REVIEW – CLOSE ENOUGH TO TOUCH by Colleen Oakley

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SYNOPSIS:

From the author of Before I Go comes an unconventional love story perfect for fans of the emotional novels of Jodi Picoult and Jojo Moyes.

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.

*****Dee’s Review*****

4 Delicate Stars****

(ARC provided by Netgalley)

A breathtaking story about a woman whose life has been deeply affected by a terrible allergy. Jubilee is allergic to humans. This story takes the reader through the life of a girl who’s terrified of being touched, after her first, and only kiss ever, nearly killed her…

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Jubilee was diagnosed with a very rare allergy to people when she was six years old. She can’t come in contact with human skin because she gets terrible allergic reactions and is at high risk to go into anaphylaxis shock. She grew up always being the odd kid in school, when she was about to graduate high school a boy kissed her and Jubilee ended up in the hospital. She recovered, but never stepped foot outside her house again. Her mother re-married and left, but Jubilee stayed behind. Nine years later Jubilee finds herself forced to look for a job in order to be able to support herself, after her mother’s financial help stops.

After much struggle, and fighting a great fear of leaving her house, Jubilee gets a job in the library and it’s there where she meets Eric. He is a forty-two-year-old handsome, divorced, father of two, who’s new in town and is struggling with his life as a single parent. One of Eric’s kids is a ten-year-old boy he adopted. His name is Aja whose father used to be Eric’s best friend. His friend died in a plane crash and now Eric is caring for the boy, but he has no clue how to deal with a grieving boy when he is still dealing with the loss himself.

Jubilee and Eric form a very special friendship, and they begin to help each other cope with the complex things of life. Then a beautiful romance starts to blossom but there are two small problems; one, Jubilee can’t be touched and all Eric wants is to kiss her. And two, he’s only in town for six months, then he is going back to his real home in New Hampshire.

I adored the way this story was written with such heart. I loved Eric’s and Aja’s characters, so real and easy to relate to. But my most favorite thing about this whole novel was Jubilee! I loved her courage even when she thought she had none, I loved her strength and total quirky personality. She is an unforgettable and inspiring character that will own the heart of whoever reads her story.

This is a must read! A truly triumphant story that will stay in my heart forever…

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