Thursday, 24 January 2019

Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott

Five Feet Apart
by Rachael Lippincott
Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis 

Summary: Can you love someone you can never touch? 
Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions. 
The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals. 
Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment. 
What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?

I don't normally read "sick kid" books. There are exceptions, but in general they tend to bother me, so I avoid them. But two things made me give this one a chance:

The movie trailer and Claire Wineland. The trailer was cute, and Claire... Well, Claire Wineland was a young woman with CF. She made Youtube videos, most about what it was like to be a sick kid and to grow up spending so much time in hospitals. Unfortunately, Claire died a few months back due to post-op complications from her lung transplant. But the story (or at least the character) was, in part, inspired by her and she was a consultant on the movie/book.

I know this is supposed to be a review of the book, but that context is important to explain my opinion of the book: what I'm trying to say is, I trusted this story because of Claire, and I'm glad I did because I really liked it. 

It wasn't perfect. There were definitely things about it I didn't like (it does romanticize the sick kid thing a bit, as Sick Kid books tend to) and glosses over some things, the love story was a little rushed, and it contains a certain LGBTQ+ trope that bothers me so much.

But... I loved the characters, and the story made my heart break in unexpected ways. The bits of the story that were inspired by Claire were clear, and it's like that breathed a realistic humanity into the book that it would've been otherwise lacking.

I'm really looking forward to seeing how the movie measures up. I'd rate the book 3.5 stars out of 5, but if I had to round it then it'd get a 4.


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