The cover of Touched is what enticed me to take this book home from the bookstore. The book has a very original storyline that has been somewhat done but not in the exact way Cyn Balog does it. What I found interesting was the term ‘script’ and how it’s used for the lead character Nick Cross as he sees and hears what he is supposed to do in the future. It develops into a butterfly effect that Nick can see the outcome of, along with his mother who also has the gift. Which also allows a web of family drama to take the story into an angle I found surprising and entertaining.
I also want to add that there is also a presence of bullying that I think teens will identify with and feel it’s always a great thing to have characters that have been torn down a bit. Nick was an unpredictable read and someone who offers a sad look into what happens in schools. It’s not a major focal point put his nick name Crazy Cross is enough to make you sad for him yet proud because he can ignore it.
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Nick Cross always listens to the voice in his head. Because if he doesn't? Things can go really, really wrong. Like the day he decided to go off script and saved a girl from being run over . . . and let another one drown. Trying to change the future doesn't work.
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 in my mind isn’t exactly the main character. I see him as the missing puzzle piece amongst many who contribute to Cyn Balog’s story, which I will get into in a minute. Nick is so intense when we first meet him only because he has just steered off the script. The script is a timeline that speaks from his mind that he’s supposed to follow or else things change, and usually for the worst. He is tormented by the memory of the girl he didn’t save and her family. Then there is Taryn the girl he has never seen in his far future, a future with a wife that he has seen as definite as long as he stays to script. This is what I liked about Nick the most because he has somewhat of a dysfunctional family life and he seems to look forward to his future that is very different then his present. But he sacrifices that once he realizes that Taryn is someone who may be able to help his situation. You realize how his ability is more of a burden and something that is seen as a curse.
Taryn is dealing with her own family issues same as Nick and I think that she has a very powerful influence on the book. She displays a sense of duty to her grandmother and struggles with her own gift and has to try to figure for her at least if it’s good that she’s doing, or evil. If you take out the dramatics of good and evil the audience has someone that a teen could identify with, someone who feels the burden of living to family expectations. This goes for Nick as well and that’s why he and Taryn make such an interesting team. I love the way author Balog has their destiny intertwined. I was not expecting their story to go the way it did and was very pleased with the ending.
Which leads me to Nan, who is the most interesting character in the book and my favorite. Her story is amazing and her sense of humor offers the right touch when it comes to living with a daughter and grandson who can see the future. She was the special little surprise that makes it hard for any other character in the book to live up to. Cyn Balog wrote her beautifully and used her in a very crafty way that makes me smile. I can practically see her snoring in her chair as Nick walks into their living room.
I’m a huge fan of time travel and I was entertained by this weekend read because of the different angles it explores. To be able to see the path that you are supposed to follow and decide to go your own way is a challenge that everyone faces but I think Touched reveals that it’s not just the person who is on the path that has to make a sacrifice, it’s anyone who loves that person. Sometimes other people have to be willing to let go and encourage the person who needs a push in the right direction.
I personally feel that the ending of Touched is worth the purchase of Cyn Balog’s work. It’s remarkable how she was able to achieve this great ending and even with the sacrifice a sense of peace is still present for Nick. All I kept thinking was how deserving he was and all the people in his life that helped him get there.