Monday, July 22, 2013

Review: The Distance Between Us

THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US
Kasie West
Contemporary Young Adult
320 pages
HarperTeen
Available now
Source: Borrowed from The Irish Banana Review

THE STORY (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.


MY THOUGHTS
The Distance Between Us proves yet again what a gifted storyteller Ms. West really is when we enter into this tale with the desire to read just a few chapters, but before long find ourselves hundreds of pages in and fair to snarling at anyone who dares interrupt us. While there are some situations and issues that could be pulled apart and examined far more closely, Ms. West is more content to stay on the lighter side of things with this book, clearly never intending it to be a hard-hitting exploration of modern social structures and class distinctions. Instead, it’s a quick and endlessly amusing read, with a few dramas here and there and certainly many a thing to think about, but for the most part she allows the entertainment value to shine through in all its humorous glory, leaving us smiling, content and warm.

Caymen is a young woman those of us with a sarcastic streak a mile wide fall in love with nearly instantly, the dry quips lost on so many of her store’s customers like cupid’s arrows for us, hitting center mass one after another until we’re full to bursting with amusement and affection. She certainly won’t be a character for everyone as a result though, a dry sense of humor not always something that comes across well without facial expressions or intonation to accompany it, but Ms. West handles it expertly, balancing Caymen’s one-liners with just enough seriousness to keep her from being over the top.

Caymen, while hilarious, is certainly not without her flaws, the largest of which is a prejudice against the wealthy she seems to have inherited rather than formed through any direct experience of her own. She’s quick to look for an interpretation of Xander’s words or actions that fits the negative picture of him to which she's desperately trying to cling despite his increasingly successful assaults on her defenses, proceeding to hold him to a higher standard just as she perceives everyone of his ilk holds her to a lower. Though we might wish for her to give Xander the benefit of the doubt and be as honest with him as he appears to be with her, she’s never cruel and she doesn’t play games, instead she slowly tests the waters with him, her hesitation and her anti-wealth flare-ups borne of a very real fear given the precarious situation with her mother and her mother’s painful past.

Those who enjoy young adult romances (like me) will likely thoroughly enjoy this contemporary stand-alone, things progressing with Xander slowly; a speed that fits Caymen’s distrust and dislike of all Xander represents to her and her mother. There is another boy in the picture briefly, but he remains far in the background and removes himself from any triangle situation with thankfully little drama, leaving us able to focus on Caymen and Xander the way we want to. As mentioned previously, the gap between the two of them in terms of economic class could have been explored with more depth, but the story Ms. West gives us keeps to the flirtatious fun of being seventeen and finding someone who causes dormant butterflies in our stomachs to spring to vibrant life, something that never once fails to satisfy in the end.

Rating: 4/5


Find Kasie


This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

49 comments:

  1. I'm so in love with Kasie West ever since I read Pivot Point which was incredible! I really need a copy of this one and I truly love the sound of Caymen! And thank goodness for no Triangle!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ME TOO!!! She is amazing and I will read anything and everything she writes:) It looked like there might be a triangle there for a minute, but thankfully it goes away quickly.

      Delete
  2. This book looks perfect for me--I love YA romance! And Caymen sounds like a fun character. Thanks for the review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do too Kapri! I'm a sucker for romance and pretty much need their to be a romantic storyline in everything I read:)

      Delete
  3. Yay! I am so glad this was a great read for you, I have high hopes for it so I am really looking forward to reading it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought it was fantastic, can't wait to see what you think!

      Delete
  4. To be honest, I didn't enjoy this one as much as Pivot Point, Jenny. I think I was expecting it to be a bit more serious and didn't really like how quickly Caymen would doubt Xander. I will probably read more of West's novels though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't enjoy it as much as Pivot Point either, though they got the same rating. I agree Caymen's continued doubting of Xander was frustrating at times, but I so adored her overall.

      Delete
  5. Well I just read Maja's review and girls I now know that I must read this one. I was afraid it was just another typical contemporary summer story but I was wrong. I like the sound of Caymen! Great review Jenny :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She's hilarious Tanja. I tend to be pretty sarcastic myself and have gotten plenty of the blank stares she gets when the person I'm talking to doesn't realize I'm being sarcastic. Awesome.

