by Rachel M. Wilson
Release Date: September 2nd 2014
A powerful story of a girl who is afraid to touch another person’s skin, until the boy auditioning for Hamlet opposite her Ophelia gives her a reason to overcome her fears.
Step on a crack, break your mother’s back. Touch another person’s skin, and Dad’s gone for good.
Caddie can’t stop thinking that if she keeps from touching another person’s skin, her parents might get back together... which is why she wears full-length gloves to school and covers every inch of her skin.
It seems harmless at first, but Caddie’s obsession soon threatens her ambitions as an actress. She desperately wants to play Ophelia in her school’s production of Hamlet. But that would mean touching Peter, who’s auditioning for the title role—and kissing him. Part of Caddie would love nothing more than to kiss Peter—but the other part isn't sure she's brave enough to let herself fall.
Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson, this debut novel from Rachel M. Wilson is a moving story of a talented girl who's fighting an increasingly severe anxiety disorder, and the friends and family who stand by her.
So I have to say that I told my mom, co-worker, husband about this book because I find that I have at times done Caddie’s magical reasoning. I remember when I was a little kid I had gotten it into my head that if I didn’t pray every night before falling asleep I would die. It sounds dramatic but I was actually terrified that it would happen. I grew out of it but there are certain things I still do. Like panic that if I don’t have my phone or kiss my kids goodbye that will be the time that something happens. Talking to all the people I mentioned above, we all do that sometimes. The thing that makes Caddie different is the extreme she takes it too. It’s not just that she thinks bad things will happen when someone touches her it’s her reaction when that rule (or game as she calls it) is broken. I felt like I wanted someone to see what she is going through and help her.
I thought the friendship between Caddie and Mandy is interesting because it’s about two friends who drifted apart and find their way back to each other. It’s not just Caddie who wants to be friends again but also Mandy. It was nice to see not only the main character trying to work it out. Mandy seemed scarred from losing the friendship and seemed nervous and hopeful about trying to revive it.
I like Peter and his relationship with caddie. I like how he likes her bit also gets frustrated and walks away. I like that he can be supportive but he doesn't have magical powers he can't fix her. Being with him doesn't fix her. Caddie is the only one that can fix Caddie.
I really enjoyed the plot and the writing style. It takes place in an art school and they are putting on a performance of Hamlet. So you get to have so many fun quirky characters that Caddie can almost go unnoticed. Almost. I liked how things were connected and that Ophelia is important in many ways and not just the fact that Caddie is playing a part. I just thought everything was interwoven nicely. It was always interesting to me read the characters and their dynamics and how they interacted with one another.
I would say definitely give the book a try if you are looking for an interesting contemporary. I don’t know much about anxiety and magical reasoning can work but I think Rachel does a great job portraying it to us. I felt invested in Caddie getting better as much as I felt invested in the side characters as well.
Like I said I wasn’t sure what I was going to think about the book and then I ended up being captivated by Caddie’s struggle. I really liked it and it’s a book I’m sure I will ponder long after.
She graduated from Northwestern University and holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Rachel grew up in Birmingham, AL, and she currently writes, acts, and teaches in Chicago, IL.