The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Published in 2013 by HarperTeen
What made me read this book? Well, I was actually looking at another book (On the Fence) by the same author and decided to buy The Distance Between Us first—I can’t remember why. What intrigued me about both books was that the reviews mentioned how clean these books are, and I’m hoping this is a characteristic of the author.
The story is told from the point of view of Caymen (no, she isn’t named after the Islands) Meyers, a seventeen-year-old girl who lives with her single mom above their doll store. It’s written in first-person present tense, which happens to be my preferred POV and tense—it makes me feel like the story is happening as I’m reading it and that I’m right in the middle of the action. Caymen has been raised to think not-so-highly of rich people, so when she meets Xander Spence, a handsome rich boy, she has to decide whether or not her mom’s views should continue to be her own. Xander isn’t just rich, by the way, he’s RICH, and Caymen can’t even afford to have a cell phone. Both Caymen and Xander want to rebel against the expectations their families have for them, so they have “career days” to discover what they want for themselves.
As with most YA novels (The Hunger Games, even Twilight), the hero of this book is significantly more invested in his relationship with the heroine than she is in her relationship with him. While Xander has nothing to hide, Caymen is constantly keeping secrets—including keeping her relationship with Xander a secret from her mom. It takes time for Caymen to realize that honesty really is the best policy, but she wouldn’t be the heroine if she were perfect from page 1.
Ms. West’s site lists The Distance Between Us as “Pretty in Pink meets Pride and Prejudice.” Some similarities I see are: two guys are competing for the heroine’s attention, there’s initial reluctance on the heroine’s part toward the inevitable hero, a fight ensues between heroine and hero that nearly destroys the entire relationship, and everything turns out happy-go-lucky in the end.
Overall, I truly enjoyed this book. It might be one of the best YA novels that I’ve read in quite some time, and I’m hoping that there is a sequel in the works (or at least the same story from Xander’s POV). It’s a quick read, easy to get interested in (a big factor for me), and retails for $9.99 (or even less on Amazon!). There is no language that I recall (and I was on the lookout), and while there is somewhat detailed kissing, it isn’t graphic in any way. I would let my fifteen-year-old cousin read this (or make her because it is so good!) but not my thirteen-year-old cousin.
So, grab a copy for yourself, and let me know what you think!