Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley
Published: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Gallery Books
Format: E-Arc via NetGalley
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.
Oh, where do I start?! This tale of Jubilee who has lived a shut-in life ever since she kissed a boy and almost died. You see she has a condition that leads to a severe allergic reaction to the human touch. Her mother has left her by herself in order to have a life herself and after years of not really communicating she finds out her mother has died and is now forced to go out into the world, get a job in order to keep her house and play her bills.
She soon gets a job at a library and meets up with an old friend from her past and slowly but surely readjusts to live on the outside. But she soon meets a man Eric who quickly makes her realize what she has been missing all this time…love. It starts off as a friendship but he is so nice and friendly you can't help but fall for him. Eric has issues himself, his daughter hasn’t spoken to him since the divorce and he recently adopted his best friend's child after their untimely death and that hasn’t been smooth sailing to say the least.
Eric and Jubilee make a great pair each able to help the other one with their problems but ultimately the timing is all wrong. This is the part that kind of killed me. I totally wanted Eric and Jubilee together because both are great people who deserved someone nice but both needed to work on themselves and issues separately before they could truly give themselves to each other. As time passes and both have moved forward in life we see Jubilee and where she is and what advancements she has done as far as her illness goes and Eric and how he is with his family life, now I won't spoil the ending but I liked how the author wrapped things up. I’m a fan of Colleen Oakley and I love her writing and this one is no different. She gives a love story but also a story about how important loving and taking care of yourself has to come before you can fully give yourself to others. Things are meant to be when the timing is right and if something is meant to be well it will happen regardless on how long it takes.