by Colleen Oakley
Release Date: March 7th 2017
Publisher: Gallery Books, Simon & Schuster Audio
Narrator: Candace Thaxton, Jonathan Todd Ross, Kirby Heyborne
Length: 11 hrs and 38 mins
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Format: Audiobook, Hardcover
Find It: Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Audible
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.
Can you imagine almost dying from mere skin contact with another person? Someone kisses you and you go into anaphylactic shock?! When I first read that Jubilee Jenkins suffers from this illness, I had no idea how much this story would actually impact me. It’s not solely that disease in and of itself that left me speechless… but all of the rest that goes with it. Jubilee suffered a kissing incident at school (which was all done on a dare by classmates to see if the rumors were true. How horrible!) where she almost dies. From that point forward, she becomes a recluse and refuses to leave her home. To make it worse… her mother leaves to go live with her boyfriend, leaving Jubilee home alone, where she stays, inside her home, very little contact with the outside world, for over nine years. Nine years! When Jubilee learns that her mother has passed away and her stepfather will no longer be sending checks her way to pay for bills and such, Jubilee decides that her recluse days have come to an end and she must learn to live life like everyone else. She needs a job, and this will inevitably lead to leaving her home. Talk about stressful!
Oh, how I felt for Jubilee. Though I suffer from anxiety to a certain degree myself, I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been for her to realize that the life as she was so used to was over and she must start doing things differently. The idea of leaving a house that you haven’t left in nine years… and not just leaving, but going out into the world and actually working a job in the public. You add to that her horrific disease where she cannot come into any contact with another person for fear of dying… yeah, Jubilee won my empathy vote. Wow. And to think people actually suffer like this. It blew my mind.
Aside from Jubilee and how much I felt for her, I also found myself really empathizing with Eric as well. This guy is trying everything he can to do what he feels is right, and still he keeps pulling the short straw. Eric’s own teenage daughter will not speak to him, and he’s at a complete loss as to how to remedy this. This adopted son, Aja, falls into his hands when his best friend and wife pass away tragically, leaving Eric as the only person for Aja to be with. Aja has his own struggles, leaving this twosome in a heap of drama and conflict. Oh man, this poor guy… I just wanted to help him any way I could. Life is never easy… but these two definitely had it harder than most.
As you can probably tell, this story really touched me. I read a lot of emotional stories about illnesses, both mental and physical, and I love learning more about how people deal with their disabilities. This story, however, really packed a punch stronger than most. I’m not sure exactly why it touched me so deeply, other than the way it was written. It was so hard to put down and I just wanted to constantly know what was going to happen next. What would happen for these two tortured souls. If they would ever be “okay” and how they would cope with everything that was thrown their way. I really felt as though I knew these characters on a personal level. This is such a powerful and even hopeful story, and I definitely recommend it. It’s a great summer beach read for sure, so add this one to your TBR’s!
Yay for two narrators!! When books have two points of view, I’m always a huge fan of having two narrators. Especially when one is a male and one’s a female. In this story, we get both Jubilee’s and Eric’s points of view, so having the individual narrators with their own personalities and unique voices was a major plus! I also loved the addition of the third voice to read the parts that were not from either character’s point of view. Overall, this was a fantastic audiobook and I’d definitely recommend going this route when reading this book.
Have you read Close Enough to Touch? Do you enjoy stories about characters with limitations/disabilities, like I do? Oh… and how much do you love this cover?! *heart eyes*