Hey all, happy Saturday! Today we’re talking about Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott. If you’ve never heard of it, this book was written based on the movie Five Feet Apart (what a plot twist). Here we go!
Synopsis: 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?
I have mixed feelings about this book. It was a really quick read for me and it gave me those contemporary feelings I was hoping for. The pacing is great. I never felt the need to skip words or pages because I never encountered a part in this book that felt like unnecessary filler. However, I didn’t find it to be faultless either. To keep this review short and sweet, I’m going to list and elaborate on each pro and con I found in FFA. (Let me know if you like this style of review in the comments!)
- The book raises awareness for cystic fibrosis and does so by showing symptoms of the disease.
- Dual POV chapters? A dream.
- It is an extremely cute, heartwarming YA story. It’s written for this audience excellently. Actually, in my notes while reading this book I mentioned that FFA is a prime example of YA romance language in books. I highlighted a few examples throughout the read, and the best example I have is this one:
I think this quote is an excellent example of how to write believable attraction between teenagers, especially since it’s something not actually said out loud.
Contrary to some reviews I’ve read, I don’t think this book has insta-love. I liked the fact that Stella gradually warmed up to Will, but others have said that it was too fast too soon. Here’s what I have to say about that:
1) this is a book with a theme of life with a terminal illness. If anything, that fact ALONE should be enough justification for our characters to explore their lives to the fullest (including romance). Wouldn’t you be curious about the cute guy/girl next door who is your age and shares your condition if you weren’t 100% sure you’d wake up the next morning?
2) The plot of this book would be very irritating if we spent the first half of the book with two MCs that hate each other. And neither of them did anything to declare each other as mortal enemies anyway.
As I said, while I liked this book, it wasn’t a 5 star read for me. Here’s why:
While I do think that this book raises awareness for CF, I agree with many people (especially the reviewers on GR that actually have CF,) that this book portrays a very sterilized version of the disease. A quick Google search of the symptoms of CF display a much wider view of symptoms the disease causes than what is included in the book. Though I get the impression that this book is supposed to be overall rather light-hearted, it should still accurately represent CF struggles. Especially our MCs who together have a highly contagious (if-you-even-breathe-on-me-I’ll-die contagious) bacterial infection, and 35% lung function combined.
Speaking of the dire situations of our MCs, I have to also agree with some who say that some events in the book just aren’t realistic for such conditions. (Note: this isn’t me trying to say that if you have CF all you should do is sit in sterilized hospitals all day. I’m saying this with our MCs’ conditions in mind specifically.)
Overall, I just don’t appreciate how certain symptoms and perils of the conditions are swept under the rug for the sake of the plot. Without spoilers, that is all I’ll say.
That is my concise review for Five Feet Apart! Though my dislikes were few, I took error with very major aspects of the book. So even though I enjoyed it overall, it couldn’t be a 5 star read in my opinion. If you read FFA, let me know what you thought of it! See you next Thursday!