Contemporary Realistic Fiction · Review · Young Adult

Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott with Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis | Book Review

Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott with Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis on a floral background

Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR

Pub. Date: 2018

Genres: Contemporary Realistic Fiction, Young Adult

Pages: 276

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Rachael Lippincott’s Five Feet Apart is adapted from Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis’s screenplay of the same name. It’s a love story between two teens who have cystic fibrosis (a.k.a. CF), and they must remain six feet apart to protect their health. One of them is a YouTuber who makes a video-diary of her life, and the other pushes back against his mom’s insistence on trying every possible treatment that could cure him. It’s a pretty good novelization of a movie.

As far as movie novelizations go, I tend to dislike them because they generally seem to not add much or just seem to be a play-by-play of the movie. While I haven’t seen Five Feet Apart, the movie, the book overall feels like a complete novel. It does feel more plot driven, or at least that it’s trying very hard to make certain events happen. That could be due to adaptation or a good number of clichés.

Because the book focuses on the life of people with cystic fibrosis, its representation should be discussed, but I cannot speak to the accuracy of anything to do with the representation of life with cystic fibrosis. However, these other people have more authority than I do: Katherine from readwithkat, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation discussion guide for the movie, and the ten people with CF who commented on the movie for The Cut.

Now let’s talk about the characters. Stella Grant is the YouTuber and is developing an app to track your medications and is in line for a lung transplant. She likes to be in control of her life, especially after a recent tragic event. I like that she goes over memories about one of her CFer friends and some of the nurses.

Will Newman is a rich kid who has been to a lot different hospitals, and this time he’s going to the one Stella is at for a new drug trial. He’s accepted that he is likely to die, and he is rebelling against his mom’s pushing him to be in the trial. He has some sneaky tricks up his sleeve, but I dislike some of his behavior considering his growing up with the six-feet-apart rule. I like how his character changes through the book, though I couldn’t stop imagining Cole Sprouse in the role.

For the rest of the book, I liked Will and Stella’s relationship and some of the details that were included about life with CF. I can live with how their relationship progresses if it’s kind of predictable plot-wise. I like that there’s some video-calling and that they fight to be together. It was interesting to read details about G-tubes and other things that may be dealt with. I liked reading details of things that I don’t think about as being part of CF healthcare, but I don’t know how well this represents life with CF.

At the risk of spoiling the novel, there is a death, which I expected to happen in some fashion. I am just not thrilled about the timing or the character chosen. It struck me as this character falling into clichés or not having value beyond causing a plot point to happen. That’s not character development.

Finally, the book cover shown above is a nice touch because I imagine it to be the painting Stella hangs in her hospital room. It’s a gift from her sister, and it’s pretty.

Five Feet Apart is a good novelization of a movie. It’s another take on sick teens who fall in love. If you’re looking for romance, this is a good book to read, if cliché.


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