The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Harper Teen, 320 pages
Expected US Release Date: July 2, 2013
Format/Source: Print ARC, via Around the World ARC Tours - thank you!
Challenges: DAC 2013, SARC 2013, Contemporary Challenge
Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.
So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.
She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.
"Because I'm afraid that once you catch me, the game's over."
When I read Pivot Point by Kasie West, one of the things I loved about it was how it read like a contemporary even though it was a little bit paranormal/supernatural. If she can make a genre that's not contemporary be like one, how amazing would a real contemporary be when it's supposed to be?!
Answer: AMAZING. SO AMAZING.
It’s hard to describe how I felt while I was reading this book. I was just so filled with hope and love and terror that it wouldn’t work out and I went at it holding my breathe and just wishing with everything it would work out as I wanted. There are few books that make my heart feel both heavy and uplifted at once, but The Distance Between Us is definitely one of them.
There’s a certain flow to Kasie West’s writing that I just love. It was the same in Pivot Point – I fly through the pages and feel so swept up in everything. She has such a fluid writing style, I can go through half the book without even realizing I’m flipping pages.
I’ll put it out there that this book is kind of…cliché. I mean, rich vs. poor, oh no he’s too privileged and snooty to love me, etc…it’s pretty standard. The plot was never anything that surprised me – perhaps not how I expected it to go, but nothing that was out of left field or completely blew me off my feet. The love story was also kind of predictable, but at the same time I thought that was actually kind of a good thing. The way this book is written, it’s structure – it needs to have that predictable quality, where you know the two main characters will face some struggle and have to fight a little to try and be together.
Speaking of the main characters, oh my gosh I love Caymen and Xander. They were so, so adorable together and I wanted to have “career days” with them and good Lord I didn’t think I could love anyone as much as I love Trevor in Pivot Point but Xander may have stolen the show just a little bit. He’s so thoughtful and cute and creative and CAN HE PLEASE JUST BE REAL?!
Now that THAT’S out of the way…they really are fantastic together, even when they are just friends. Their banter back and forth is super cute, and I felt they fit well. A little too well, but not overbearingly, roll-my-eyes too well. I liked that she was so sarcastic and filled with jokes as a defense mechanism, and he just took it all in stride. He had just the right amount of tolerance mixed with patience and real interest in her, and I sincerely hope that my future relationship(s) will have the same kind of melding and respect there. Sure, Caymen had her doubts and insecurities when it came to Xander’s true feelings and why he would ever love “a girl like her” (aka, poor), but it was all reasonable doubts to have.
Characters I couldn’t stand: Caymen’s mom, and Tic. As people, I found her to be selfish and kind of disrespectful to her daughter, and he was just so icky and gross! Every time he came into the chapter I wanted to shove him out and tell him to take his wandering hands elsewhere. As characters in the book, I actually felt both to be a bit device-y and flat. I can immediately pick out how they’re going to influence the novel, and that kind of sucked.
But seriously, everything else about this book totally made up for it. I want to be a part of Caymen and Xander’s relationship (not in a weird way!). I want to hug them both and follow them on career days and clone Xander for myself. The Distance Between Us is one of those classic romantic contemporary novels that remind me why I absolutely love this genre so much.