A woman with a rare allergy—to other people—is forced to step outside her house and open herself up to the world.
Jubilee Jenkins is allergic to humans—simply touching another person’s skin causes her to break out in welts. The one time a boy kisses her, on a dare, she nearly dies from anaphylaxis. After that horrifying and embarrassing incident, she holes up in her house for nine long years and fears she’s “become the Boo Radley of [her] neighborhood.” But then Jubilee’s mother (and her only source of income) dies, and she’s forced to leave the confines of her home to get a job. A former classmate helps her find work at the library, where she meets Eric, a divorced dad who’s trying desperately to connect with both his estranged teenage daughter and his adopted son, Aja. Aja’s preoccupation with telekinetic destruction doesn’t exactly help him fit in at school, but Jubilee appreciates his outsider spirit. Eric and Jubilee are drawn to each other, but her condition means they can never touch. As Jubilee pushes herself out into the real world, she’s forced to accept that she will never be able to have a normal human relationship—that is, unless she tries an experimental treatment. But is she willing to take the risk? Oakley (Before I Go, 2015) 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.