“Everyone in this world is breathing borrowed air.” Rachael Lippincott, Five Feet Apart
I have to give a little bit of a preamble before I get into this review. Firstly, I want to point out that I do not know anyone on a personal level with cystic fibrosis. Secondly, I am writing this review based off the way that this book made me feel, not based off of its medical accuracy or how realistic the story was. That being said, this book was a solid 4.5/5 stars for me.
I read this book in the middle of what us readers call a “reading slump”…for me, a reading slump means that I find myself doing unnecessary household tasks instead of reading my book. After about a week of that, I picked up Five Feet Apart in hopes of finding a story that captivated me. I can happily say that it did exactly that and more!
This story possessed strong, relatable characters that felt like friends by the end of it. I could see so much of myself in Stella and her desire to do everything right to keep herself alive (where are my other enneagram 1’s at?). And I also saw so much of my husband in Will, a kid who gave up trying simply because he was tired of being told what to do. An unlikely pair, maybe, but their differences and chemistry made for a good ole tug at your heartstrings young adult masterpiece.
The story was written in dual POV and, while that can sometimes be overwhelming for me in a book, Five Feet Apart mastered it by allowing us to get into the head of each character without overlapping the story. I liked how one chapter would end in Stella’s perspective and pick up seconds later in Will’s. The story flowed seamlessly and allowed me to feel like I was friends with both of the main characters, just doing life by their side. I felt a great amount of affection for both Will and Stella and was able to connect with their ups, downs, triumphs and frustrations.
The most gut wrenching part of this story for me was learning just how isolating cystic fibrosis is. The story really brought to life the struggle of not being able to show any physical affection toward the only people who know what you’re combatting on a daily basis. I have the luxury of not having to live with something so isolating, and feeling the emotions that Will and Stella and Poe feel through the book really shattered my soul. The world really needs to know more about this disease and work toward a cure.
Any book that can evoke so much emotion from me is a win in my book. I am not one to cry while reading, but this one definitely filled my eyes with tears more than once. I learned so much, felt so much, and will absolutely recommend this one to everyone who enjoys a good story.