      Delete
  6. I'm in love with your gorgeous review, hon! I've been keeping my eye on this book for a while and all the raving reviews make me even more intrigued. I'm happy that the MC is snarky and flawed. I don't want a perfect character, where's the fun in that? I just don't want them totally gullible, clumsy and without a backbone. Luckily this isn't the case here:) I've heared that the love interest is a great one and I can't wait to read this pretty. I've yet to read Pivot Point as well. While you're behind with Colleen Hoover, I'm behind with Kasie West. She's an author I will most definitely explore before the end of 2013:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You definitely need to read Pivot Point Siiri! I'd pick that one over this one, but I loved both. I'll start reading Colleen Hoover and you start reading Kasie West and we'll get all caught up:)

      Delete
  7. I haven't read any book from Kasie West but the moment I saw this book early this year, I immediately added it to my to-buy list. I hope to find a copy soon in our local book stores. I really want to red this book, especially now that you mentioned that this got a sarcastic MC. In my reading experience sarcastic always means fun to read. That's why I don't consider that as flaw of character. I'm also intrigued with Xander.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love sarcasm in a character, but I think it's really hard to do well. It's so easy overdo and then the characters become irritating instead of funny, but Kasie West writes a dry wit so perfectly!

      Delete
  8. Geez, Jenny. Could you write a prettier review? Seriously. Okay, but really, I'm glad to see such a positive review for this one! I've seen some mixed emotions on it - some said it was a bit formulaic - but now I'm definitely intrigued. It sounds like the sarcastic MC might just speak to me. I have no idea why. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a bit formulaic in that you know how things are likely going to end going in, but that didn't bother me in the least. I would have been super irritated if it ended any other way, so I was good to go! And yes, you will definitely appreciate Caymen's sarcasm ;-)

      Delete
  9. Dude, I heard some crazy awesome girl lent you this book. She must be an amazing friend. ;)

    I felt so much the same about this book. I just had *fun* while I was reading it, and sometimes I really need that. This is a fabulous book to cleanse the palette between epic, sweeping novels. It makes me love reading.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She is ;-)

      Exactly! This book just made me happy and I devoured it in one afternoon. My heart remained in my chest instead of in pieces on the floor, and I definitely need that sometimes. I love the books that rip my heart out, but I can only take so many of them in a row:)

      Delete
  10. I've read a couple great reviews of this book and I think I've got to read it ASAP! I love that Caymen is such a great character as does Xander (though I still get Buffy flashbacks whenever I hear that name).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ME TOO MARY! I kept seeing him while reading and it would mess with my head because their characters are really nothing alike. There was a Buffy marathon on Syfy yesterday - love that show:)

      Delete
  11. I'm so happy that you liked this too, Jenny! Caymen is definitely not the character for everyone, but I did love her dry humor and sarcasm. I agree that the element of economic class could have been further explored. I also thought the whole thing with her biological father also should have been given some attention. But at the end of the day, this was a romance and I was completely pleased with it.
    It was just the perfect light summer read that I needed in between heavy dystopians!
    Lovely review as always, Jenny! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Nick! It was awesome. I agree, it was just a nice, light, summery read with a fun romance and I adored it. I need more Kasie West asap:)

      Delete
  12. Jenny, your reviews never fail to make me want to pick up YA contemps. *runs off to the bookstore/library*

    ReplyDelete
  13. Yes! So excited to read this one and super excited that it's good. Kasie West's voice sounds amazing, and I've only heard great things about Pivot Point. Slow building romances are the best too.

    ReplyDelete
  14. This sounds like such a cute read. I like that it's a stand alone and a feel good read, which is perfect for summertime. I may try to get this one out of the library. Thanks for the great review!

    ReplyDelete
  15. This sounds like a great read and I loved flawed and funny characters. I do not think I have tried a West book yet, wonderful review Jenny!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I want to read this one! There are definitely plenty of romances where the heroine is prejudiced against wealth.

