‘Five Feet Apart’ by Rachel Lippincott – Book Review

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?

My Review

Warning! Unmarked spoiler ahead.

Oh I don’t know about this…

I know this book was written with input from the CF (Cystic Fibrosis) community but wow did this feel sanitised.

I don’t have CF but I’ve grown up in and out of hospitals and the hospital setting in this felt entirely romanticised and lacking in believability. Even the illness and infection aspects of these characters seemed so bland.

Where was the hacking up mucous?

The fatigue?

So many times it’s stated that these characters “sprinted”???? With a lung capacity percentage in the thirties???

I dunno…

Didn’t seem realistic. I don’t have CF though so I could be wrong of course. And maybe this book just never wanted to portray that grittier aspect of a chronic disease.

But this book also had that whole ‘Everything Everything’ vibe where someone with a critical and in this case terminal illness risks their life for love???? Because sure what is the point of life without a romantic partner.

*quizzical eyebrows*

Eh no thanks… Look I get it. Sometimes all these treatments and hospital stays get exhausting. They become too much to cope with and who wouldn’t want to pack it all in but I think that that theme could have been explored in a better manner than the risking your life for love aspect.

In addition this had a pet peeve of mine in that the MCs learned to truly live and appreciate life because a character with an illness died to teach them that lesson

*eye roll* Add in to that that this character was gay and from a different/minority racial background and well… Just no. Can we not have that trope please?

And if I don’t focus on the illness aspect of the book well then you just have wet wipe characters with a massive dollop of instalove who are actually never fully drawn out and made to feel like well rounded people who are more than just defined by their illness… Also conveniently absent parents that seemed to almost never visit the hospital???? Very strange…

And basically this was just prosaic AF

Yes it’s great to highlight a horrible disease such as CF and to educate people about it but this was just poorly executed IMO.
Not for me.

One Star

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10 thoughts on “‘Five Feet Apart’ by Rachel Lippincott – Book Review

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