C.G. Drews's Reviews > Five Feet Apart

Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott
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bookshelves: contemporary, read-2019, young-adult, disability

I am always super keen to read books with disability rep! I think YA needs way more disability narratives, and this features two teens with cystic fibrosis. It also has a curious origin story because, from what I understand, it was written off the screen play...so the movie came first?! I would like to see the movie still and could totally imagine Will as Cole Sprouse (Jughead vibes lmao) the whole time.

The story: It's sad, but like of course it's going to be. And it's really easy to be invested in the story. Will self-destructive acts and Stella's obsessive controlling could easily make them unsympathetic characters...and like I did struggle with how Will has every opportunity given to help him and he scorns them because he can't "do whatever he wants". But the kid is depressed. I mean. He's living with a countdown to his death over his head and he deals with it by being difficult. Stella is the same, but with the added weight of trying to hold her parents' marriage together, and her forced perkiness was exhausting. I reeeally felt for her.

And like ok it follows a very formulaic route for sick-lit. It had total TFIOS vibes. The ultimate "forbidden romance" because CF patients can't touch. So of course they flirt around the edges of the rules until the weight of their fates is crushing them into making bad decisions.


➸ Let's talk about the themes though... I think this needs to be said: when you write books about illnesses/disabilities and infuse them with the message of "you're not living unless you're EXPERIENCING THE WORLD!" you automatically go into a red-danger-zone in my opinion. I had this problem with Everything, Everything. Please please don't leave kids and teens with this message. I can only see it as harmful. You can have a beautiful and full life even if you're not abled. And Will and Stella's quick slide into romance was believable (they're in a hospital together! They're bored! They want a distraction from their heavy fates!), but I'm old and jaded so I guess the whole "I don't care about living! I wanna kiss you!" thing is very difficult for me not to roll my eyes at. I kind of want to clap in their faces and get some sense into them. But I think the book is supposed to be a depressing love story so ok.

Also full warning for a problematic trope that appears... (view spoiler)


I liked it, but I'm cautious of it, if that makes sense. I think the characters were winning and it was great to learn more details about CF and analyse the ways Stella and Will chose to deal with it psychologically. But the problematic stuff is a worry.
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Reading Progress

February 19, 2019 – Shelved
February 19, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
February 24, 2019 – Started Reading
February 25, 2019 – Shelved as: contemporary
February 25, 2019 – Shelved as: read-2019
February 25, 2019 – Shelved as: young-adult
February 25, 2019 – Shelved as: disability
February 25, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-15 of 15 (15 new)

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message 1: by rachel ☾ (new)

rachel ☾ *exhausted sigh* at the spoiler. i swear to god, if i have to read that one more time this year i will RIOT


message 2: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews I'm actually shocked. I mean I shouldn't be?? But it's twenty freaking nineteen. When are books going to stop being problematic.


message 3: by rachel ☾ (new)

rachel ☾ i wish i could still be shocked about this but i just heard that another hyped 2019 released did it too. i feel like it we'll be fighting this forever 😔


message 4: by Jess (new)

Jess Crafts Ugh. I hate pretty much all the popular sick lit stuff. It's so harmful. We get to live happy lives without nearly killing ourselves. Also wow. Killing the gay poc just proves how out of touch this book is to 2019


message 5: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Rachel: was it 4 Dead Queens? I'm nervous to read it now😔

@Jess: omg I know right? people do not have to live abled lives to have a *good* life. But at least all the white/straight kids are safe 🙃


message 6: by Ely (new)

Ely Honestly, I've been disabled my entire life and I feel pretty okay with the way my life is going even without a forbidden romance that ends with one of us dying.


message 7: by Teddy (new)

Teddy oof, as a disabled queer person, this does NOT sound like a book i want to read. thank you for the forewarning, it's coming off my tbr!!!


message 8: by evi (new)

evi I was wondering about your thoughts on this book after I saw that you’d added it- I follow Elsie Tellier on IG and she dismantles this book really well as someone w CF.


message 9: by Finn Longman (new)

Finn Longman I was wary of this one anyway, and wasn't sure it'd be something I'd like because I'm very over romance, particularly with a terminal/chronic illness setup. What you said under the spoiler tag makes it clear it's not one I'd enjoy, so I'll be passing this one over.


message 10: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Ely: I hear you completely. I'm over it...it's like Everything Everything all over again and I always wonder if anyone with actual chronic illnesses/disabilities is talked to before these books are written.

@Teddy: very fair! in retrospect I'm having trouble feeling much for the good parts now even.


message 11: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Evi: oh I'll go see what she says! I really want to hear what people with CF are saying.

@Miriam: it's like...2019...it's hard to believe authors are continually reusing this trope unless they purely don't care?


message 12: by rachel ☾ (new)

rachel ☾ @cait: yep, it was 4 dead queens. i'm was so excited for it!! whyyy do they keep doing that??


Kelly Brigid ♡ Great review! I enjoyed this one, but definitely agree that the whole "you aren't living unless you're experience the world" message can be harmful!


Mylien Lai I don't understand how the problematic trope is problematic. NOT IN A BAD WAY. I just don't understand and I would really really appreciate it if someone explained it to me. I am not defending the trope at all. I can see a little bit why, but I'm sorry. I don't get the whole picture. Could someone help me?


message 15: by Starlight (new) - added it

Starlight  gold did you see the movie ?


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