Second Look: TOUCHED by Cyn Balog

The Story: Nick has been hearing the “script” in his head for as long as he can remember. As long as he follows a script he hears in his head (“turn left, go down the hallway, talk to the girl in pink…” and so on) everything works out the way it’s supposed to. But if he goes off script, even a little bit, VERY bad things can happen. It’s not just the debilitating headaches he suffers from as his brain rewrites the script, but how his actions affect the future. Nick’s life changes when he meets Taryn, whose touch silences the script in Nick’s head. Not only can Taryn give Nick the peace his mind desperately craves, but she also knows more about his curse than he realizes.

The Low Down: As any of our regular followers may have guessed, the paranormal/supernatural genre is so not my thing. I’m more of a realistic fiction and disaster/post-apocalyptic/dystopian fiction kind of girl. So when I attempted to read this, I figured I was going to have a hard time getting into it. OMG I was SO WRONG.

Touched is a very unique take on the supernatural. Nick has the ability to see the future, which truly is a curse, not a blessing.  Without giving anything away (because you know I don’t do that… no spoilers here, folks), the cause of Nick’s ability is revealed as the book progresses and is intricately weaved with other elements of the story. Balog’s story is original with lots of twists and turns that I didn’t see coming and the ending completely blew my mind.

The only issue I had with Touched was the first chapter or so. The beginning is a little difficult to adjust to as the reader tries to separate the script running through Nick’s head versus Nick’s actual thoughts. The script is in italics (which took me a couple pages to figure out), but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy going. Also, the script isn’t as heavily present in the latter half of the book, so readers do understand the text to be Nick’s thoughts as he tries to navigate what’s real and what’s all in his head.

All in all, I enjoyed reading Touched. It is very different from any other supernatural story I have ever read, and I liked it very much. It held my attention and kept me turning pages (or, well, scrolling down since I read an e-galley from NetGalley). Taryn was a likeable and strong female lead, which is somewhat unusual in contemporary popular paranormal/supernatural romances (see: Bella Swan). While not necessarily a “romance” per se, Nick and Taryn have a chemistry that makes them feel compatible, but not sickeningly so (see: well… Bella Swan).

The Bottom Line: Touched is an intriguing supernatural story with an original premise. It’s a fairly clean read so younger teen audiences would enjoy it as well. While it takes a chapter or two to get used to the type of writing style used for the book, Balog’s story flows and compels readers to see what comes next and her character relationships are natural, not forced. Touched is not an action or suspense novel by any means, but has many surprise twists throughout. Readers who have a hard time staying stimulated may enjoy the creative turns the story takes. 



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