Touch is a 2015 novel by Claire North. The first person narrator is Kepler, a Ghost who exists by jumping from one human host to another. When Kepler's host is assassinated by a killer who knows about the ghosts, they embark on a mission to uncover who is behind the killer, and find themselves caught up in a strange conspiracy.
Touch provides examples of:
- Anachronic Order: The story jumps around throughout the timeline as it builds up our understanding of the main character and their history.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Ghosts have their own version of morality, in which stealing someone's body for a while is not a problem.
- Body Snatcher: Unusually, the first-person narrator is a body snatcher, a much more sympathetic portrayal than usual.
- Body Surf: The basic premise of the story. Kepler jumps from body to body while trying to solve the mystery of the conspiracy pursuing them.
- Covert Group: Aquarius- it's only one of several devoted to trying to kill ghosts.
- Creepy Child: Galileo in the body of a small Russian noble girl.
- Death-Activated Superpower: Kepler becomes a ghost when their first body is murdered and they accidentally jump into the body of their own murderer.
- Death Seeker: Janus keeps possessing bodies that are dying but hasn't been able to get up the courage to actually die with them yet.
- Grey-and-Grey Morality: The Ghosts vs Aquarius- the ghosts have no choice but to use humans as hosts in order to survive, and some aren't bad people, but it's pretty understandable why some humans want to eliminate them. Becomes less grey at the end when Galileo emerges as the Big Bad.
- Love Redeems: Janus falling in love with a human woman is what leads to them giving up their hedonistic bodysnatching and learning to empathize with humans.
- MayflyDecember Romance: Any romance between a human and a ghost, which is why they rarely last.
- Mole in Charge: Galileo has managed to get into position as the head of Aquarius and is feeding them false information.
- Non-Human Non-Binary: Technically all of the ghosts tend to identify as the gender of their current host, but some have a stronger identification with one gender or another. Kepler seems to be entirely unconcerned with their gender and doesn't even remember what gender their original human body was.
- Out-of-Character Alert: Kepler was once caught when someone spoke to them in French and they responded- not knowing the host didn't speak French.
- Trust Password: Aquarius has lots of them, understandable for an organization specifically created to fight body snatchers.
- Willing Channeler: Kepler prefers to get all of their hosts voluntarily, offering them money or help in exchange for the use of their body for a few months. Some hosts, like Will, voluntarily provide a temporary vessel whenever needed, and even maintain friendships with ghosts.