Book Review: Five Feet Apart – Rachael Lippincott

Title: Five Feet Apart
Author: Rachael Lippincott
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication date: 10th January 2019 (UK)


Stella Grant likes to be in control – even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.

The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.

Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment.

What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?

Taken from NetGalley


When I started reading this book, I believed the rights had been purchased in order for it to me made into a film. It is only on finishing the book I’ve realised that it was actually written as a screenplay and then adapted into a book by Rachael Lippincott.

I point this out as, now that I know this, I have a better understanding of why this book is so problematic. 

When I first became aware of the book I was itching to get my hands on it. I am not afraid to say I am a huge fan of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, and I was pleased to see CF (Cystic Fibrosis) getting some coverage. Books like this go a long way to raising awareness of CF.

Sadly this book just didn’t do it for me. Initially, I was just frustrated with the prose, but this quickly progressed to the plot. I just couldn’t give myself over to it – there were too many things that were unbelievable and unrealistic. I couldn’t believe that two 17-year-olds could be thrown together in a chance encounter and fall helplessly in love to the point they were willing to risk their lives. The book tries to sell the idea that it was love – true love, love at first sight (and all those other overdone tropes) – but unfortunately, I wasn’t buying what they were selling.

In terms of character development, that was an opportunity missed. Most of the characters have a complicated background and their own motivations behind their behaviour, but there were just too many of them to get any depth. I would’ve liked to have seen some of them scaled back and others developed further so I could get more emotionally invested in the story.

When this was swiftly followed by a dodgy ending clearly intended to leave it open for a sequel I was grossly disappointed. I don’t want to spoil the ending but again, it’s not to be believed.

I am curious to know how close this book is to the screenplay. I hate writing negative reviews, and find it especially troublesome and problematic in a case like this where the novel has been adapted from the screenplay. Is it because they wanted to stay true to the screenplay, or because they had to? Is it just down to taking on something quite complex as a debut novel? I’m not sure what the answer is.

If Lippincott wrote another book I think I’d read it, but Five Feet Apart isn’t the advocate for CF I thought it’d be.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Comment below

Have you read Five Feet Apart? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

10 thoughts on “Book Review: Five Feet Apart – Rachael Lippincott

  1. Great review! I totally agree about the flat characters.

    The novelization seems like a lazy cash-grab, unfortunately. Movie adaptions always boost book sales, so why wouldn’t it work the other way around? It’s frustrating to see it on the shelves next to stories that authors spent years pouring their souls into.

    I didn’t read the book, but I saw the movie last weekend. I was also expecting it to be similar to The Fault In Our Stars, and I ended up so surprised and mad about the story’s messages that I went home and wrote an entire post about it. It’s just bad rep.

    Liked by 1 person

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