Book Review: Close Enough to Touch

Title: Close Enough to Touch

Author: Colleen Oakley

Genre: Contemporary Adult Fiction

Pages: 338

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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 house her unaffectionate mother left to her when she ran off to remarry. 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.

If you overheard a girl saying she almost died when a boy kissed her, you’d think she was being melodramatic. But Jubilee Jenkins was hospitalised when her throat closed over after the school’s jock Donovan locked lips with her. Faced with a debilitating medical condition, an allergy to the skin cells of other human beings, Jubilee lives most of her life in isolation, until one day when she has to step outside…

Close Enough to Touch is an endearing and heart-warming read. I was captivated from the first page, which contains a newspaper article that explains Jubilee’s condition and background. From the first chapter I knew I would catch feels for this introverted bookworm, and I was right.

Close Enough To Touch has some wonderful characters.  At first, I found Jubilee frustrating because of her fears and her resistance to trying anything outside of her comfort zone, and the fact that she’d spent so long just leeching off her mum and step-dad. But as the story continued I started to feel more connected to her, and her reasons for being that way became apparent. My heart broke for her SO MANY TIMES, and it was uplifting to see the way she changed throughout the novel and grew into herself by the end. There were so many other great and complex characters, like Madison, and the people at the library. Don’t even get me started on Aja, I love that kid and his obsession with X-Men, his belief in telekinesis and his interest in crazy facts about the world.

Book references! Book references! Okay so just in case you didn’t pick up on it the first time, there’s a lot of book references in Close Enough To Touch. After nine years living by herself, Jubilee obviously had plenty of time to get some reading done. And even when she does finally get out of the house, she winds up working in a library. Classic bookworm manoeuvre there. And I loved how she shared her insights with Eric and Aja, and how she worried about being crushed to death by the piles of books in her house… #relatable.

Mother-daughter relationships. Jubilee did not have a good relationship with her mother BUT THERE IS SOMETHING NEAR THE END OF THIS BOOK THAT WILL TEAR YOUR HEART OUT AND CRUSH IT AND IT WAS SO WONDERFULLY SAD.

Complex people + Complex Relationships = Life. The more I got into this story, the more I realised that life really is just complicated. Everyone has a story, and every story can be told in a different way. Close Enough To Touch really drove home the idea that love is never going to be simple because people aren’t simple, but it’s still worth the risk.

Reading about people my own age-ish. I read a lot of YA and it was nice for a change to read a book set in the next age-bracket, woooo 20-somethings represent. I mean it’s always nice to see that there are other people flailing at adulthood.

Eric. What?! Yeah…I didn’t particularly like the main love interest. He continuously screwed things up and made situations 10000000000000000x more difficult than they needed to be. Sometimes he was sweet and endearing and then other times he was just yelling at his adopted son and not considering that the kid might possibly need some help dealing with the death of his parents, whilst also being a pretty sucky dad to his biological daughter. But, in saying all that, he was kind of just a guy who was REALLY BAD at understanding emotions, and I guess this is what made him a complex, realistic character. So I’ll give him that.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Close Enough to Touch. It was fun, engaging, and sometimes made me laugh out loud and other times completely crushed my feels. You’ll love it if you’re looking for a romance that will warm your heart and make you want to grab the person next to you and give them a big hug.

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