There are a lot of things to admire about TOUCH, the first book in Accardo's Denazen books. Our main character, Deznee Cross is a sassy, quick-witted girl who takes no gruff and gives (almost) as good as she gets. Dez is brassy and just this side of reckless, just mature enough to make you believe (most of) her actions, but still with that hint of vulnerability that teenagers often have. Dez wants everything the world is offering, that's pretty much how you can sum up her character. She has her problems with it, but by in large she wants to experience everything life has to offer with very little worry about the future.
Kale, the catalyst for everything, by comparison was very inexperienced. He didn't understand some pretty common sense things and genuinely found interest in the ordinary, everyday things we take for granted (DVD's, pictures, music). Their juxtaposed ideas about life make for an intriguing and engaging way to understand the book's world.
Action is never in short supply either. Accardo gives a definite feeling of energy and urgency, though there comes a point when I started feel exhausted and wondered where Dez and Kale got their energy from. Every stumbling block they overcome is hiding an even bigger one which inevitably is hiding an even bigger one. Dez's judgement at times also seemed atypical for her. Not quite out of character or extraordinarily weird, but definitely worth pausing over and wondering if given a bit more time she would have come to a better solution. The tense pace of the plot also left me sometimes overwhelmed trying to keep up. During a scene between Dez and her father I swept right by it without really seeing it. It was only after I re-read it I realized how important the interaction was the central plot of the series.
I appreciated that Accardo kept the romance age-appropriate, especially given Dez's experience vs. Kale's inexperience. This never strays into the squick area or tries to emulate the bodice-ripper romances without the explicitness; the romance feels genuine, feels like a natural progression. There's a little competition for Dez's affection, but Accardo makes it pretty obvious how things are meant to end up.
In the end I enjoyed the novel and I'm looking forward to reading the next adventure Dez goes through, though I sincerely hope that the intensity of the novel dials down a bit. I'm not used to having to catch my mental breath at the end of a novel.
When a strange boy tumbles down a river embankment and lands at her feet, seventeen-year-old adrenaline junkie Deznee Cross snatches the opportunity to piss off her father by bringing the mysterious hottie with ice blue eyes home.
Except there’s something off with Kale. He wears her shoes in the shower, is overly fascinated with things like DVDs and vases, and acts like she’ll turn to dust if he touches her. It’s not until Dez’s father shows up, wielding a gun and knowing more about Kale than he should, that Dez realizes there’s more to this boy—and her father’s “law firm”—than she realized.
Kale has been a prisoner of Denazen Corporation—an organization devoted to collecting “special” kids known as Sixes and using them as weapons—his entire life. And, oh yeah, his touch? It kills. The two team up with a group of rogue Sixes hellbent on taking down Denazen before they’re caught and her father discovers the biggest secret of all. A secret Dez has spent her life keeping safe.
A secret Kale will kill to protect.