Jayme Bean
Untouched

Untouched

Journey into the heart of the rainforest

Dr. Julia Morrow and her graduate students, David and Marisol, embark on a research trip to explore a remote section of the Amazon rainforest. When their trails seem to change direction at will and they find themselves lost and without communication, the trio worry they may be in for more than just the latest scientific discovery. Banding together, they’re left deciding which is more important - finding out how to escape the unexpected horrors lurking within the rainforest or getting back home in one piece. The deeper they travel into the jungle, the more they realize that some places are meant to remain untouched.

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 What People Are Saying

The exciting adventure, terrifying threat, likeable leads, and sweet romance come along with fantastic bisexual representation...Shades of Crichton and Garland, with a hint of Jumanji on steroids, this is a deeply enjoyable book, and David is an anxious hero I'd follow anywhere.
I was absolutely hooked, burning through the pages as quickly as I could...a truly outstanding debut from an author that you need to keep your eyes on.
I was hooked by the narrative and gripped by the story from very early on, and sad when it came to an end. I highlighted much of the text and have found it too difficult to choose a few examples from the selection to share. There are witty dialogues, moving confessions, wonderful descriptions, scientific explanations, and awe-inspiring and scary passages as well.
...the book takes the reader on a journey of self discovery, adventure, mystery, a lesson in botany, and a sweet gay romance that will leave you all tingly.
If you're looking for a book you can't put down that not only is a great story, is scientifically accurate, and has a beautiful representation of LGBTQ+ characters, this is the book for you.

Inspiration

I first came up with the idea to write Untouched after a visit to the Peruvian Amazon. I took a trip to a remote section of the rainforest, specifically the edge of the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Conservation Reserve (a 100-million acre reserve). I traveled through an amazing ecotourism company called Amazonia Expeditions and have since used them again to travel back to their Amazon Research Center. Untouched takes place in this very reserve with the research center being the base of operations. Most of the content within the book is based off of personal experiences while trekking throughout the rainforest. The owner of the company, Paul Beaver, sat and spoke with me on the phone and answered all of my questions about the region, reserve, and jungle itself. I shout out Amazonia Expeditions every chance I get because they are the most ethical ecotourist company in South America. I hope that if you get a hint of wanderlust after reading Untouched, you'll check them out and maybe start an adventure of your own!

Want to see the photos from my trip which inspired certain scenes in Untouched? Read along with the visual gallery here!

Meet the Characters

Dr. Julia Morrow: 

  • Professor of Plant and Microbial Biology at the University of California, Berkeley
  • Runs a research operation out of the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Conservation Reserve, focusing on identifying new species of flora
  • Is bringing David and Marisol along on her annual graduate research trip to the Amazon

David: 

  • Working on the final credits toward his PhD in environment biology, policy, and management
  • Would rather be home reading a book than traveling into the rainforest

Marisol: 

  • Excited to join Dr. Morrow's research and delve further into her doctoral thesis for her PhD in plant biology
  • Over the moon about jumping head-first into an adventure far from home.

Ben: 

  • Dr. Morrow's research assistant
  • Last known location: continuing studies at one of the research campsites deep within the reserve





Character art by @_itscharly22 on Instagram

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David and Marisol

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Ben

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Want to listen to the soundtrack to Untouched?

Press play on the Spotify playlist and get a feel for the vibes from the characters and atmosphere!

Untouched Playlist
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