Review: Five Feet Apart by Rachel Lippincott

WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

Connection. Every aspect of our human existence pivots on that one point. Communities are built around it and families disintegrate without it. We even send complex technology light-years out of our own atmosphere in search of it. Lippincott’s astounding novel Five Feet Apart studies the weight of connection – specifically, on what life is like without it.

For Cystic Fibrosis patients Stella, Poe, and Will, human connection is complicated. CF dictates their lives completely: lungs far below functioning, excess mucus making breathing even more difficult, and the risk of death if any of them contract the others’ bacteria. To make life safer, CFers stay six feet away from each other at all times. But what happens when love means stepping one foot closer? What happens when life and death hang on closing that gap completely? 

IS IT WORTH THE READ?

Confession: I didn’t know this was a book until two weeks ago when my sister insisted I read it so we could talk. I had seen the heart-wrenching trailers featuring all of the angst Cole Sprouse could muster and the infectious laugh of Haylee Lu Richardson and assumed it was another of many YA Tragic Romance flics. 

I was wrong.

Lippincott has accomplished something beautiful with Stella’s story. Yes there is romance – in fact it is a driving plot point – but there is more. Through Stella’s and Will’s eyes the reader is given a deep and personal view of the way connection, and the absence of it, affects our lives. Grief, pain, longing, and joy all weave together on these pages while three people who never should have had to carry so much alone learn to carry it together. 

If you had seen me while I was reading this book, you might have been concerned. I didn’t move from my hammock until I had read cover to cover, and after turning the last page I was a mess of tears. Whether they were tears of joy or heartache, you’ll just have to read the book to find out.

Over all, I’m giving this story a five out of five. Lippincott has artistically and sensitively shed light on the many people who live with Cystic Fibrosis. Five Feet Apart holds depth I was not expecting, surprises I was not prepared for. It did what all good stories should do: it pulled me out of my own world and helped me understand someone else’s for a while.

WHAT NEXT?

If you’re looking to dive a little deeper into Five Feet Apart, you can download a discussion guide at the link below.

For similar reads to Five Feet Apart, check out these titles:

  1. When My Heart Joins the Thousands by A J Steiger
  2. Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
  3. Translucent by Kazuhiro Okamoto

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Happy Reading!
– Bekah

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