TITLE: The Distance Between Us
AUTHOR: Kasie West
GENRE: YA Contemporary Romance
TIMES READ: 3 (2013, 2016, 2017)
READ: 11/29/17 – 12/1/17
RATING: 4/5 stars
This is the first book I read by Kasie West, and it was good enough for me to want to read anything else she ever published. I’ve read it three times–every time I’ve gotten a new Kasie West book. I’m weird that way.
The story is a basic Romeo and Juliet set up without all of the death. And a happy ending. But not everything is as it seems.
Caymen is poor. She works endless hours in her mom’s doll shop just to keep their heads above water. She’s been taught since birth to distrust anyone with money so she has little interest in getting to know Xander–the rich boy that comes in to buy his grandmother a gift. But Xander doesn’t take the hint. He keeps coming back until he wears down her resistance.
They begin a friendship based around helping each other figure out who they want to be when they grow up because they sure don’t want to be their parents. The problem is Caymen is sure their families won’t approve of them being together. She knows her mom will hate Xander because of his money. She assumes his parents will look down on her for her lack of it.
But things don’t end up that way which I liked about the story. The plot wasn’t complex. Lots of coming of age stuff–growing up, finding yourself, relating to parents, etc. I liked that the kids thought they knew their parents but really didn’t.
I liked a lot of the characters. Caymen and Xander are adorable together. He seems to be the only one that gets her dry humor. He also takes her ribbing in stride (although that eventually turns more judgmental than playful).
Some of them seemed to be there just to advance the plot though, like her best friend. She appears at the beginning of the book. Her boyfriend is introduced. And another friend. But by the end, they flitter in and out only when needed. At one point, I completely forgot there were other characters in the book besides Caymen, Xander, and her mother. The friends were interesting, though. Quirky but real.
The main things I didn’t like about the book were some clunky passages (a lot of those scenes where everyone literally says, “bye,” before leaving… ugh) and a bunch of loose ends. Also, everything is tied up way too easily.
Caymen finds out her mother’s huge secret when she meets the grandparents she didn’t know existed. They jump right back into her life when her mom gets sick. I loved her grandparents. They weren’t at all what Caymen expected, and it becomes obvious where she gets her good humor. But it feels like nothing is resolved. They walk back in after seventeen years like nothing happened. And they never really explain why her mother was “disowned.” It feels highly illogical considering how nice they are. Obviously a lot more going on there. That is never touched upon.
Same with Xander’s parents. He makes them out to be these controlling, snobby monsters, but they turn out to be really sweet and understanding. They really just want Xander to be happy. I wish things were resolved with them, too.
All-in-all, I enjoyed this book. I’ve read it three times so that must mean something. It’s got a lot of cute moments and funny characters. And the angst of coming of age which is my bread-and-butter. If that’s your thing, too, you’ll probably like this and all of Kasie West’s books.