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Close Enough to Touch: A Novel Hardcover – March 7, 2017
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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Praise for Close Enough to Touch
“The story of three wounded souls denied the human touch they desire, expertly conceived with all the warmth and affection of an enormous bear hug. A real achievement." (Steven Rowley, national bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus)
“A witty, inventive, and bittersweet story of a reclusive young woman forced to venture into the world where complex medical issues become tangled with longings of the heart.”
(Beth Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt and Looking for Me)
"It's so rare these days to find an utterly original heroine like Jubilee - one who is bravely living an almost unimaginable life. Gripping, raw, and moving, this is one of my favorite novels of the year." (Sarah Pekkanen, bestselling author of Skipping a Beat and The Opposite of Me)
"In Close Enough to Touch we meet Jubilee Jenkins, who has a life-threatening allergy to human touch, and Eric Keegan, a good guy whose life isn’t going according to plan. Colleen Oakley expertly weaves Jubilee and Eric’s stories together, ensuring we laugh a lot and cry a little as we fly through the pages. This is a heart-warming, unconventional love story you won’t be able to put down." (Karma Brown, bestselling author of Come Away With Me and The Choices We Make)
"Oakley delivers a story that overflows with compassion, humor, and the impulsive need to read just one more chapter until you reach the very satisfying end." (Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of Driftwood Summer and Coming Up For Air)
"Colleen Oakley writes a unique twist on love that I couldn’t read fast enough. With effortless charm, wit, and just a touch of heat (pun intended), Close Enough to Touch's offbeat characters warmed my heart with tender moments and heartbreaking revelations." (Amy E. Reichert, author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake and Luck, Love & Lemon Pie)
“Heart wrenching and humorous, Oakley delivers an out-of-the-ordinary love story with steady quips and endearing characters… [Jubilee’s] journey from recluse to recovery is fascinating.” (Publishers Weekly)
"Oakley masterfully creates a high-stakes story that still feels solidly real. All of her characters are well-rounded and charming, especially Jubilee. Readers will cheer each time she takes a risk and delight in her triumphs. A romantic, sweet story about taking chances and living life fully." (Kirkus Reviews)
“Oakley’s sophomore novel is a treat… Fans of JoJo Moyes and rom-coms set within the stacks of libraries will rejoice.” (Booklist)
“It is easy to get lost in this vividly told story with characters and a fictional malady that are utterly believable. Oakley’s second novel should build on the author’s popularity and continue comparisons to popular authors such as Jojo Moyes.” (Library Journal)
About the Author
Colleen Oakley is an Atlanta-based writer and author of the novel Before I Go. Her articles, essays, and interviews have been featured in The New York Times, Ladies’ Home Journal, Marie Claire, Women’s Health, Redbook, Parade, and Martha Stewart Weddings. Before she was a freelance writer, Colleen was editor in chief of Women’s Health & Fitness and senior editor at Marie Claire. Close Enough to Touch is her second novel.
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LOVE. It's love that we all want. Even Jubilee Jenkins, a seemingly normal young woman who has the misfortune of an allergy to human touch. Not metaphorical, not imagined, an actual allergy that sends her into shock, literally -- into breath-defying, heart stopping, death inducing anaphylaxis. What could be more antithetical to the urge for human touch than that?
Not much, Jubilee finds. After her strange and somewhat dysfunctional mother (the entirety of her family) leaves town, ultimately leaving her the house of her childhood to keep, Jubilee develops a nine-year case of agoraphobia. It's only when her mother dies and the trust set up to pay the mortgage of that house concludes, demanding that Jubilee find some source of regular income, that she's forced to face her horror of the OUTSIDE: traffic, places, noises... people. One of those people is an old acquaintance from high school, one with whom she had a strange and mysterious connection, and it is this friend who barrels back into her life to help her find her feet. She begins by helping her find a job at the local library.
Once employed, Jubilee is daily met with the challenges inherent to being part of the world: interacting with people, learning new skills, regulating her schedule, managing to work without ever being touched, and... meeting a guy. One of those guys. The kind you slowly and inexorably fall in love with. And when that happens, Jubilees bounces between the despair of realizing she can never touch or be touched in the act of love, OR she is obligated to once again pursue a course of potential cure, one that hasn't worked in the past and demands a faith and determination she doesn't know she has anymore.
From there the story unfolds in so many involving, compelling, moving, heartbreaking, joyful ways that you'll never want it to end. I didn't want it to end. Which brings me to my final kudos: the end. Lately I've read far too many books that seem to have forgotten the power and NEED for a good ending. Too many either leave us hanging, offer an unrealistic conclusion, or simply wander off as if they weren’t sure how to tie up their story. I loved the way this book ended. Without pandering or falling into "ride off into the sunset" pabulum, Oakley brought the narrative to an unexpected, joyful, even somewhat open-ended conclusion that was just the right touch.
Wonderful work; highly recommended.