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The first two weeks of my new job are over now and to be honest, it was quite exhausting, but good. But I don’t have much time left to read these days which is one reason why I miss being on holiday so much. When I was in Croatia at the beginning of September, I read Close Enough To Touch by Colleen Oakley. I bought the book because of its subtitle: Once a boy tried to kiss me and I almost died. Sounds a bit cheesy, right? But when you read what the story is all about, the meaning is so funny. Well, kind of. But let me tell you about the story!
Jubilee Jenkins‘ life is quite sad: She hasn’t left the house for nine years since her mother moved to her new boyfriend. The reason: Jubilee is allergic to humans, just touching someone or drinking out of the same glass might take her to hospital – or even kill her! Now she’s almost 30 years old and when her mom dies surprisingly and can’t pay Jubilee’s bills anymore, the woman has to earn money and therefore leave the house. It’s not easy for her, of course, but she finds a job, friends and meets Eric and his adopted son Aja. But how can she ever have a relationship to a man with her allergy?
The story is so cute! I liked the book a lot as it tells „healthy“ people about the problems of a person who deals with a severe allergy and anxiety. And now the line Once a boy kissed me and I nearly died makes perfectly sense: Jubilee really nearly died and she wasn’t just excited about kissing him! The result: As she became unconscious after kissing this boy, everybody in school laughed at her as they didn’t know why Jubilee passed out. And when her Mom moved out, she never left the house again. What are delivery services for? Jubilee also organized everything to not leave the house. When she has to do so, it takes her a long time and a lot of courage to even step out of the door as Jubilee is very afraid to go outside. That she actually leaves the house and finds a job (and then goes to work) and a new friend shows how brave she is.
Eric is also struggling with life: He moved with Aja to a new town, he and his wife are divorced and his daughter is neither talking to him nor answering his texts or calls. And then, there’s Aja… he’s the son of Eric’s best friend who has died and he’s super smart. Right now he wants to learn telekinesis and let items explode just with his thoughts. Surprisingly, it doesn’t work and he’s so desperate to make telekinesis work that he jumps from a bridge and tries to stop himself falling… Of course, this is not working either and it’s the reason why Eric and Jubilee met. This precarious situation shoes again how great Jubilee actually is.
Of course the book is about the relationship-to-be between Jubilee and Eric. As he doesn’t know about the allergy, he wonders about Jubilee’s gloves and some of her quirks. While reading, I really wanted her to be happy with Eric but let’s be honest: It’s really, really hard to be in a normal relationship when having a severe allergy like hers.
The actual ending left me with mixed feelings. Especially as the story ends so suddenly and doesn’t answer all the questions I had. Luckily, Colleen Oakley added a „7 Years Later..“-chapter. I didn’t like the story that much as well but there was one thing I was really happy about. The real ending then seemed a bit forced, like „I have to end the story this way, no matter what I wrote before“. And I was left with questions again, when I had finished this chapter.
Besides the ending I really liked the book and read it within a couple of days. The ending isn’t bad but could be clearer about one particular thing. But you really should read the book, the strange story is so funny!
Have you read Close Enough To Touch or other books by Colleen Oakley?