If you want to read the spoiler, highlight between the two ♈ symbols. For those using the WP Reader: the text between the two symbols won’t be hidden – so if you don’t want the story to be spoiled, look away when you get to the ♈ symbols.
This is one of my holdovers from 2018 that I never got around to reviewing. This is also one of the few cases where I was able to read a book BEFORE the movie came out. And like all of my fellow readers out there, I assumed that this book came before the movie, as most of them do. Interestingly enough, I learned in this instance, that the screenplay for the movie was written first, and then Rachael Lippincott adapted it into a book that was still somehow released before the movie. She must have known that us readers would be chomping at the bit.
I saw the preview for this movie on Facebook and was practically sobbing and despite my normal propensity to avoid books that I know will make me cry, I immediately wanted to read this one.
Five Feet Apart tells the story of Stella Grant, a longtime sufferer of Cystic Fibrosis. Stella has been on the transplant list for a new set of lungs for years. She’s slowly working her way towards the top. The only thing that she has to do now, is carefully monitor her environment so she doesn’t pick up any infections that could jeopardize her chance at a new set of lungs. Enter Will Newman. Will, our resident Rebel-Without-A-Cause, also has Cystic Fibrosis. ♈ but he has a scary kind that prevents him from being added to the transplant list because even if he gets a new set of lungs, he’ll still end up with CF because of the particular strain that he has. As such, the doctors don’t want to waste a perfectly good set of lungs on someone that they know will only develop CF again ♈ Stella and Will end up at the same hospital. Stella (the carefully regimented girl who coded an app to help remind her which medicine she has to take and when and who follows all of the rules) initially struggles with Will (the ne’er-do-well who is just counting down the days until he is 18 so that he can refuse further treatments so that he can just go out and live what’s left of his life the way he wants to), though her exasperation soon turns to determination.
Stella doesn’t understand why Will isn’t doing every single thing he can think of to get better. And Will just cannot believe that Stella isn’t willing to live a little and relax the rules that she lives by every once in a while, especially considering how much CF has already taken from her.
“If I’m going to die, I’d like to actually live first.”
The problem with CFers, which is where the title of the book comes from, is that they have to remain 6 feet apart (yes, I know the title says 5 but you’ll just have to read it if you want this sentence to make sense 🙄) to prevent cross-contamination from other CFers who may have a different type of bacteria growing in their lungs.
This book was extremely informative on the subject of Cystic Fibrosis, but in a way that doesn’t make you feel like you’re learning. I had no idea how regimented Cystic Fibrosis patients had to be with not only their medication, but their physical activity and their physical contact with other people who suffer from the same disease. Hospital stays are routine for Stella and Will. Stella has a whole bag of stuff that she brings with her to liven up her hospital room every time she’s admitted due to her CF.
While the relationship between Stella and Will is cute, light, and relatively chaste, this is not something I would consider a light read. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely a good read and the book is filled with cute little zingers from both Stella and Will.
“He’s so cute, my lung function feels like it dropped another 10 percent.”
“If YouTube kept track of individual views, the police definitely would have been sent to my house by now, I’d seem like such a stalker.”
But if you’re looking for a typical HEA that you find in most romance novels, this might not be the book for you. But for those of you that can handle real life (and I don’t mean that in a patronizing way because I honestly don’t read a lot of heavy books just because reading is my escape and I read books that are uplifting just for that reason) definitely check this one out.
And in case you haven’t seen it yet, here is the movie trailer (pulled right from YouTube) for this fantastic story:
The release date is March 22nd so you guys still have plenty of time to check out the book if you are so inclined!