Maurer, Paul. Touched. New Libri Press, 2013.
Jimmy hates school and can't wait until he graduates in three years. But when Renee shows up, he feels like he has finally found a friend. Renee's friendship comes at a cost, though; as she spirals deeper into depression, Jimmy finds himself wondering how to help her and if it's worth it to care about another person at all.
It took me a very long time to finish this book. I could blame it on graduation, my wedding, and our cross-country move, but the fact is I couldn't get into this book at all. Not only is there not really a plot (we figure out Renee's "secret power" early on and nothing more comes of it), but the writing is filled with little gems such as the following:
- "Today I pulled a disappearing act like a cross-dressing Anne Frank and avoided everything" (63).
- "We were all like balloons from the state fair tied to the end of wooden sticks slowly losing air and hanging limp" (107).
- "But I've met girls like her before. Powerful in a pack but alone they fade faster than perfume from the Dollar Store" (118).
- "The drifting that left her feeling as rudderless as a broken rowboat in a scuz-filled pond" (141).
- "I wanted to talk about as much as I wanted old Dr.Brown to grab my junk and tell me to cough" (144).
- "She was paddling in Sh[*]t Creek with only a pair of chopsticks" (151).
- "I never liked to write before.I thought it was pointless. Now the more I do, the more I want to. It's like you opened a faucet in my head and my sinuses are draining all over the paper." The teacher called this "Imagery at its best" (159).
- "She literally bleeds her heart onto the paper drop by drop" (159).
- "He made my crap seem smaller than a cat turd in a kitty litter box" (162).
- "The sky was filled with corkscrew clouds that mixed white and grey like an ice cream cone from Dairy Queen" (200).
I had difficulty sympathizing with the main characters. I felt like I didn't get to know them or any of the secondary characters. And most of them had few, if any, redeeming qualities. Also, no plot. Books must have a plot. And the climax scene was not very climactic. I barely reacted to it at all, and I've been known to go through a box of tissues in a single chapter (Dobbie's death, anyone?). Sorry folks, but this one is not worth your time. Find another book to read instead.
Recommended for: This book is written for young adults, but I doubt it will appeal to them.
Red Flags: Drinking, sex, language, violence - you name it, it's in this book. Including several homophobic comments about people acting like "lezzies" or "lesbos." Boys are called "pussies" for being afraid to do things.
Overall Rating: 1/5 stars. The author's bio states that he is a chiropractor, so I wanted to cut him some slack for lack of training in writing, but this book was just too much.
I received a complimentary copy of this novel through Goodreads' First Reads program for the purposes of review.