Rachael Lippincott's Five Feet Apart is a story about falling in love with someone who is both completely right and fundamentally wrong. Stella Grant is a teenager with a very un-teenage life. She has cystic fibrosis (CF), a disease which causes her lungs to fill with fluid, making it difficult to breathe. Her constant trips to the hospital have created a life separate from her peers with activities much different from a typical teenager. Stella is waiting for a new set of lungs and following all of the protocol required to keep her alive in the meantime. She designs a phone app to keep her medications organized and does her best to stay upbeat.
Will Newman also has CF. He is new to the hospital and immediately intriguing to Stella. Because their immune systems are compromised and infection could lead to death, CF patients are supposed to stay at least six feet apart from one another to prevent the spreading of germs that could lead to cross contamination and infections. As interesting as Stella finds Will, she knows she has to keep her distance.
While she awaits her new lungs, it's more important than ever to stay healthy. She won't be a viable transplant recipient if there's any chance she has a fever. At the same time, she gets to know Will, and the closer they become emotionally, the harder it is to stay physically apart. They've had very similar experiences and it's refreshing to meet someone else who's been through the same struggles—especially when they're so emotionally draining. Stella can tell Will things she's never dreamed of telling her sometimes-friends at school. He becomes a close confidant, leading to urges on both fo their parts to touch.
Will and Stella have very different approaches to dealing with their illnesses. Stella does everything just right so that she can enjoy her new set of lungs. Will is saddled with a type of CF that is so severe it will reoccur even if he gets a transplant, so he's not put on the list. Since he knows that his death in inevitable, Will does whatever he can to live while he's still alive. Will is counting down the days until he turns 18 and can cease treatment. He doesn't want to spend anymore time in a hospital.
Stella wants to convince Will to take his treatment more seriously while Will hopes to get her to lighten up. He eventually gets her to agree to get a little...
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