CLOSE ENOUGH TO TOUCH

Colleen Oakley

Can you miss something you never had?

Jubilee Jenkins is no ordinary librarian. With a rare allergy to human touch, any skin-to-skin contact could literally kill her. But after retreating into solitude for nearly ten years, Jubilee’s decided to brave the world again, despite the risks. Armed with a pair of gloves, long sleeves, and her trusty bicycle, she finally ventures out the front door—and into her future.

Eric Keegan has troubles of his own. With his daughter from a failed marriage no longer speaking to him, and his brilliant, if psychologically troubled, adopted son attempting telekinesis,

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Can you miss something you never had?

Jubilee Jenkins is no ordinary librarian. With a rare allergy to human touch, any skin-to-skin contact could literally kill her. But after retreating into solitude for nearly ten years, Jubilee’s decided to brave the world again, despite the risks. Armed with a pair of gloves, long sleeves, and her trusty bicycle, she finally ventures out the front door—and into her future.

Eric Keegan has troubles of his own. With his daughter from a failed marriage no longer speaking to him, and his brilliant, if psychologically troubled, adopted son attempting telekinesis, 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. So when an encounter over the check-out desk at the local library entangles his life with that of a beautiful—albeit eccentric—woman, he finds himself wanting nothing more than to be near her.

A “heart-wrenching and humorous” (Publishers Weekly) love story for anyone who’s ever wanted something—or someone—just out of reach, Colleen Oakley’s Close Enough to Touch will delight fans of Jojo Moyes’s One Plus One and Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project.

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  • Gallery Books
  • Paperback
  • August 2017
  • 336 Pages
  • 9781501139291

Buy the Book

$16.00

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About Colleen Oakley

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.

Praise

“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

Discussion Questions

1. What effect does the alternating narrative between Jubilee’s and Eric’s perspectives have on your understanding of the events and characters in the book? How would the story have been different if it was just from Jubilee’s point of view?

2. Do you think Eric is a good dad to Aja? To Ellie? Why or why not? Compare and contrast his parenting style with that of Jubilee’s mother, Victoria. Consider the challenges each parent faces.

3. Why do you think Eric agreed to adopt Aja? How did that change his relationship with Stephanie? With Ellie?

4. How does Jubilee’s relationship with her mother affect her outlook on life? What would you do in her mother’s shoes, having a child with a unique condition like Jubilee’s?

5. How is Jubilee affected by each of the people she interacts with as she reenters the world? How do they affect her perspective about her condition? Consider her interactions with Madison, Eric, Aja, Michael the pillow-golfer, and Louise.

6. Is Eric’s long-distance father-daughter book club experiment a success? What is so powerful about the shared reading experience? How has a book brought you closer to another family member or friend?

7. Why do you think Jubilee resists pursuing treatments or management for her condition? Why wouldn’t she want to see a doctor for an Epipen prescription?

8. Consider this quote: “People did stare at me in high school—like I was a curiosity—but I didn’t think anyone ever noticed me. It’s a strange feeling, to be seen but invisible at the same time.” (p. 94) What is the difference between being seen and being noticed? Why is the difference important to Jubilee?

9. How has Jubilee’s nine-year seclusion affected her emotional maturity?

10. Discuss the importance of female friendship. How does Madison and Jubilee’s relationship affect each of the women?

11. Why is Jubilee the only adult who is able to get through to Aja? How do their shared experiences link them?

12. How does the truth about Jubilee’s condition change her relationship with Eric? With Madison?

13. Throughout the book, Jubilee starts to understand that her biggest fear isn’t actually physical touch but having emotional connections, only to be let down or disappointed by them. How does each character experience and deal with their own fears of vulnerability throughout the book?

14. Did the letter Jubilee found from her mother change your view of her? How so?

15. In the end, Jubilee asks Madison “if love is worth the risk.” How would you have answered that?

16. What was your reaction to the epilogue? Do you think Jubilee and Eric end up together for good? Why or why not?