I was lucky enough to have a sneak preview of this novel and absolutely loved it. My review is fairly short but hopefully it conveys how much I enjoyed it! :)
Jubilee Jenkins has a rare disorder: she's allergic to humans.
It makes for a fascinating premise, and this novel deals with the issue elegantly, slowly releasing the multitude of emotions Jubilee inevitably feels. It begins with Jubilee living as something of a recluse, when a change of circumstances forces her to leave the house for the first time in nine years. What follows is the thoughtful portrayal of a woman blossoming into a self-assured woman in spite of the cards life has dealt. Close Enough to Touch is, at its core, a warming exploration of the human heart.
The key characters are intriguing and well-developed, and relationships are built cautiously, creating realism through layered characterisation. Eric is likable enough but the true charmer is troubled son Aja, whose quirks endear him almost immediately. The rest of the ensemble round out the story giving it variety without too much to keep track of.
The alternating chapters from both Jubilee and Eric add extra depth to the tale, and insight into two very different dynamics. While Jubilee is somewhat timid and naive, Eric is dealing with pieces of a broken family, and has almost a wearied quality to him; you can clearly picture the frazzled father struggling to keep control over a rapidly unravelling thread. This contrast between the two is the soul of the novel.
Overall a fantastic read with delightful characters and an intelligent story. Highly recommend for lovers of atypical chick-lit. Enjoyed it immensely and my sincere thanks to Allen & Unwin for the advanced copy!