Close Enough to Touch
By: Colleen Oakley
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA
One time a boy kissed me and I almost died…
And so begins the story of Jubilee Jenkins, a young woman with a rare and debilitating medical condition: she’s allergic to other humans. After a humiliating near-death experience in high school, Jubilee has become a recluse, living the past nine years in the confines of the small town New Jersey house her unaffectionate mother left to her when she ran off with a Long Island businessman. But now, her mother is dead, and without her financial support, Jubilee is forced to leave home and face the world—and the people in it—that she’s been hiding from.
One of those people is Eric Keegan, a man who just moved into town for work. With a daughter from his failed marriage who is no longer speaking to him, and a brilliant, if psychologically troubled, adopted son, Eric’s struggling to figure out how his life got so off-course, and how to be the dad—and man—he wants so desperately to be. Then, one day, he meets a mysterious woman named Jubilee, with a unique condition…
Close Enough to Touch is an evocative, poignant, and heartrending exploration of the power and possibilities of the human heart.
The premise of this novel fascinated me so much that I requested an ARC to read. This book will be available on 14 February 2017.
Oh, man, where to begin with this novel? While another blurb for this book pegged it as a unique love story–and it is–and the main character is faced with a very problematic medical condition–which is explored greatly throughut this novel–this book very much tackles a lot of issues that are very relatable: of interacting with other people and the risks that come along with relationships (romantic or otherwise), of being an adult, of parenthood, difficult children and teenagers, of messing up and making up for mistakes, of parents and their children. Both Jubilee and Eric have their own set of problems that they need to tackle and developments that they need to come to terms with; neither are perfect, they have their walls and their flaws (Eric especially, oh man; bless his soul for trying, but talk about the timing or some of the inappropriateness that ensues).
And yet the development of their relationship–or lack thereof, it seems; the connection is there but due to a number of challenges it often felt like it never really started, as Jubilee later reflects–is the stuff of movies. There’s the connection, of course, but then there’s the little moments and misunderstandings and almost-moments that really makes it quite…cinematic, for lack of a better explanation. For a while there I actually thought things weren’t going to turn out as I thought it would, which left me a bit bummed, but suffice to say I was quite pleased with the ending.
Oh, and did I mention that there’s a lot of reading involved? Jubilee being a voracious reader and Eric visiting the library for reasons you’d have to read the book to find out why 😛
Close Enough to Touch overall had an interesting premise–and certainly an interesting allergy to throw things for our couple in question into quite a tailspin–and that tackled with a ton of issues that I wasn’t expecting. The characters were interesting in their own right and together I was just rooting for them to pull through and end up together. Definitely a book to check out this Valentine’s Day! 🙂