Review: The Distance Between Us

August 9, 2013 book review 5

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Release Date: July 2, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 320

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.

First off, I just want to say this is my first Kasie West novel–I know! I own PIVOT POINT and need to start it–and I was pleasantly surprised! I’m a big plot lover but the characterization of Caymen is what truly impressed me.

Caymen is your typical high school senior who is working way too hard to keep her little family afloat, never wanting to let her mom down. She works long shifts in her mother’s doll shop, willing to risk her education and her own dreams. In walks Xander, the heir to a 500 hotel chain franchise. Caymen has had it drilled into her that people like Xander would never want someone poor like her. In this worlds colliding novel, the two characters start a quest to find a future for each other that does not involve their predestined ones. Filled with highs, lows, and witty, sarcastic humor, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US is a great contemporary YA novel you can’t help but devour.

I’ll start off with Caymen. I loved her attitude. You can immediately tell how much she hates working in that creepy doll shop. You can tell that she’d much rather be doing other things but is willing to sacrifice her own fun for her single mother who is just trying to make ends meet. I loved the devotion she had to her mom. Even though her life wasn’t glamorous or her ideal version of fun, she still appreciated everything her mother did for her and never seemed to take anything for granted. But that certainly doesn’t mean she doesn’t have some of that teenage rebellion in her. Caymen is probably the most sarcastic person I have ever “met” in my life. She’s so quick to make a comment, she doesn’t miss a beat. I loved every remark that came out of her mouth. I’m very sarcastic and have the dry humor like she has but man, that girl is good. She comes up with the perfect thing to say at exactly the right moment. I usually think of good things, after the fact. (Fun fact: this is called “L’esprit de l’escalier“). Sometimes I did think that she got a bit whiny and jumped to conclusions way too soon but overall, she had a great head on her shoulders.

This brings me to Xander. Xander is the kind of guy you wish would walk into your place of work and fall in love with you. I mean really. Caymen gives him all these rich boy stereotypes that he just completely shoots down. He’s sweet, he’s super thoughtful–I wish I had a guy to bring me coffee on my way to school everyday!–he fires away sarcastic comments right back at Caymen, and he’s just the all around good guy you can’t help but love. I love how he never once looked down at Caymen for being someone not in his social class. Besides beckoning at her when they first met, he treats her with the same sort of respect he would treat his mother. He takes her on all these elaborate “career days” and when she takes him to a graveyard, he doesn’t even bat an eye. He enjoys spending time with her and could care less about the money issue. I do wish he would’ve stated his feelings for Caymen sooner. Although he did all the gestures that point exactly to that, girls can be silly and don’t believe anything until they hear it come from your mouth. If he had said something sooner, I feel like a bunch of the drama that took place could have been avoided–see above mentioned jumping to conclusions part.

As Jess said in her review of this book, we miss out on a lot of the relationship building between these two characters. She says it more eloquently than I could. Here’s the gist: we know they have feelings for each other, it’s super obvious, but we don’t get to see those feelings evolve into something more. Again, check Jess’ review for better explanation! I did love the plot of the story, though. I loved the idea of these two perfect strangers planning fun “career days” for each other. These showed just how much they paid attention to each other. Each day was unique and let their personalities shine. I think this is a great way to truly get to know someone!

Aside from the great characters and plot, West teaches the readers a very important lesson. Firstly, don’t judge a book by its cover. Always take the time to get to know somebody, they may surprise you. Next, take time for yourself. While it’s nice to make others happy, you have to make yourself happy too. Do what you love and take some risks. And lastly, learn forgiveness. One of my all time favorite things about YA novels are the moral lessons that are in embedded in them. I adore authors who take the time to show true character growth and learning. It’s what life is all about. Although I did have some slight issues with it, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US was a highly enjoyable read that I would recommend to any YA contemporary fan!

4.5 Thought Clouds!


5 Responses to “Review: The Distance Between Us”

  1. Nara

    I loved Caymen as well. She was so snarky and hilarious. I did find, though, that she was perhaps a bit too insecure and somewhat annoying in the middle of the book. It was definitely frustrating how she jumped to conclusions, although not overly surprising considering her personality, I suppose.
    And XAAAAANDER! <3 <3 *incoherent babbling*

    p.s. You should definitely read Pivot Point soon! It’s absolutely amazing, and I would say better than The Distance Between Us!

  2. Natalie Natflixandbooks

    I really enjoyed this story, too. One of my favorite parts was the relationship with her mother. It’s so rare to find a realistic mother/daughter relationship in YA and I think West nailed it. I did love both Caymen and Xander and thought their story was cute. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the ending, but overall I think this was a great contemp romance. (And Pivot Point is awesome–just saying.) Great review!

  3. Cait

    I SO want this book. AGGHH! Every time I hop onto your blog I end up coming away needing (a.k.a desperately dying to read) another book. 😉 You’re awesome.

  4. The Reading Nook Reviews

    Ahh, thank you for linking my review! <3

    I’m so glad you liked Caymen – she had such a smart, “Ok, this is my life attitude”, but she also wasn’t afraid to be snarky. 😀

    Hmmm. I have an extra copy of pivot point somewhere?

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