Friday, January 31, 2014

Review: The Distance Between Us

The Distance Between Us
Author: Kasie West
Published: July 2, 2013
Paperback, 320 pages
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

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.

This is the perfect book to read in one day when you want something sweet to devour. This has everything you'd want from a YA contemporary: two people from different worlds, disapproving families, and just look at that cover! Caymen is a cute character living with her mom above the porcelain doll store they own, serving the rich they both detest. After a rich boy left Caymen's mom high, dry and pregnant, she swore she'd never deal with them again, but they do pay her bills. Caymen keeps the same attitude about them until Xander walks in to pick up a doll for his grandmother. One look at him tells her he's stinking rich, but his charming personality keeps her thinking about him long after he leaves. And when he keeps coming back and keeps walking her to school, she can't seem to stop wanting to be near him. The more time she spends with him, non dates where they practice different career paths, the more she finds herself liking him. She knows she shouldn't be hanging out with him, especially since finding out his dad owns a hotel and that he may be dating an actress, and she certainly can't tell her mom about him.

There is nothing ground breaking about this book. A story of a poor girl and a rich boy is nothing new. But the way their love plays out is so real, so enduring, that it doesn't matter. I didn't pick it up because I thought it was never done before, though there were parts near the end that surprised me an made me love it even more. Xander is your stereotypical rich kid, not wanting to follow in his father's footsteps and just wanting his own life. But he's good to her and his family accepts her and it's refreshing that this wasn't part of the sub plot. It's the opposite of what you'd expect really, it's Caymen's mom that doesn't want her daughter dating a rich boy. She'd rather Caymen go out with the starving artist covered in tattoos. Her mom has her own reasons and Caymen soon discovers why her mom is so stressed and not eating very well. But Caymen and Xander are real to me. They grow together slowly, hanging out on the walk to school, fleeting moments that end up meaning more than they thought they would. Their career dates are a cute touch that I've never read in any other book. They find different careers to explore: gravediggers, photographers, etc. These dates bring them together, draw out a love that wouldn't have happened if he didn't walk into her shop. And that's how love works, it creeps up on you until there's no room in your heart for anyone other than them. It's not planned, it's not instant, but it's real.

Two worlds converge in one in this soft romance that shows the importance of family. You find out who is really there for you when you need them and that some people who you never thought would help can be the best resources. Xander and Caymen are sweet and adorable, their interactions feel real and the small moments between them made me smile. The secondary characters are fun and come alive off the pages and the ending was so unexpected that it gave me a whole other feeling towards this book. West is a strong writer, her words and dialogue play out like a movie and she can certainly write young first love like a champ. If you're looking for a light read with a bit of drama, a bit of tears, and a whole lot of love, this is definitely one to pick up. 

“You two are the most in-love not-dating people I’ve met.” 

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