“…I want to be fearless and free. It’s just life, Will. It’ll be over before we know it.”― Rachael Lippincott, Five Feet Apart
Five Feet Apart is a beautifully written young adult contemporary romance novel written by Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry, and Tobias Iaconis. Rachael Lippincott and her co-authors are new authors for me, but I do enjoy reading a sweet love story, and young adult books are what I love to read and write. I love this book, and I enjoyed reading it from the first page to the very last word. Five Feet Apart is heartwarming, inspiring, and like no other story I have ever read.
Five Feet Apart is about two teenagers named Stella and Will, who both have a chronic illness in their lungs called cystic fibrosis. They both battles to breathe and try to live life to the fullness. Stella is a high school senior who is smart, strong, and brave. She designed a computer application to help her keep track of her medications and medical treatments. I found Stella to be a relatable character because I also deal with chronic illnesses, and I know how it feels to miss out on events with your friends and family. I felt terrible that Stella couldn’t go on her senior class trip to Cabo, but she lived the trip through her best friends, Camila and Maya. I liked that Stella used social media to cope with her illness and shared her journey because I cope with my sickness through my writing, and I want to inspire people with disabilities to never give up on their dreams.
The dynamics of Stella’s character changes when she meets Will. In the beginning, Will is an arrogant, cocky teenage boy with a “don’t care kind of attitude.” Will doesn’t want to live in another hospital, he would rather travel the world and do the things he wants to do before he dies. He doesn’t want to take his medicine or do the CF treatments. He’s stubborn and often argues with his mother. Will expresses himself through his art; he loves to draw and always has a sketchbook and colored pencils with him at the hospital.
Will and Stella bring out the best in each other. Stella rescues Will from living life dangerously. For example, when he goes to the rooftop of the hospital and sits at the edge. Will is willing to take his medicine and do his treatments as long as Stella is by his side. Will comes to realize to appreciate the littlest things in life and is willing to do whatever he needs to do to be there for Stella. Stella becomes adventurous, and her girly personality shines through when she is with Will. They both know what it’s like to live with cystic fibrosis, to have the air taken out of their lungs, to stare at the same four white walls at the hospital, to live like they’re dying. They may not be able to touch each other physically, but they find ways to feel each other. They grow a connection by getting to know each other, and their feelings for one another grows naturally like a classic love story.
I absolutely love the adventures they have in the hospital. Sneaking onto the elevator, going to the pool, and one of my favorites is Will’s birthday party, how Stella invites Will’s friends Hope and Jason, her friends, and Poe to use his cooking skills to make everyone dinner. Poe, Hope, Jason, Camila, and Maya might be secondary characters, but they bring something unique to the table. I think they enhance the story and show the readers how important it is to have friends and family by your side when you are facing something difficult. I know I wouldn’t be able to face the challenges I do without my best friends and family. They’re my support system.
Five Feet Apart took me on an emotional roller coaster, especially when Stella went into surgery for her lung transplant, and she and Will going outside to the park to see the Christmas lights. My heart was pounding fast when Stella fell into the ice and saw her sister, Abby. Even though Stella didn’t have her sister physically with her, Abby was Stella’s guardian angel and got her through the dark times.
I loved this story so much, and it deserves the highest literary award in the world. For a person who struggles with chronic illnesses, it was refreshing to read about characters who faced terminal illnesses in the way the authors wrote it. The story was written beautifully, very realistic, believable, and just overall outstanding. I love the characters’ personalities, dialogue, and everything about them were believable and authentic. The medical parts and what the characters went through were very authentic, and I appreciated it. I could tell that the authors worked hard to make this story inspiring and to support people who have CF. They did their research, and it showed. The authors were brave and wrote about difficult topics including life and death, facing sickness, families breaking apart and coming together.
The ending of the story was very surprising, but it was a happy one. Stella was going to see the Sistine Chapel like she wanted to with her sister, and Will was going on a European trip with his best friend, Jason. They saw each other at the airport, which brought both of them peace. I hope there is a sequel to this story. I would love to read about their trips and if they ever meet and fall in love all over again.
If you love reading young adult contemporary romances or a fan of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, you must add Five Feet Apart to your TBR list.