many times, not listened to the "You Wills" - that it's changed what the future would become - he is no longer sure of the outcome of anything - he doesn't know about the choice he will have to make or the consequences of such actions.
Such a bittersweet ending I did not expect. I will admit quite freely that the tears were racing each other down my cheeks as I reached the end.
I must admit, I have not read anything by Cyn Balog to date. But if this book is anything to go by, I will be picking up all the other books that she has written. I love her style. I can only imagine what it must have taken to write this book. Though the plot is easy to follow and the reader is never lost, it must have taken a lot on Cyn's part to make it that way. I mean how does she make something so complicated look so easy?
I am so glad that I came across this book and so utterly happy that I got an early copy. I will honestly treasure it for the rest of my life. So thank you Cyn. Thank you for sending me the ARC. Thank you for creating such a beautiful story and such unique characters. They truly are some of my favourites.
If you are looking for something different to read, the likes of which I can honestly say are not out there on the market - then you must go and buy a copy of TOUCHED. I know I will purchase a copy as soon as it is available because it is simply one of those "must have" books!