Book Review, Author Interview & Giveaway: Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley


“When I was six, I was diagnosed with type IV contact dermatitis to foreign human skin cells. . .” (5)




Title: Close Enough To Touch
Author: Colleen Oakley
Publisher:  Gallery Books
Release Date:  March 7, 2017
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction


From the author of Before I Go comes an evocative, poignant, and heartrending exploration of the power and possibilities of the human heart, perfect for fans of the emotional novels of Jojo Moyes and Jodi Picoult.

Love has no boundaries…

Jubilee Jenkins has a rare condition: she’s allergic to human touch. After a nearly fatal accident, she became reclusive, living in the confines of her home for nine years. But after her mother dies, Jubilee is forced to face the world—and the people in it—that she’s been hiding from.

Jubilee finds safe haven at her local library where she gets a job. It’s there she meets Eric Keegan, a divorced man who recently moved to town with his brilliant, troubled, adopted son. Eric is struggling to figure out how to be the dad—and man—he wants so desperately to be. Jubilee is unlike anyone he has ever met, yet he can’t understand why she keeps him at arm’s length. So Eric sets out to convince Jubilee to open herself and her heart to everything life can offer, setting into motion the most unlikely love story of the year.



Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley was a fun read. I enjoyed it tremendously with the author's humor that is quite evident in our main character, Jubilee. Jubilee was diagnosed very young with a rare allergy to foreign human cells. In other words, people. She cannot touch people and in the worst case scenario, she can die by going into anaphylactic shock. As someone who suffers from allergies, I can tell you, the premise itself is quite telling of what's possible. How will it work? How does it affect us - physically and especially relational?

All the characters are interesting and complex, all in their own way. Jubilee, Eric and Aja's characters were the most developed, but even the other supporting characters gave readers a link to our main characters and the plot. In all honesty, I would not oppose to a sequel or a companion novel to touch base on them. Aja's just as fun to get to know as Jubilee, and I love the connection between these two.

"Stop living your life like you're terrified of it, squirreled away in your house with all your books." (279)

Sometimes we just take things for granted, including the importance of touch. How a simple hug meant so much, and I seriously choked up a bit with the blanket hug between Jubilee and Aja. In all, Close Enough to Touch was witty, moving and connective.  It'll be hard to put it down once you start.


Don't forget to check out the interview and enter the giveaway for your chance to win a copy! Just scroll on down!

For my clean readers, please note there are some minor profanity, not excessive. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.

For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.


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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.

CONNECT WITH COLLEEN: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram 


1. Hi Colleen, can you tell us a little about you? 
I’m a wife to a handsome, supportive man, mom to four (!) kids, writer, cheese-dip eater, OTF fanatic, late-night reader, amateur chef, professional wine drinker, and lifetime fan of Joey McIntyre. 
2. How about a little of the types of books you write? 
I like to say I write “unconventional” love stories.
3. Where did the inspiration for Close Enough to Touch come from? 
As a health journalist, I was fascinated by the astronomic rise in allergies the past 20 years— and how strange some of them are. As a novelist, I wanted to explore this epidemic, but of course, take it one step further— what if you were allergic to other people? How would that affect someone, emotionally, to not ever be able to be hugged by their mother as a child, or to hold hands with their first love? Could you even fall in love? 
4.  Is there a secondary character in Close Enough to Touch that stood out to you and you're itching to write his/her story? 
Aja, Eric’s adopted son. I absolutely adore him and still think about him and what he’s up to. 
UK Cover
5. Love Aja! Let's chat more about you. What can we expect from you next? Are you working on something new? 
I’m in the early stages of a book about soulmates— and whether true love is a choice or fate.
6. That sounds good! I look forward to reading it! So, craziest fan moment (either fans of yours or you being the fangirl)? 
When I worked at Marie Claire, I got to interview Jodi Picoult for her book Nineteen Minutes. I had interviewed a lot of celebrities during my time there, but I was most nervous to talk to her! I think I giggled throughout the entire interview like a school girl. That’s how you know you’re a book nerd— when your favorite authors make you nervous.
7. LOL. OK, for this booknerd, I need some recommendations. Top 3 favorite books of all time. 
That’s so hard! I have SO many favorites, but I’ll name the top three random ones that come to mind: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King, The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
8. Recent 3 books you've read and you just fell in love with!
  • Forever Is the Worst Long Time by Camille Noe Pagan
  • The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle
  • Windy City Blues by Renee Rosen
9.  I'm a fan of Camille's books too! Now the simple ones, coffee or tea? 
Both!
10. Chocolate or Vanilla? 
Vanilla.
11. Rain or Snow? 
Snow.
12. Print or Digital? 
Print. I don’t even own an e-reader!
13. Good choices there! Next, let's end with 5 random facts about you.
  • I once went on a date with Jason Lewis (you may know him as Smith Jarrod from Sex and the City) and he kissed me. (OK, OK, I interviewed him for a magazine and he HAD to have lunch with me. And the kiss was on the cheek. But, you know, still.)
  • I don’t like bananas.
  • Whenever something breaks in my house, I call my dad because I still believe he knows how to fix everything. This drives my very-competent husband crazy.
  • I have been to 16 Dave Matthews concerts.
  • I cover my ears and close my eyes at the scary parts in movies.

