As a reader, I always find myself in the book vs. movie argument. And let's face it folks, the book is ALWAYS better. So I found myself in a conundrum when I received Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott in my last @secondstarlit box, because this book is actually based on a screenplay. Which will be better? It's like the chicken and the egg. Is the book always better because it came first? Will the movie Five Feet Apart be better because it was written as a screenplay??! We will have to wait until March to find out!
I want to start with the purpose of this book (and screenplay.) Since I received it as part of a book box, I also received a little note from the author, which gave me a bit of insight. This story was intended to bring awareness to CF, Cystic Fibrosis. I've heard of the disease but it has never touched someone I know. So I encourage you to click the links I've left throughout my review and read up a bit on CF, and pick up the book while you're at it!
Stella has Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic disease which causes mucus to build up in the body and lungs, eventually leading to lung damage and respiratory failure. She has dealt with her disease by becoming obsessive in her treatment routines, putting her health above all else in her life, waiting with each breath that shortens her life for a new set of lungs.
Will has CF and B. cepacia, an antibiotic resistant bacteria which not only shortens his life further, but removes him from the transplant list. His mother has taken him to specialists all over the world, making his life one long string of clinical trials, in a desperate crusade to prolong his life. But Will has given up. He just wants to live in the short amount of time he has left, to see the world outside of a hospital room.
Will's total disregard for his treatment irritates Stella so much that she cannot focus on her own. So she makes a deal with him. She will let him draw her (Will spends the long hours in the hospital drawing cartoons) in exchange for letting her control his treatments. But there's a big problem. B. cepacia is so contagious, and so dangerous for CFers, that they must stay 6 feet apart at all times. Can Will and Stella maintain a careful distance while growing closer and closer?
This book scared me a little. I'm not a big Nicholas Sparks fan, and this felt like one of his stories. The entire time you're reading it, you're waiting on the other shoe to drop, one of the characters you love to die. I love a happy ending, so while those books are wonderful, I don't ever pick them up, and I certainly never read one twice!
I won't give anything away because I'm #antispoiler! But I will tell you that if you like Nicholas Sparks, you will love this book. You will adore Stella and Will, and pretty much every other character in this book. The bad guy, for a change, is not a person at all, but a disease. It's extremely well written and I wouldn't change a thing. While I'm not a particular fan of this genre, I still give it a 5/5, I would most definitely recommend it to a friend!