Jubilee Jenkins has lived her entire life as a recluse - she has a rare medical condition and fears going out of the house; she is allergic to other people. After her mother's death, she is forced to confront her fears.  An endearing, quirky story.  Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley

Close Enough to Touch

By Colleen Oakley


Critical Praise:


“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
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*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?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. Share with your book club: If you didn’t leave your house for nine years, what would you miss the most? How would you make your way back into the world? What would you tackle first?

2. Hold your next book club meeting at a local library; arrive early to people-watch and witness how your local library is serving your community.

3. Like Eric’s daughter Ellie’s school assignment, keep a journal of impressions, notes, and questions during your reading of your next book club pick. Share your reading journal with your book club.

(Discussion Questions by Publisher)


Book Summary
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
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