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“I’m tired of living without really living. I’m tired of wanting things. We can’t have a lot of things. But we could have this,” Stella. –Five Feet Apart
Five Feet Apart
by Rachael Lippincott & Mikki Daughtry & Tobias Iaconis
AR Test, Strong Female Character
Stella Grant has cystic fibrosis, making her no stranger to hospitals and surgeries. Despite her precarious lung function, she’s pretty used to being in control. That is until a handsome hospital newcomer, Will Newman, arrives, sending Stella into a whirlwind of feelings she’s never experienced before. Feelings she didn’t think she’d ever get to experience.
Will is bad news for Stella. His floppy black hair and sea-blue eyes are no danger compared to his incredibly aggressive and contagious form of CF, B. Capaecia. Not to mention that he refuses to follow the doctor’s orders or participate fully in his treatments, which drives Stella absolutely mad.
A not-so-classic forbidden love story ensues. Stella and Will must figure out how to navigate their relationship while maintaining their required distance apart. With their feelings growing and changing, those five feet apart began to feel larger and larger.
Five Feet Apart is a sweet romance with elements of fierce friendship and family turmoil. Stella and Will start out seeing each other as complete opposites, but come to realize they have a lot in common. The most important thing they discover is how much they care for one another. Five Feet Apart is not only informative about Cystic Fibrosis, but also witty and entertaining.
Teens will be drawn into the character’s drama right from the start. Both Will and Stella are likeable characters, who have their quirks and unique attributes. The story alternates between Will and Stella’s point of view, which makes it hard not to feel for and relate to both characters.
Following the same type of formulas as The Fault in Our Stars and Everything, Everything, Lippincott delivers an emotional, easy-to read novel chronicling young love. Even though the story’s plot is familiar, Five Feet Apart is worth reading because it describes not only the common turmoil of teenage romance, but also puts these commonplace emotions in an uncommon setting, which makes the story thought-provoking and fresh. Romantic and heartwarming to the extreme, this book will command the reader’s attention from start to finish.
- Stella is resting during the evening, when she gazes “out the window as the afternoon fades and sees a couple about my age, laughing and kissing as they walk into the hospital.”
- Stella realizes that Will is letting his friends use his bed for sex. “Oh my god. Gross. He’s letting his friends do it in his room, like it’s a motel.” Stella confronts Will, saying “You letting your friends borrow your room for sex isn’t cute.” Will takes this to mean Stella has something against sex, to which Stella proclaims, “‘Of course not! I’ve had sex.’”
- Will is reflecting on his encounter with Stella and says she actually looked kind of hot.
- Stella is describing Poe’s romantic life. Stella describes his past relationships, “Before Michael it was Tim, the week after this it could be David.”
- Stella has convinced Will to follow his medicine regimen in exchange for her letting him draw her. She tells him there will be no nude drawings allowed.
- Will asks Poe if he and Stella have ever “hooked up.”
- Will jokes to Stella that since he can’t meet Bob Ross, he’ll “just have to settle for sex in the Vatican.”
- Stella is preparing for her first date with Will. Stella “put on some mascara and lip gloss, smiling at the idea of Will seeing me not just alive, but with makeup on, his blue eyes gazing at my gloss-covered lips. Would he want to kiss me?” She also enlists Poe’s help to pick out an outfit. “I pull out a pair of skimpy, silky boxers, eyeing them. I couldn’t. Could I?”
- Will and Stella are on their first date. While on the date, “She reaches for her silk tank top, her eyes fixed on mine as she pulls it slowly off to reveal a black lace bra. She drops the tank top onto the deck of the pool, my jaw going with it. Then she slips down her shorts, stepping carefully out of them and straightening up. Inviting me to look.” Will looks at her, but knows he can’t do anything more than that.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Will is reminiscing on his time in public high school, “where my old classmates are slowly chugging their way to finals.”
- Oh my god and my god are often used as exclamations.
- Stella says goodbye to her friends leaving for Cabo. “Your plane is at, like, the ass crack of dawn tomorrow.”
- Stella says the food at prom didn’t suck. She later says she’s been at this hospital for a “freaking decade”.
- All of the CF patients mention not wanting to “piss off” Barb, because she’s such a “hard ass”.
- Will and Stella often refer to their circumstances as shitty or bullshit.
- Will is dreaming about his future once he turns 18. “I could sketch the landscape, draw a final cartoon of me giving the middle finger to the universe, then bite the big one.”
- Damn is used often. Barb and the adults in the story often use “damn” when a surgery doesn’t go well.
- Fucking is used occasionally. Some examples are “Are you fucking kidding me,” “That is a complete mind-fuck,” and “All you see of me is my fucking disease.” For example, when Will is in a fight with his mother on his birthday, he screams “all you see of me is my fucking disease.”
- Poe and Stella call each other a bitch and an asshole during a fight. These words are only used in this encounter.
- Will finds Poe sitting in the hospital’s church. When Will asks why he’s there, Poe replies “My mom likes to see me in here. I’m Catholic, but she’s Catholic.”
- “So what do you think happens when we die?” Will asks Stella.
by Tori Gellman