Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott is a bittersweet love story about two teens, Stella and Will, who struggle with sickness (cystic fibrosis) and the uncertainty of their futures.
Stella is an organized achiever who has her life in order and manages her medications and treatments efficiently. Will is the total opposite; a rule breaker, tired of medications, hospitalizations, and drug trials. When Stella and Will first meet at the hospital, they infuriate each other but, as in any true opposites-attract fashion, romance eventually blooms. The bacteria infecting Will is easily transmitted and drug resistant, and he therefore has to stay six feet away from the other patients, making a relationship impossible.
An interesting fact is that the movie came first, rather than the book. In a way, you can sense that when reading the book, as it is very fast-paced and situation-driven. The love story part felt a bit forced in the beginning and I had some trouble connecting with the characters at first. But it picked up after a while and the characters gained more depth and their emotional struggles became more engaging as the story continued.
I liked the concept of the “non-touching” relationship and that the book brings attention to a severe disease that I don’t think everyone knows about. And I am a hopeless sucker for love, especially the forbidden Romeo-and-Juliet-kind, so I ended up loving this book much more than I’d ever thought. Even though there were some triggering tropes and the ending that felt quite unbelievable and too much out of character for Stella. But all in all, this is a really cute and fast-paced bittersweet story that deals with pain and sorrow, with a new and unique angle to the engaging forbidden love plot.
Find out more about the book and the author here: Five Feet Apart