Monday, July 8, 2013

The Distance Between Us (Book Review)

Monday, July 8, 2013 11:01 AM with 26 comments
The Distance Between UsThe Distance Between Us

Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Harper Teen
Number of Pages: 320
Release Date: July 2, 2013

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.


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Like most of my blogger and Goodreads friends, I've been lusting after this adorable cover for months, eagerly awaiting the July release date, while compulsively checking NetGalley and Edelweiss to see if a review copy had been posted. I was so excited, in fact, that I bought this book new on its release date (which doesn't sound like a big deal, but I honestly can't remember ever doing that in the past. I'm strictly a buy 'em used, check them out from the library new kind of girl), but I just couldn't wait for this one. So did it live up to my over-blown expectations? Not really. But it's honestly not the book's fault. I had my expectations dialed up to 11. I don't know why. But The Distance Between Us is cute and sweet and quick and lovely and I did enjoy reading it. 

Caymen Meyers is a senior in high school. She is a typical "good girl" who works and lives with her mother in her mother's doll shop and the apartment above the shop, respectively. This makes for a unusually close mother/daughter relationship that has started to come apart at the seams. The doll shop isn't doing well financially and though Caymen wants to help shoulder the burden and help her mom, she also can't help but feel stuck. She begins to realize how dire the situation is when she stumbles upon her mother's bookkeeping and sees just how in the red they are, pink enveloped bills start to appear, and back-up inventory is mysteriously absent. 

Caymen is torn. She knows that she doesn't want to take over the store once her mother retires, but she also doesn't want to leave her mom to struggle alone. She's already decided that she will defer college for a year or two to help her mom out, even though her mom wants her to go to college and the two have never sat down to discuss the possibility of deferment. 

Caymen has never met her father. She knows who he is through a little detective work (in case she ever needs a kidney), but has never met him, nor made any moves to do so. Her mother got pregnant at a young age (18, I think). Her father, a wealthy young man with his whole life ahead of him, fled once he heard the news. His parents made her sign complicated paperwork that makes it impossible for her to go after him for child support, but they also gave her a lump sum of "hush money" that she used to buy the building that houses the store and apartment and got her started on her business venture. With her history, it's easy to understand why her mother despises rich people and why Caymen, herself, has grown up being weary of the rich. 

Enter Xander, the wealthy grandson of Caymen's favorite client. As soon as she spots him, Caymen knows this is a boy with money. The arrogant way he carries himself, his clothes, his attitude. But she also can't but notice how cute he is, that he gets her dry sense of humor, and his heart-melting smile. Xander doesn't seem to care that she doesn't have money. He wants to get to know her and begins coming to the shop often to walk her to school and be around her. 

Xander understands Caymen's want to get out of the family business, because he's in the same situation...kind of. See, Xander's family owns a huge chain of hotels and he is being groomed to take over the family business someday. But Xander doesn't want to take over. He wants to be his own man. He just doesn't know yet what he wants to do yet. So he comes up with a plan. Xander and Caymen will start to investigate what they may want to do with their lives. Together. Through little adventures called "career days."

For the most part I really did enjoy The Distance Between Us. I loved the growing relationship between Caymen and Xander, which was sweet and slow-burning. I loved the secondary characters of her best friend Skye with her pink hair and Skye's rocker boyfriend. I loved the depiction of the relationship between Caymen and her mother, which was very realistic. They fought and made up and loved each other. It's one of those elusive true-to-life mother/daughter relationships that YA is so often lacking. I loved that they owned a doll store, which is creepy and cute at the same time. I've never been a huge doll person. I liked my Cabbage Patch Kids as a youngster, but never collected dolls. And, frankly, I find porcelain dolls down-right terrifying. 

This book definitely reminded of Pretty in Pink (one of the best 80s films in existence--how I loved Molly Ringwald when I was a wee lass). Caymen was definitely more concerned about the financial disparity between the two (but rich people rarely seem to have a clue about money) and there was even a sneering friend of Xander's that definitely would have been played a young James Spader. 

My only real issue with this book was the ending. I'm not going to go into specifics, but it takes a turn that was both unexpected and a bit unrealistic, in my opinion. I'll say nothing more, but if you want to discuss shoot me an email or PM on twitter. 

Overall, I really enjoyed The Distance Between Us. It is a perfectly charming book that matches its perfectly charming cover. I would definitely recommend if you are looking to read a sweet, contemporary romance this summer.

