Close Enough to Touch: A Novel - Colleen Oakley

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...

An evocative, poignant, and heartrending exploration of the power and possibilities of the human heart.


Though strange, this was a sweet book with an ending I adored that kept me engaged.


The concept of a woman who is allergic to people was quite fascinating, and I was impressed by the amount of research the author must have done in order to gain an understanding of the topic. It felt well researched and the challenges seemed quite realistic. I wasn't quite as skeptical of everything as I thought I would be.


I expected that there would be more to learn from this book than there was. Jubilee adjusted surprisingly well to society, and where I thought there would be more conflict, quite a few things went well for her. The biggest conflict was indeed the romance which seemed like a bit of a lost opportunity.


Eric's son was probably my favourite character of the book--though a middle school aged boy, he was an absolute delight and I was amused by his interactions with various characters. I think there was a lot to be gained by seeing his relationships with the adults and how they interacted with him. I also loved Jubilee's friend and the way their acquaintance evolved.


The ending of this was superbly written. Unlike other romances, I was never quite sure exactly how it would end, but it did a lovely job of wrapping up previous aspects of the story and bringing them together.


I recommend this to those looking for a chick-flick read with a little more depth.


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.