Five Feet Apart : Teen Love or Fantasy

Five Feet Apart

Author: Rachael Lippincott
Buy: Kindle Edition
Genre: young adult, romance, chronic illness

A little about Five Feet Apart

Five Feet Apart is about three teenagers with cystic fibrosis, each with dreams and hope for the future, battling out with reality. To me, that is what it seems like. I know that the book is now in a motion picture, and maybe you want to watch it instead of reading it.


Stella Grant: the girl in the story, YouTuber who documents her life as a cystic fibrosis sufferer. Stella is a picture of positivity and she is on the transplant list for a new set of working lungs.

Will Newman: the teenage guy with Burkholderia cepacia in his cystic fibrosis lungs. His mom wants him on a special trial to help with his condition. But the B Cepacia is deadly if your lungs are not working at 100%. Will isn’t on the transplant list, and he’s waiting to turn 18 so he can live his life before choking to death.

Poe: the cystic fibrosis sufferer and the only openly homosexual character. Cue best friend and … you know

Five Feet Apart, isn’t it supposed to be six feet apart?

Yes, Stella Grant has to remain six feet apart from people, in case she catches something that knocks her off the transplant list. Six feet is 180 meters, so that’s pretty much Covid restrictions right there, constantly. Stella is a positive, cup half- full kind of girl. Her YouTube channel documents her life as a cystic fibrosis sufferer, and it has given her the drive to go on. Plus, a little bit of education goes a long way for raising awareness.

Then you have Will Newman, the classic bad boy of the story. He is waiting to reach 18 years old, so that he can walk out of the hospital and deny treatments. He wants to start living, not just surviving. Of course, when you put a bad boy with a good girl, sparks fly in YA. Not to mention that, since they are the only three people in the CF ward, things happen, right? He’s the challenger of rules, the “I don’t care what happens to me” attitude grates on Stella a lot.

Poe is the only person who is sane, probably a little silly. He has dreams to fulfill, but he is a good friend and the victim of YA story lines. If you read enough YA, no surprise.

So it is bad or good?

It is a young adult who still romanticises situations like chronic illness. While it is good to have an appropriate description of what happens to a Cystic fibrosis person, the romance part can seem unrealistic. Stella suffers a few emotional trauma, and she goes from control freak to rebellious? Check. Will has a sudden understanding of how life is not worth living without love. What about his mom?

I mean, trust the author to completely forgot that Will’s mom worked her ass off to put him in a trial that could save his life, and yet he wants to live for a chick he met not more than a year? Elsa of Arendale will frown at this. Yes, this is completely a two-dimensional character growth, simplified love story between two very sick people.


It’s a meh from me. While it is great to have awareness on how a medical condition can affect someone’s life, literally, this version is sanitised. Reality of a cystic fibrosis sufferer is more than just YouTube and avoiding getting sick. And I have a hard time believing that Stella would spend 17 years being strict with the six feet rule, and suddenly changes her mind because a cute guy tells her to live a little.

But then again, this is teenage years….

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