Five Feet Apart - Summary

Rachael Lippincott

Five Feet Apart Book Cover


In the captivating novel “Five Feet Apart” by Rachael Lippincott, the author delves into the lives of two teenagers, Stella and Will, who are both battling cystic fibrosis (CF). This heartwrenching story takes readers on an emotional rollercoaster as Stella and Will navigate the challenges of their illness while also discovering the power of love and human connection. Through the use of vivid storytelling and relatable characters, Lippincott sheds light on the realities of living with CF and the importance of cherishing every moment.

Stella and Will: Two Lives Intertwined

Stella Grant, a seventeen-year-old girl, is the protagonist of the story. She is determined, organized, and fiercely independent. Stella’s daily routine revolves around her treatments, medications, and maintaining a strict distance of six feet from other CF patients to avoid cross-infection. However, her world is turned upside down when she meets Will Newman, a rebellious and charming boy who also has CF.

The Forbidden Connection

As Stella and Will grow closer, they find solace in each other’s company and develop a deep bond. However, due to the risk of cross-infection, they must maintain a distance of at least six feet apart at all times. This restriction becomes increasingly challenging for both characters as their feelings for each other intensify. Lippincott masterfully portrays the internal struggle faced by Stella and Will as they grapple with the desire to be close while also prioritizing their health.

The Power of Human Connection

Through Stella and Will’s relationship, Lippincott emphasizes the importance of human connection, even in the face of adversity. Despite the physical barriers imposed by their illness, Stella and Will find ways to support and understand each other. Their connection serves as a reminder that love and friendship can provide immense strength and comfort, even in the most challenging circumstances.

The Reality of Cystic Fibrosis

Lippincott provides readers with a realistic portrayal of cystic fibrosis throughout the novel. She incorporates accurate medical information, shedding light on the daily struggles faced by individuals with CF. From the constant need for treatments and medications to the fear of infection and limited life expectancy, Lippincott highlights the physical and emotional toll that CF takes on those affected by it.

An Emotional Rollercoaster

“Five Feet Apart” is an emotional rollercoaster that tugs at the heartstrings of readers. Lippincott skillfully weaves together moments of joy, heartbreak, and hope, creating a narrative that keeps readers engaged from beginning to end. The story is filled with unexpected twists and turns that leave a lasting impact on the reader, making it difficult to put the book down.

Themes of Hope and Resilience

Amidst the challenges faced by Stella and Will, themes of hope and resilience shine through. Lippincott explores the power of hope in overcoming adversity and the strength that can be found within oneself. Stella and Will’s determination to live their lives to the fullest despite their illness serves as an inspiration to readers, reminding them of the importance of embracing every moment.

Supporting Characters: A Tapestry of Relationships

Lippincott skillfully develops a cast of supporting characters that add depth and complexity to the story. From Stella’s best friend Poe, who also has CF, to Nurse Barb, who provides guidance and support, each character plays a significant role in Stella and Will’s journey. These relationships further emphasize the importance of human connection and the impact it can have on one’s life.

The Impact of Loss

Loss is a prevalent theme in “Five Feet Apart.” Lippincott explores the grief and pain experienced by Stella and Will as they witness the deterioration of their health and the loss of fellow CF patients. The author sensitively portrays the emotional toll that loss takes on individuals and the lasting impact it has on their lives.

The Power of Love

Love is a central theme in the novel, transcending the boundaries imposed by CF. Stella and Will’s love for each other serves as a beacon of hope and demonstrates the transformative power of love in the face of adversity. Lippincott beautifully captures the intensity and purity of their love, leaving readers rooting for their happiness.


In “Five Feet Apart,” Rachael Lippincott delivers a poignant and thought-provoking story that explores the realities of living with cystic fibrosis. Through the compelling characters of Stella and Will, Lippincott highlights the power of human connection, the importance of hope and resilience, and the transformative nature of love. This book is a must-read for anyone seeking an emotional and engaging tale that will leave a lasting impact.

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