|The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Release Date: July 2, 2013
Source: Digital Copy
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound
|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.
I love love loved West’s first novel, Pivot Point, so I was super stoked for her YA contemporary coming out this summer. I was a little nervous because Pivot Point is sci-fi and sometimes it’s difficult for authors to bridge the gap from sci-fi/supernatural/fun to contemporary and vice versa. But West did a marvelous job. Not only did she bring the wit that was present in Pivot Point but she also brought in a new quirkiness that I haven’t really seen in YA contemporary before aside from the lovely Stephanie Perkins. It was totally refreshing and just what I needed after a summer inundated with [fabulous and amazing] high fantasy novels.
We meet Caymen while she’s working at her mother’s doll shop. That’s right — a bona-fide porcelain doll shop. While Caymen doesn’t necessarily hate it, she understands how kind of crazy it is for her mother to have this place in today’s economy. Porcelain dolls aren’t that popular and — if you watch Pretty Little Liars you know — they’re kind of creepy too. So while they’re scraping by and Caymen understands that this is their only form of income, she knows that there’s got to be something better out there for her. That something better might come in the form of a regular customer’s grandson, Xander, who’s kind of a snob but maybe just what Caymen needs.
Xander, of course, comes from money and a family with expectations while Caymen only has her mother and very little money. The wrong side of the tracks if you will. The thing that I always judge YA romances on is how much they have in common and why they’re together, you know? Caymen and Xander have very little in common except where they’re at mentally and they end up connecting wonderfully. Although the novel is mostly about Caymen, we get to see both her and Xander grow as they’re with each other and get to experience new things. West even has this great side-plot where neither knows what they want to do after graduation so each has to come up an outing to try something new; it’s a great plot device, it’s quirky and it was honestly so much fun to read. Unlike so many YA contemporary novels these characters were OUT. DOING. THINGS. I love me some YA contemporary but I can only take so much before I need a fix of high fantasy that’s action packed. This didn’t leave me jonesing for anything action packed afterwards.
And on top of all the love and quirkiness there was a lot of emotion in this book! I was pleasantly surprised and a little bit teary-eyed at the end. I’m not going to give anything away, but Caymen’s quest to figure out what she wants to do with her life is rocky and involves exploring her past — something she’s never broached before. It’s all very interesting and heartbreaking at the same time. Where West ends it is so perfect but it also leaves it open-ended for a possible sequel. So fingers crossed but no pressure or anything. This is also a fantastic stand alone so I don’t want to ruin it or put people off by saying it’s going to be a series, but I think it has series potential! I think everything has series potential though, mostly because I have problems letting go of characters I think. Anyway, you should definitely pick this up — it’s a great summer read and a great introduction into the YA contemporary world for Kasie West. I can’t wait to see what other contemporary novels she has up her sleeve!