Thank you to the Indie Ink Awards for providing me with a copy of Untouched by author Jayme Bean in exchange for judging their neurodivergent, bisexual, and mental health categories for which this book was nominated.
I received the novel Untouched as a judge for the Indie Ink Awards. As far as the categories go I think that this book is a solid representation of bisexuality and mental health awareness. Neurodivergent is a tough category to represent because the definition of that word is pretty loose. If it means a chronic cognitive condition I suppose the character David checks that box but he isn’t what I would immediately think of for this category.
David and Marisol are PhD students on a research trip with their professor Dr Morrow, Julia, in the amazon rain forest. They are all plant researchers looking to catalogue new species for their own specific theses. Marisol, for example, is specializing in plant defense mechanisms like thorns and thistles. You better believe this will be important later.
They have dynamically opposing personalities and butt heads from the beginning. Marisol is boisterous and playful, in a somewhat mean spirited teasing way, the byproduct of growing up with brothers. David is shy and is hiding a fairly severe panic disorder.
Throughout the book they are forced into a dangerous situation isolated from the world that speeds up their bonding immensely. Jungles are already scary and dangerous places but they just stepped into one that the locals refer to as cursed. They will have to work together to get back to safety.
It becomes very clear that this part of the forest is not welcoming to humans. The team is attempting to find a student who has gone out of contact and is lost or maybe worse somewhere in the dense jungle. As the story gets into more horror novel territory it becomes incredibly tense and action packed. I found myself craving this book wanting to read more and find out how they could make their way back to safety.
As the characters become closer it is revealed that David is bisexual. He expresses why that is so difficult for him to be open about in all the ways bisexuals, myself included, have run into time and time again. Both the straight and LGBTQ communities place stereotypes on bisexuals that include increased promiscuity and a lack of loyalty. Not true! Bisexual is not synonymous with polyamorous or general sluttiness.
Untouched builds to a marvelously nail-biting climax before easing into a fairly happy ending. This novel is a page turner if I’ve ever read one. Author Bean has built this book with impeccable pacing that will keep any reader engaged and invested. The outcome of the plot and how it would affect the characters became very important to me.
I strongly recommend Untouched for lovers of nearly any genre. There is a little romance, solid friendships, a lot of action, a little horror, and much much more.
5/5 jungle vines 🍃🍃🍃🍃🍃
in order to keep me up to my ears in books consider using the following amazon affiliate link to purchase this product. it’s at no extra cost to you and would really help me out, thank you and happy reading!