Friday, February 10, 2017

Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley (Book Review)

*Disclosure of material connection- I received a copy of the book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are 100% my own. 

About the book-

From the author of Before I Go comes an unconventional but beautiful 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...

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

My thoughts-

I have been waiting for Colleen Oakley to write a new book, so I was excited when I came across Close Enough to Touch. I had mixed feelings about her first book Before I Go, but I thought it was well written so I wanted to give her a second chance. Close Enough to Touch had me interested from the first page. While not a real condition, imagining someone with an allergy to other human dna cells was intriguing. How would she live without the touch of another? Not surprisingly Jubilee feels very alone and angry at the beginning of the story. I was thrilled when she worked up the courage (really out of necessity) to go out and get a job. We get to see how she interacts with other people after not seeing or interacting with a single soul for 9 years, besides occasional phone calls. Oakley's writing reminds me a lot of some of my favorite author's of contemporary fiction: Nicholas Sparks, Jodi Picoult, Cecilia Ahern, Jojo Moyes, authors that pull at your heartstrings and are masters at creating a romantic story. Beyond Jubiliee's relationship with Eric, which is a refreshingly different take on a relationship because they can't physically touch, I love the dynamic between Jubilee and Aja, two people who have trouble communicating with others, but find solace in someone similar yet so different. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys contemporary fiction.

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