Book Review: Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott

Rating: 3.5/5

Not even sure what I expected from this book. I guess lots of forbidden kisses but that literally makes ZERO sense considering what this book is about.

Book CWs

  • Character Death
  • Fatal Illness
  • Deportation
  • Isolation
  • Divorce

Disclaimer: There is discord in the CF community about whether this book is helpful or harmful. Please refer to those conversations for more information as I am not qualified to speak on that.


Stella Grant has lived with Cystic Fibrosis for a very long time. She has been seen at the same hospital since she was 8 years old, enabling her to view it as more of a second home than a hospital room.

She has always done everything the doctors have told her to do. She takes her pills exactly at the right time (and has even developed an app to help others do the same) and she always follows the golden rule of “six feet apart at all times”. You see, with CF patients, cross contamination is fatal and six feet apart is the distance they must always remain away from each other.

Stella never had a problem with this rule, even with her hospital best friend Poe. Not once has she been so tempted to break it, to stand even five feet apart instead of six. That is, until Will Newman arrives.

Not only is Will a CF patient; he also has B. Cepacia, an infection that is not only deadly to people with CF, but effectively removes them from the donor-recipient list indefinitely. A romance with Will is basically the worst idea Stella could possibly have. So why is it that she’s drawn to him so much?

Review (No Spoilers)

Seeing how I’m a sucker for the sappiest of romance stories, I’m not exactly sure why I thought Five Feet Apart would “quench my thirst”, so to speak. I live for intimate/loving touches, stolen kisses, and sweet words. However, as you could probably guess from my premise up there, this is not the book for most of those things.

As much as I’d like to blame the lack of physical intimacy for my disinterest in the storyline, I don’t think that was actually it. I found myself enjoying my “plot recaps” to my partner more than actually reading the story–which strikes me as a maybe a writing style issue.

Don’t get me wrong, I still got so attached to these characters that I was a sobbing mess during some of the more emotional scenes. But overall, I was mostly indifferent to the main story. I also want to briefly mention that certain plot points seemed to be written to make them as tragic as possible which was a bit upsetting.

I guess the main question I have after finishing this book is: what the heck was the deal with her parents? They somehow got so trapped in not wanting to talk to each other that none of them bothered to actually watch over her?

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