Young Adult - Coming of Age
459 Pages
Reviewed on 06/02/2022
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Author Biography

Rebecca Miller is a twenty-time award-winning author known for her sweeping debut novel Touch: a story about a fragile young relationship between two teens that boldly unveils a critical issue in our society while also reminding us of the goodness that still remains in the world. Rebecca began her journey with these characters as a teen herself with a broad interest in psychology. She began penning their story later in life when their voices became too loud to keep quiet. She is a true believer that everything happens for a reason and has used that mantra to get through life. She lives on a farm in rural Rhode Island with her husband, two children, and an abundance of animals. She is also a Realtor® and a professional photographer.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Stacie Haas for Readers' Favorite

Touch by Rebecca Miller is the story of two troubled teens, Megan and Shawn, whose lives intersect in a small town and are changed forever. Megan and her brothers are starting over in a new town, a fresh start their father says, after the tragic death of their mother four years earlier. Shawn is a troubled teen—everyone in town knows it—but none could fathom the actual circumstances of his life. Megan finds herself immediately drawn to Shawn and he to her, but it’s a pull that threatens both of their lives. They find moments of peace at a hidden quarry, but beyond that safe place, there is nowhere for them to hide from reality—and when it comes for all of them, no one is prepared for what happens next.

Touch by Rebecca Miller is utterly breathtaking. To say it is a page-turner is not quite right, and yet it definitely is that. It’s also much more. It’s an absorbing and emotional journey into the lives and hearts of two young teens who must reckon with the ugly side of life that no one ever wants to think about and explores what transpires when there’s no choice but to face it. In the end, it is a beautiful story that shows how love absolutely demands the pursuit of joy, no matter the cost. Weaving through the story is a theme of beauty through Megan’s rekindled artistic talent and the characteristics of a hummingbird, which are intimately connected, and brought forth through the book’s cover image and story. Never have I read a book and felt the connection between cover art and story in such a profound way. A note to readers: this story deals with trauma and sexual abuse so, while this is a book for young adults, it should only be read by those able to deal with mature themes, as noted by the author herself. This was a book I’ll not soon forget. Touch is an amazing work of literary fiction at its finest.

Amy Powers

Touch by Rebecca Miller is a dramatic coming-of-age tale that is perfect for fans of modern young adult novels. It's been years since her mother's sudden death, but Megan still feels lost without the closest friend she ever had. Then her father uproots what is left of their crumbling family and moves them to a small town in Missouri, forcing Megan to practically start her life all over again. When Megan crosses paths with Shawn, her motivation for drawing begins to blossom once again, and she knows there must be a reason that they've met. Megan slowly begins to get Shawn to open up to her, but she is certain that he is hiding something. Though others are telling her to leave him alone, Megan knows that Shawn needs her help with something, and she is determined not to give up on him.

Avid readers are familiar with that overwhelming feeling of loss that occurs when finishing a good book; you loved it so much that you don't know what to do with yourself now that it is over. That is exactly my experience with Touch. Rebecca Miller has gathered together a cast of unforgettable characters and constructed one of the most powerful and chilling stories I have ever read. With shocking and disturbing revelations, I couldn't read without crying but also found it impossible to put down. With beautifully descriptive writing, emotions that jumped off the pages, and events that seem too real to be fictional, I felt as if I were immersed in Megan's world, and I frequently found myself turning a page and expecting to see the drawings that Megan had developed. If there is more to read from this author, I want to be first in line.

Stephanie Chapman

Rebecca Miller’s Touch shows the world through the eyes of Megan Brennar. Megan still hasn’t recovered from the loss of her mother and fights against her move across the country to Jessup, Missouri. Megan is starting school mid-year, and her first day is a disaster. That Friday, Damien approaches her at lunch and offers to show her around. Before she can respond, her brother, Bobby, walks by and grabs her arm. The following week, she sees Shawn sitting at the table staring off like he wasn’t there. The entire week goes by, and he never speaks. On Friday, she approaches Shawn and tries to talk to him. Bobby comes up and sits down with her as well. Then Damien appears, accusing Shawn of being a thief. Bobby and Damien get into a fight. Saturday morning, Josh, her brother, tells her somebody is walking up their driveway. Megan looks out and sees Shawn. What is he doing at her house?

