A review of Five Feet Apart by Rachel Lippincott

Reviewed by Emily McDonell

Five Feet Apart
by Rachel Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry,  Tobias Iaconis
Simon & Schuster Children’s UK
March 1, 2019, 288 pages, ISBN13: 9781471184505

Calling all romantic-comedy and tear-jerker lovers! Five Feet Apart is for you! With a very ‘When Harry met Sally’ style romance and filled with beautiful, albeit, sad moments. Five Feet Apart is a gorgeous YA novel, with similar aspects to John Greens’ The Fault in Our Stars.

We meet Will Newman and Stella Grant, both with out-of-control lungs, each with different views on their way of controlling their fate. With Will’s desire to travel and escape the white-washed walls of frequent hospital visits and Stella’s need for order, control and constant regulations. When the pair meet, the rule of six feet apart (at all times) seems just too much. After all, can you love someone you can never touch? 

The book’s chapters alternate between both main characters (Will and Stella) which I quite enjoyed, and also further cemented the opposites attract dynamic between the two as the story progresses. Additionally, character development is done in a simply sweet manner and can allow the reader to sympathise. The authors of Five Feet Apart, Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis, create a family atmosphere as we come to care for these characters and discover more about them, with side-characters and parental relationships providing an interesting dialogue and insight to these characters thoughts and lives.

Five Feet Apart brings in unexpected moments as well, which I won’t go into detail about. But needless to say, I was a little shocked at certain scenes. These parts of the book both balance and juxtapose the lighter/happier aspects, and therefore almost complement each other. As we read on, Will and Stella fall for each other and struggle to come to terms with balancing their newfound romance and ongoing battle with CF. We also learn more about the secrets and pasts of Will and Stella, Will’s mixed feelings about his parents and Stella’s determination to honour her sister and maintain control of her parents and friends.

Despite common reviews, Five Feet Apart differs from The Fault In Our Stars, although the main characters do have a form of serious lung infection, the story itself is different. I would, however, recommend Five Feet Apart as a form of ‘gateway read’ to books such as The Fault In Our Stars which present heavier themes. Overall, I found this novel to be a quick read, perfect for those looking for a new book-to-movie adventure. I would give an age bracket of 13+ for this text. I found Five Feet Apart heart-warming and filled with sweet moments.

About the reviewer: Emily McDonell was first prize winner in the Hunter Writers’ Centre/Compulsive Reader book review competition. She is a high school student, an avid reader and has a passion for books. It was clear from a very early age that books would play a large part in her life. Emily has participated in the Premier’s Reading Challenge since starting her schooling and her favourite subject is English. Emily has also been a Girl Guide for the past nine years and is currently working to complete her Queen’s Guide Award. Emily also loves animals especially her dog Jersey.