Guest Review: The Distance Between Us6:21 PM
(Sofia Li of Loving the Language of Literacy)
Title: The Distance Between Us
Author: Kasie West
Series: N/A Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publication Date: July 2, 2013
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
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 have only read one book by Kasie West before -Pivot Point- and loved it, but I was extremely skeptical when it came to The Distance Between Us because I didn't think she could write very well in a completely different genre. I was very wrong and give anyone permission to slap me because of it. This is one of the best contemporary romances I have ever read, and maybe the best of 2014. I have trouble a lot of times with Contemporary Romances because the plot is drive by Romance. You're probably facepalming and thinking "Well gee Sofia, it does have the word Romance in the name". The truth is I get very bored with romance unless they're struggling through the apocalypse, or totalitarian government. This book tore down every single one of my misconceived thoughts.
Do you know those kinds of books that are kind of cliche but you love every minute of them? Well this is that kind of book. A lot of cliche, expected events happened, and the set up was like any bad sit com, but at the same time Something made this book unique -with a capital 'S'. There were little details, clever quirks, slivers of subtle humor, and a culmination of details that made this book a must-read in contemporary fiction.
I surprisingly liked Caymen a lot. I see her as the compassionate, artsy/musician girl type, just without being able to play any instruments, or do art. Caymen is selfless, intelligent, stubborn, and ANYTHING but Xander's type.
Xander. Xander. Xander. I think anyone that reads this novel will automatically have themselves a brand new book boyfriend. There are two words for him -maybe three, depending on the way you look into his gorgeous face- ultimate pretty boy. I know in the Hollywood movies, the girls always get swept off of their feet and end up having their hearts broken by these kinds of guys, but I fell in love with him. At a first glance from Caymen, he is arrogant, personable, multi-talented, and everything else that comes with spoiled, swoon-worthy rich guy. He was like a reincarnation of W.W. Hale the V from Heist Society. Pictured to the left, you see my tv show boyfriend, Neal Bennet that plays Neal Caffrey on my favorite show -White Collar. Xander may even be blond, but this is how I imagined him the entire time.
“His eyes are so intense I want to look away . . . or never look away, I can’t decide.”
Even though they were black and white, rich and poor, selfless and selfish, they were the perfect OTP couple. Their relationship was so cute, especially because Caymen treated him like crap in the beginning, instead of the multimillion dollar heir to a hotel empire.
I have to admit that the plot and the romance was just a little cliche. Stubborn girl eventually falls for cute, rich guy after resisting his charms for a good portion of the book. There's a lot of confusion, people get hurt, then after some talking, all is right with the world. At the same time, Kasie West took this concept, and made it completely her own.
My feelings about the title volley balled (is that a word?) back and forth throughout the story because of what 'distance meant'. A lot of times, social class is seen as a pyramid, or some tower with different levels of society. There were A LOT of levels between Caymen and Xander which is one example of distance. There is also the emotional maturity that separated the two of them because both of them were like normal 17 year-olds, but Caymen had had to stoop lower and go through stress that Xander could never imagine. Meanwhile, Xander had pressure unimaginable pressure put on him, and one wrong word could set his future off balance and tip his spotless reputation off-kilter.
After the entire contemporary novel that *gasps* kept my interest, the ending was far from what I expected. I don't want to spoil anything, but lets just say that my first impressions and assumptions were not very different from what actually happened. I'm just going to leave it at that, but it was a huge disappointment how the story was wrapped up.
Usually this type of quote would put ***Cliche Alert*** red flags up, but this book went against all of my usual thoughts/pet peeves, and this seems almost John Green-ish.
“This is me facing failure. This is me putting everything on the line even though I know I might lose. And I'm terrified. But like you said, anything worth having is worth the risk.”
“Feelings can be the most costly thing in the universe.”The Distance Between Us touches up on a lot of the dynamics that are involved in a relationship, especially about misunderstandings, and the importance of communication. Xander learns that words can hurt, and all of the basic lessons that most of us learn in Kindergarden, and it's really funny to see a 17 year old guy do it.
This was a surprising diamond-in-the-rough and gem on the top of a pile of ordinary contemporary novels. Kasie West turned a cliche premise into a novel full of subtle humor, unique qualities, and attention to detail.