Miller created a story that captivated me. Connecting with Megan is like second nature to me. I understood her emotional turmoil from the loss of her mother and her father’s dismissive behavior. Megan’s interest in Shawn develops from seeing him reacting as she does. She feels he is a kindred spirit and invests herself into getting him to open up to her. Bobby is the brother who speaks with his fists, whereas Josh is analytical. I could not pull myself away from reading this book. As each revelation unfolded, I felt tormented by Shawn’s behavior. I held hopes he would open up to Megan. The end of the story came too quickly for me. The realistic depiction of Shawn’s torturous home life is so tragic that I was in tears. Touch would be a brilliant book for readers who can handle topics of human trafficking and death. I think this would be an excellent book for support groups who help victims of abuse as well.

Rachel Inbar

Touch by Rebecca Miller begins by telling Megan’s story. She has experienced a tragic loss that caused a major rift in her family. As 15-year-old Megan tries to encourage herself and draw her former self out of the remaining wreckage, she faces a new challenge - her family is suddenly moving far away, out of the big city into a little town. Megan’s brother, Bobby, is abrasive, short-tempered, and often violent, whereas her brother Josh is protective and trustworthy. Even before they reach their new home, they encounter Shawn, another teen, who seems detached. His face shows little expression, he rarely makes eye contact, and his behavior is erratic. Megan finds herself drawn to him, but every step forward takes her several steps back and she’s unable to predict how he will respond. Wanting to learn more about him, she comes across things she knows are warning signs but, not wanting to betray his trust, she holds off on telling anyone…until she knows she has no choice.

Touch is a beautifully written story, with well-developed, complicated, and realistic characters. I found myself looking forward to the next time I would be able to read it and completed the book in just a few days. Dealing with difficult subject matter, Rebecca Miller was able to portray the complexity of emotions caused by a situation - embarrassment, guilt, and fear, as well as the need to protect the abusers. She also respects the gravity of the situation as no one just gets over abuse and walks away from it unscathed. There are scars, both physical and emotional, that need to heal slowly over time, with a lot of professional help. The book leaves you wondering if there might be something you’ve chosen not to see; somewhere you could help someone out of a terrible situation.

Rabia Tanveer

Touch by Rebecca Miller is a young adult coming of age story of two teenagers struggling to find an anchor in their different lives. Megan’s life was shattered when her mother passed away suddenly. Things changed drastically after her death. Megan’s passion for art was lost, and to add insult to injury, her father packed up their lives and moved to a small town called Jessup, Missouri. While her father and two brothers were okay with the decision, Megan was unhappy. However, things changed when Megan met Shawn, a recluse and someone of very few words. Megan itched to draw again for the first time since her mother passed away. Shawn wasn’t looking for friendship. His secret lay heavy in his heart, and he guarded it with his life. But Megan made him want to be brave. As these two teenagers navigate their hardships, they lean on each other as things unravel right before their eyes.

The opening of Touch by Rebecca Miller got my attention, and from there onward, the author made sure I didn’t stop reading anytime soon. Megan’s character was so relatable. She was struggling but was trying her best to cope with her current predicament. I often forgot she was a teenager, although the author gave funny little anecdotes to remind readers Megan is a teenager after all. Shawn’s character was a little tense and difficult to understand at first, but as the story progressed, he became clearer for me. The pace was fast enough without being overwhelming, and the story progressed steadily. I loved the character arcs for the protagonists and how the author gave every single opportunity to them to develop properly. It was a beautiful tale of letting go, accepting, and moving on.