Colleen, thank you for this opportunity for us to get to know you better. I really enjoyed Close Enough to Touch and I look forward to your next book! 


One winner will win a copy of Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley. US Addresses Only.


For more reviews, giveaways, and guest posts by the author, check out the rest of the tour on TLC Book Tours' Tour page. Click on the image below to take you straight there. Thank you!

CONVERSATION

31 comments:

  1. This book sounds intriguing!
    Janice
    jrcmoore(AT)windstream(DOT)net

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    1. It is pretty good! ;) I hope you'll get the chance to check it out!

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  2. I am allergic to many smells - Clorox, cleaning supplies, perfume, animal dander, pine,smoke, as well as the usual molds, dust and pollen. I cope by taking as much allergy medicine and avoidance.
    Janice

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    1. I have very similar allergies, so I understand! Take care during this season!

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  3. I'm allergic to fragrances so I use skin products that are fragrance free only. For quite awhile it seemed difficult to find these, but thankfully, more manufacturers are putting products on the shelves.

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    1. Danielle, I agree. It helps that many manufacturers and also homemade products are available now that are fragrance free.

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  4. The only allergy I have is to the flu shot. Surprisingly enough, I took them all through my growing up years being an Army brat. I went several years of not taking one as a adult and when I did I had a horrible reaction to it. My specialist advised me to NEVER take another flu shot. Thankfully it's not a serious allergy of something that would affect me day to day. However, now I have to be extra cautious in the flu season.

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    1. Wow, that's new to me. Yes, must be careful during the flu season. Some extra vitamin Cs?

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  5. Yes, medicine. Not much of a hugger.

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  6. I have no allergies however my six yr old granddaughter is allergic to dogs. We had to give away our papillon we had had for eight yrs. Her little brother wants a dog so bad!
    What an interesting premise for a novel! I read where babies left with no touch suffer and fail to thrive. How sad! Would love to win, read and review this book!
    tumcsec(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Gail, that is sad. I just got a puppy and I absolutely adore her. I was caught on early by the cover, and it's a keeper. Hope you'll have the opportunity to read it!

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  7. I'm so thankful I don't have year round allergies but each spring something blooming causes me two weeks of a very runny nose.

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    1. That's great you don't have major allergies, but the seasonal allergies can be a bummer too! I hear local honey will help! Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. I'm not allergic to anything that I know of but my husband has many allergies.

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    1. What a blessing! I'm happy for you. Allergies are no fun! Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. I choked up at the same spot! Glad I wasn't the only one. ;) That hug was too sweet.

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  10. Thankfully, I have no allergy.

    mia2009(at)comcast(dot)net

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    1. Great blessing indeed! Thanks for stopping by!

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  11. "Close Enough to Touch" sounds like a heartwarming story. Looking forward to reading.

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  12. I thankfully don't have very many allergies! This looks like a good book! Thank you for sharing it!

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    1. Thank YOU Laura for taki ng the time to stop in. Glad you're not bother by allergies!

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  13. Sounds great Yes I believe it could happen I don't have allergies but My oldest Son does I just give him Meds and have him stay inside with the windows closed if I can see it in the air and when I mow the grass

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    1. I get scared when I actually see it in the air!!! I get it!

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  14. Penicillin makes me nauseous, so I avoid it. Eating eggs gives me cramps, so I only eat them occasionally.

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    1. I've heard of the egg allergy too, which would be hard for me! Love eggs!

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  15. This book sounds really good. The only allergies I have are airborne allergies and I just load up on medications to try to make them less annoying.

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    1. O, I get it too Janine! This time in the year, I take so many different allergy medications! EEk! Thanks for stopping by!

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  16. I'm allergic to pollen - it makes my eyes itchy and red. I'm so glad you enjoyed CLOSE ENOUGH TO TOUCH. Thank you for being on the tour!

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