Step on a crack, break your mother's back,
Touch another person's skin, and Dad's gone for good . . .
Caddie has a history of magical thinking—of playing games in her head to cope with her surroundings—but it's never been this bad before.
When her parents split up, Don't touch becomes Caddie's mantra. Maybe if she keeps from touching another person's skin, Dad will come home. She knows it doesn't make sense, but her games have never been logical. Soon, despite Alabama's humidity, she's covering every inch of her skin and wearing evening gloves to school.
And that's where things get tricky. Even though Caddie's the new girl, it's hard to pass off her compulsions as artistic quirks. Friends notice things. Her drama class is all about interacting with her scene partners, especially Peter, who's auditioning for the role of Hamlet. Caddie desperately wants to play Ophelia, but if she does, she'll have to touch Peter . . . and kiss 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.
From rising star Rachel M. Wilson comes a powerful, moving debut novel of the friendship and love that are there for us, if only we'll let them in.
Caddie Finn has been playing a "game" with herself that involves not touching anyone not her mother, brother, friends, or a boy she likes. She believes that if she avoids touching others, good things will happen, like her father returning home after he abandoned their family. Caddie has enrolled at a new arts school, where the students welcome her with open arms, regarding her long protective gloves as merely a theater quirk. But theater kids can be touchy (in multiple senses), and soon Caddie is living as though her friends are an obstacle course to avoid, especially after she's cast as Ophelia in a production of Hamlet. In this absorbing debut, Wilson resists turning Caddie's story into a lesson about seeking help for mental illness, instead sensitively and vividly introducing a character whose obsessive-compulsive disorder is distinct to her personality, yet relatable. Readers will wince along with Caddie as she navigates perceived threats in her world, eventually gaining a sense of internal power and solace. An endnote details the author's struggle with OCD and offers mental health resources. Ages 14 up.