“Five Feet Apart” by Rachael Lippincott

Thanks to Simon and Schuster UK and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

This short YA novel follows the story of Stella and Will, two characters suffering from Cystic Fibrosis (or CF) who meet whilst undergoing treatment in hospital. The novel follows their burgeoning relationship and the struggles they both experience with their individual forms of CF.

It was interesting to read this novel and find out a little more about CF. I have known people who have lived with this disorder but wasn’t fully aware of some of the ins and outs of the actual treatments. This novel treats these sympathetically if in a rather sanitised way.

This novel will feel real to a lot of young people with its references to modern technology and it was refreshing to have a YA female lead who was a coder developing an innovative new app. I felt this thread of the story was quickly abandoned once the romance element began however which was a shame.

The novel also explores issues of grief and loss and the conflict between choosing to live a free life or taking a gamble on continuing medical treatment.

My main issues were that the romance element of the story was rather underwhelming. I’m still not very sure why Stella and Will fell for one another as there didn’t seem to be much chemistry between them. The plot was perhaps also a little too similar to other novels of this genre. I can’t really discuss what my main issue with this novel was without spoiling it although it is discussed in numerous other reviews. It was disappointing to see a tired trope rear its head yet again so that the main character’s story could move forward.

Overall it was an enjoyable enough novel somewhat spoiled by events towards the end. The cover is absolutely gorgeous and I like how it links into the pictures Abby drew for Stella in the novel. The main and supporting characters were likeable and it was interesting to learn a little more about cystic fibrosis and its treatment. Here’s hoping we see a cure for it in the future.

I understand this book is soon to be a movie. I’ve included a link to the trailer below. It actually looks quite sweet and maybe it will work better in this format.

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