    ReplyDelete
  17. YAY! So glad you enjoyed the book. GAH! I love it. So awesome. I need to read it again. Loved your review Jenny!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I picked this up last night, ready for a palate cleanser after Apocalypse. It is so cute so far. I loved the singer... Toad and how he calls her Caveman. Xander is pretty darn cute too after I got over the whole beckoning thing. Hey I would like a guy showing up bringing me hot chocolate after he tests it for poison every day!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh I was thinking total drama, but it sounds like it isn't overly dramatic. I like the sound of Caymen and I also like that the romance develops slowly. Oh I do think I need to add this one to the wishlist! Darn you Jenny! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  20. This was such a fun read, I loved Caymen! She was hard to understand in the beginning but once we knew her background and the reason's for her being that judgmental, it all made sense. Plus, Xander was so adorable, I never once felt that he was obscenely rich. Great review, Jenny!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh, dear. My review ran into yours on the street, promptly developed an inferiority complex and ran to wallow in shame and self-pity.
    I think we felt pretty much the same way about all of this, especially Caymen, and I'm just a bit surprised that West managed to turn what's essentially a pile of tropes into an intriguing and mostly memorable read.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I can't freaking wait to read this one! I think I am going to really like Caymen because I have the exact sense of humour that she seems to have in the novel. I am so happy to read yet another really great review for this one. Now I just have to get ahead in my reading schedule so I can finally pick it up!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Pivot Point didn't really work for me (Weird, I know, since it totally worked for everyone else!). I do love a good romance, though, so maybe this will be a better fit. :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. I have to admit, I've never been a fan of this romance set-up - rich guy and poor girl - so I'm not sure if I'd enjoy this but I've been hearing so much about it and this author that I'm curious enough to give it a try. Great review, Jenny!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Pivot Point wasn't exactly my favorite read, but I've heard absolutely incredible things about this one! I'm definitely always in the mood for cute, romantic contemporaries (especially since it's summer!) so I've been looking into this one. Everyone seems to love it, which is really reassuring! I'm so glad you found this one amusing and enjoyable, Jenny! Wonderful review as usual. :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. This is one I've really been wanting to read. I've been all over the summery sorts of reads and this sounds like it fits the bill!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Sounds lovely! I know Ms. Supernatural Snark enjoys a snarky heroine. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  28. I loved Pivot Point so I was thrilled to hear Kasie was going to release a contemp romance. One of my favorite types of reads. Nice to see there's no serious love triangle (thank you, thank you, thank you!). I love a witty sarcasm and dry humor so I can't wait to pick this up. Wonderful review, Jenny! :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Woohoo for YA summer romance *and* a standalone! You don't see these two together very often. Can't wait to read this one. Awesome review, Jenny!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Yes, Jenny! I really enjoyed this book too. It's pretty much the perfect read for the summer. The only slight issue I had with it was the ending (it felt a little rushed to me), and I do agree that a few things could have been further explored. But other than that, this was a lot of fun. Brilliant review! :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. I absolutely gobbled this one down, Jenny. I think I read it in one day. I think the lack of a love triangle was a tease. She knew what we were thinking and she wanted us to go be thinking "Nooooo!" and then she'd yank the story back, all, "Just kidding!" Cue evil laughter.

    One thing about The Distance Between Us that didn't satisfy me was the end. I mean, yes, romance is nicely resolved, but the situation with Caymen, her mother and her grandparents was kind of glossed over with a "Now we're all the best of friends" kind of feeling.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I feel like such a loser for being the ONLY person in the WORLD who didn't love this book. But I don't think I can make myself like it more thank I did. Anyway, I'm glad it was a win for you and that you connected to Caymen and her story.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I totally avoided this one because I was afraid there was no HEA. Honestly these kinds of books should just say Contemporary romance with an HEA. A lot more of us would willingly sink our money into them. I just can't stand not to have an HEA right now. Maybe they should have an HEA section in the YA section for those of us that don't like to worry about it. I don't care how much drama my characters have to go through (as long as it's believable) if they just get to be together at the end!

    Can you just field all the names of the HEA romances, the titles to me??

    Heather

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thanks for writing in such an encouraging post. I had a glimpse of it and couldn’t stop reading till I finished. I have already bookmarked you.
    Estetik

    ReplyDelete
  35. I am so incredibly excited to read this, because I have a sarcastic streak and know I'm going to LOVE Caymen. Plus, I adored Pivot Point and really love Kasie's writing style. I know well the impulse to snarl at anyone who tries to come between me and her book. :-) So incredibly happy to hear that you had fun with this, I'm sure now more than ever that I'm going to love it!

    ReplyDelete
  36. I haven't read anything of Kasie West's yet, but after all the praise, I'm eager to change that! This sounds like a beautiful summer read, and Caymen sounds like just my kind of character with her dry sense of humour. I'm glad, too, that there isn't drama when it comes to the romance aspect. I'll definitely have to try and read this one soon. Fab review, Jenny! :)

    Aa'Ishah @ Reading Under the Stars

    ReplyDelete