bookish: five feet apart review
“I’m tired of living without really living”
This sickly sweet story of two teenagers with Cystic Fibrosis, a chronic, life-threatening respiratory illness, was full of tropes but also full of beautiful representation.
Cute, confident, and definitely bad, Will is just counting down the days until he turns 18 and can legally decide to stop pursuing treatment for CF. Stella, the control freak and perfectionist, is waiting for a life-extending lung transplant in hopes that her survival will hold her fragile family together.
On her umpteenth admission to the hospital for a respiratory exacerbation, Stella finds the newbie on the ward, Will, a little too care free for her liking. While she admits his good looks don’t hurt, Stella takes Will under her wing in an effort to get him on the right track with his treatments.
. Her obsession with order and organization is a stark contrast to Will’s readiness to accept his fate. An unlikely friendship is formed but limited by the mandatory 6 foot gap between all CF’ers. Will, colonized with the deadly bacteria, B. capacia, could kill Stella’s chance at lung transplant if he infects her.
The gap doesn’t stop Stella and Will from fall in love while running wild through the halls of the hospital. An impossible romance set on an impossible course. Together they decided that CF has taken enough from their lives so they are going to take back one thing - one foot. They close the gap to five feet apart. But will they ever be closer?
Peppered with teeny drama, a token gay bestie, and maybe a few too many cringey lines from the adults, Five Feet Apart gives space to an underrepresented childhood illness in the world of young adult literature. As someone who works with many Cystic Fibrosis patients, I can attest to the fact that the medical information is surprisingly accurate for the genre (although there are definitely a few liberties).
Despite its downfalls, Five Feet Apart managed to bring a few tears to my eyes. Perhaps because I know just how much devastation this disease can cause or perhaps because Rachel Lippincott managed to craft two emotionally complex and thoughtful characters with whom I truly connected. I think it’s likely a mixture of the two.
Certainly not the best book I’ve ever read. This book was a perfect, easy read for a recent plane ride. I enjoyed it and will probably catch the movie when it comes to Redbox.
What have you been reading lately?
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