The Distance Between Us
by Kasie West
Original Publishing Date: July 2, 2013
Length: 320 pages
Obtained Via: Bought
Format Read In: Paperback
View from the Traffic Light:
(from back of the book):
Money can’t buy a good first impression.
Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers learned early that the rich are not to be trusted. And after years of studying them from behind the cash register of her mom’s porcelain-doll shop, she has seen nothing to prove otherwise. Enter Xander Spence—he’s tall, handsome, and oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and the fact that he seems to be 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 just when Xander’s loyalty and attentiveness 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. With so many obstacles standing in their way, can she close the distance between them?
I really liked Kasie West’s debut, Pivot Point. However, I LOVED The Distance Between Us, and honestly, if I had read this book first, I might have rated Pivot Point slightly lower. This contemporary YA that’s a bit different but still sweet is where West’s writing really shines. I’m trying not to compare and contrast Pivot Point and The Distance Between Us too much, but at some point, it really can’t be helped. It was a bit of a shocker for me to like this book more than I did, and especially more than Pivot Point–after all, Pivot Point is about parallel universes, which I LOVE, and The Distance Between Us is contemporary, which isn’t always my first choice. But if I read more contemporary like this, I think I’d like it a lot more.
Caymen is one of my favorite main characters I’ve read this year. She and I have a very similar sense of humor–very sarcastic, very dry–and I’d want to be her friend in real life. She’s not flawless, and one of her major character flaws is that she’s incredibly quick to jump to conclusions, which causes some problems in the book, but she’s well-developed and such an interesting character to read. Caymen isn’t from a rich or even middle-class background, and I applaud West for showing a single family that’s rather poor but NOT showing them to be abusive, psychologically damaged, etc. Also, Caymen is a female main character who is interested in science, and you have no idea how happy that makes me! Personally, I am not a science person, BUT for a long time I have wanted female characters who like science. I think if YA is suppose to a portrayal of adolescence FOR adolescents, it would be nice to have FEMALE characters who are interested in science & math because so often society likes to draw lines that girls aren’t as good as science and math as boys(or something? Where do we come up with this?) It’s just so refreshing to see that Caymen likes science.
Xandar is one of my favorite fictional boys in a long time. Like Caymen, he’s not perfect, but he’s genuinely just a nice person and really cares for Caymen. Their relationship is awesome because it holds no traces of insta-love, but really just starts out as a cute friendship and evolves from there. It’s a nice slow, steady momentum-building relationship. They’re both attracted for each other but don’t start a relationship right away because of their past experiences and they both have quite a bit of responsibility.
At heart, the plot of this book is very Pride and Prejudice-like, which made me like it even more. I really liked how on the rare occasion Xandar’s parents enter the story, they’re both polite and sweet, and West does a good job of not vilifying the rich by making them all snobby OR vilifying the poor by portraying all the families as abusive. The Distance Between Us keeps a very even view of social classes and acknowledging the barriers that do arise without making it over-dramatic as some stories are want to do.
Final Impression: I LOVED this book! It was really well-done and different, while still keeping to a traditional story like Pride and Prejudice with a modern spin. I loved Caymen and would want to hang out with her in real life. I found the characters in this story so life-like and refreshing, as West did a terrific job of staying away from most stereotypes and incorporating unique situations–like the fact that Caymen’s mother owns a porcelain doll shop. I expected to like this book, but I didn’t think I’d end up liking it SO much. It’s definitely on the lighter side(while still bringing issues of poverty and social class), and it’s a great summer read. 5/5 cupcakes.