Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott with Mikki Daughtry & Tobias Iaconis is the story of two teenagers who have Cystic Fibrosis.
The story is told from the perspective of both Stella and Willis, each of them narrating their own chapters. Reading a story about two kids who’s lives almost depend on access to a ventilator might not have been the ideal choice during the beginning of the COVID pandemic, but at the same time it also helped make the story have some perspective that there are people who require these lifesaving devices regularly.
World building is pretty good. The majority of the story takes place inside a hospital. Stella is very familiar with the hospital and from the beginning you can see that she’s been there many times. I always felt like I was walking through the halls with her whenever she was narrating her chapters.
Character development is present in this story, unlike most stories of this type I saw both main characters changing and growing. In the end one did have more growth than the other but I loved seeing both of them grow to overcome their obstacles. I didn’t find myself getting to attached to the main characters, as per my usual I found the secondary characters to have more depth and interesting stories… I do think that was done for a reason though here.
For relationships there is the expected love story, it’s to me not anything new or unexpected. I expect there to be hard love in a story like this. There was, and at times it was very moving… But there are also some deeply fierce friendships that I loved. I felt like these mattered more to me during the story than the love parts. Stella has been coming to this hospital for a long time so she’s become great friends with even the nurses, and at times those around her in the hospital feel more like her family. It’s great and I really loved the different relationships in this story.
Emotions aren’t as abundant as I expected. I did cry a few times throughout but not all for sad reasons. I found a lot of moments sweet or touching and they’d bring a few tears. That doesn’t mean this story isn’t sad, because it definitely is… in the way you are expecting but maybe not the who. I was expecting something bad to happen, so I wasn’t completely surprised, but it put since tears in my eyes. Unfortunately, the emotion is not strongly developed and is quickly onto the next scene so there was no being crushed through the end of the story.
The Pace of the story is good. There aren’t any major time jumps or crazy long scenes. At times I do wish some of the scenes would have been longer, where the author just seemed to skim over a topic and move on to the next part of the story. I thing slowing some scenes down, adding some more emotion or drawing out the scenes better would have made for a more emotional story.
Overall, I give this book 4 stars out of 5. It was a good story, but could have definitely played up on the emotions of the characters more. I highly recommend this story to anyone who is interested in these types of stories. It should be right in your wheel-house.