Title: Five Feet Apart
Author: Rachael Lippincott
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Imprint: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: November 20, 2018
Series Details: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Blurb from Goodreads:
Can you love someone you can never touch?
Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.
The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.
Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment.
What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?
Cystic Fibrosis—a progressive disease that usually affects the lungs, but it could also affect some other parts of the body. Upon a bit of research, I learned that CF is genetic. It happens when a person inherits a copy of defective CF gene from both parents. When both parents are CF carriers—which means they each have a copy of a defective gene—there’s a twenty-five percent chance that their child will have the disease. It’s dangerous for people with CF to come in direct contact with each other as it may cause cross-infection. Hence the rule “six feet apart at all times”. There’s a good reason why this book is missing a foot though. And it’s probably my favorite highlight of Will and Stella’s story.
I wasn’t aware about Cystic Fibrosis prior to this book so I really appreciate this for raising awareness about CF. I certainly learned things about this life-threatening disease, some of the risks and complications, and the everyday struggles of the people who have CF. But I feel like this was written in haste. The main characters lack emotional depth despite having complicated backgrounds. Although I see them fighting hard for their lives, they haven’t really drawn some strong emotions from me. But the story centers on CF which, I think, is the most important thing in this book.
Stella and Will are teens living with Cystic Fibrosis. Maybe we can blame the poor decisions they made somewhere in the book—decisions that endangered both their lives—to their young age. But it just did not sit well with me. Stella is such a strong fighter. She was determined to survive so she does everything right. Then came Will. Then they fell in love—quiet quickly. Then Stella kind of forget about why she badly wanted to live. Suddenly she’s out breaking the most important rule. Suddenly all she wanted was Will and she’s willing to give up the chance of a better lungs just to be near him.
There’s too much coincidence in the ending of this book. It is possible. But I did not buy it. Maybe I was just looking for something more impactful. Many readers love happy and open endings though. So, I’m certain a lot of people would love the way Will and Stella’s story ends. Or did it really end? Because I can smell a sequel.
In case you’re wondering, Five Feet Apart is not a tear-jerker despite having terminally ill main characters. It doesn’t have the thickest plot, or the most complex characters, or a never before seen romance. But I’ll remember this one as the book that brought Cystic Fibrosis—a chronic disease that currently has no cure—into the spotlight.