(November 20th 2018 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Can you love someone you can never touch?
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?
Stella and Will meet and fall in love without getting within five feet of each other. Both of them are in the hospital because they are dealing with CF complications. Stella is trying to fight infection so she can stay healthy and on the transplant list – Will is on yet another medical trial to combat the deadly bacteria that has taken residence in his body, one that has taken him off the transplant list. Yet – though everything is stacked against them – they fall in love.
“I know in that moment, even though it could not be more ridiculous, that if I die in there, I won’t die without falling in love.”
I don’t know much about Cystic Fibrosis but from my understanding, the author did a good job of realistically portraying the condition. It is not glamourized and it is real. It makes you want to scream at the unfairness of it all. This story breaks your heart but there was was no other way to tell it.
Aside from the emotional aspects, it does deal with terminal illness, death and family issues. I would suggest it for ages 14 and up.