The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Describe it in three words: Fast, Funny, Light
First impression: Cute cover
Last impression: Combination of “aww” and “that was it?”
Format: Kindle e-book
Other books read by author: None yet!
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?
Review: This is a book I’ve been meaning to read for a long time, but unfortunately was released before I really started getting back into reading like a crazy person. I can’t believe I waited this long because it was so, so cute. Character-wise, this book definitely had some winners. Caymen was hilarious with her sarcasm and dry sense of humor. I laughed out loud quite a few times thanks to her. She was definitely the kind of girl I wanted to be friends with. Caymen and her mom live above the doll shop that they own and work at, struggling to make ends meet. Her father isn’t in her life because he took off the moment her mom announced she was pregnant at a young age. Simultaneously, her mom’s parents disowned her. She used the “keep quiet” money from Caymen’s father to start up the doll shop and since then was not having the best time keeping up with her bills. Since her wealthy ex left her, Caymen’s mom has a lot of hatred towards rich people. We learn that there is a lot more to her story than that, which makes a lot more sense as to why she feels so strongly about it. Enter Xander Spence (excuse me as I barf at his name – really Kasie West? XANDER?), who is coming to the doll shop to buy a present for his grandmother. Caymen instinctively keeps her distance, but is inevitably drawn to him anyways. He has the typical rich boy features but does seem like there’s a little more going on. Caymen becomes friends with Xander and hides their relationship from her mom, knowing she would disapprove. Some of the minor characters like her best friend Skye and her boyfriend Henry were not too developed, but they made enough appearances for the reader to get to know them. Skye and Henry, meanwhile, are trying hard to set Caymen up with Mason, who is the lead singer in Henry’s band. Caymen has a close-knit group of friends (which really just consists of Skye and whoever she brings around) that was fun to read about. Caymen is somewhat interested in Mason, which I thought was kind of an unnecessary element. With adorable and funny Xander showing up to walk her to school each day with a pre-sipped hot chocolate (a very adorable inside joke), Caymen can’t help falling for him and avoiding telling her mother. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but of course there are areas of conflict that are pretty standard to YA contemporary. Kasie West pulls them off really well though, with her fast-paced writing and likeable characters. The reader wants Xander and Caymen to make it work despite all of the odds stacked against them. Towards the end of the novel, we start learning more about her mom’s past as well as Caymen’s family members that she’s never met. This was the kind of book that left little mysteries for the reader to wonder about and try to figure out…except every prediction I made ended up wrong! I wouldn’t say that this book was twisty-turny with mystery and intrigue, but there were definitely some things I thought I figured out but was wrong on. I like books like that. Kasie West managed to make a light contemporary novel for readers to breeze through quickly without a lot of heavy thinking, but still introduced some deeper issues. I don’t think this book was lifechanging enough for a five star rating, but it came close. There really aren’t any negatives for me with this one. At some times, the whole rich vs. poor thing was irritating; it’s not normally a theme I care about. As the reader learns more about the characters and their situation, though, you can see how it really does make a big difference plot-wise. One other little thing was the mini love triangle between Xander, Mason, and Caymen. It wasn’t given a lot of focus and it was pretty irrelevant. I don’t think Mason’s character really needed to exist, but I guess it added one more element to prove how much Caymen’s mom preferred non-rich folks. Only in a situation like this would a mother prefer a rocker guy to a rich boy for her daughter to date.
I would recommend this book for people who love a good contemporary romance. It’s a quick read that is a perfect balance of light and heavy.