26 comments:

  1. Like you, I've been totally excited for this book to fall into my hands. So I'm going to keep my fingers crossed, and wait till I'm in the mood for something along the lines of a sweet and charming read. Thanks for sharing Natalie!

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    1. It is incredibly charming. I hope you enjoy it once you do pick it up. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Dolls are really creppy, right?! My mother collects them and they're all over my parents' house and it always creeps me out. I also bought this one since I didn't want to wait, I have to finish a few library books before I read it, but I'm excited. Given your review I might try to dial back my expectations a little though :)

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    1. Totally creepy. Especially the older, porcelain ones. I really did enjoy it. I just let my expectations get a little out of control. I hope you love it! Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Dolls are just plain terrifying! I hate the damn things. I'm pleased you enjoyed this one, even if it didn't meet your super-high expectations (I hate it when I do that to myself, haha!) I've been looking forward to reading it for a while now, so I can't wait to get to it. Great review!

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    1. Thanks, Hollie! Caymen finds the dolls pretty creepy, too, which is funny. Can you imagine living over a store filled with them? I hate it when I set my expectations too high, too. But I truly did enjoy this one. I hope you love it. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. It's a bummer that it didn't live up to your 11, but I'm glad that you still liked it! It sounds really cute and I have to admit that I also love Pretty In Pink. So, I have a feeling that I'd like this one too! Great review! Oh and porcelain dolls are super creeptastic!

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    1. Pretty in Pink's the best. I'm a bit partial to Sixteen Candles, but it's a close second. If you like those, I'd definitely say that this would be up your alley...and, yes, so creepy. :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. "And, frankly, I find porcelain dolls down-right terrifying" - ha! I know, right? I used to have some in my room when I was a kid, and they gave me nightmares. I always felt like they were looking at me with their creepy eyes ;)

    Glad you found TDBU enjoyable, even if it didn't live up to your expectations! I'll definitely be checking this book out :)

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    1. They do watch you with their creepy eyes! It's a fact. This is a really cute book and I enjoyed reading it. I hope you love it when you pick it up. Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. I really enjoyed the book too! I think I know what you're talking about with the ending (or at least near it)--it was unnecessary, if you ask me. Great review!

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    1. Thanks. I'm sure you do know exactly what I'm talking about. It was unnecessary and not explored nearly as deeply as it should have been if it had to happen. Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. Glad to hear you liked it! I've been gazing at this one for a while, too -though I'm not as eager to read it as it seems you were :) Sadly, my love for contemporary is slowly fading into dust...then again, since i first saw this book, I've been thinking that this is the exact kind of story that I would love- if done well. So...we'll see. I might even pick it up after your review :D

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    1. Contemporary has always been my go-to genre and I'm sure will continue to be. I hope you do enjoy it if you do end up picking it up. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. I completely agree...that ending was, er, lame. Could've been so much better. But the book as a whole was pretty freakin' cute. It wasn't as good as I was hoping, either, but I also had crazy high expectations, too, especially after having loved Pivot Point so much. Great review!

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    1. Thanks, Jen! I definitely liked Pivot Point better on the whole. I like her writing style and thought the story was pretty adorable, but yeah, what was that ending? Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. I can't believe how much in the minority I am on this book. :( It just felt bland to me and the mom/daughter relationship was "mehh". My review will be up Thursday if you want to swing by.

    Erin @ YA Book Crush

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    1. I'll definitely check it out. I thought the mom/daughter relationship was pretty realistic. We can't all agree on everything. How boring would that be? Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. I also didn't like the ending of the book. I felt like it left a lot of things unsaid and unexplained. I think the scene in the hospital with her mom should have been written in more detail. All the author wrote was something like "they yelled and cried..." :/

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    1. Exactly. The whole thing came out of nowhere and then just ended abruptly. It definitely could have used an extra chapter or two to explore. Other than that, I really enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by!

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  11. I'm pleased to see you mostly enjoyed this book. I'm a fan of Pretty in Pink so this one might be for me ;)

    A fabulous review! :)

    Sharon – Obsession with Books

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    1. John Hughes was the best. I wish he had made more. I hope you enjoy it if you do chose to pick it up. Thanks for stopping by!

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  12. This sounds amazing I can't wait to read it!

    Sheri--YA Escape from Reality

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    1. It's pretty fun. I hope you enjoy it if you do pick it up. Thanks for stopping by!

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  13. Overall, I thought this book was cute, but you're right, it takes some very unrealistic and contrived turns. And there's not much of a plot. I thought it would be a better novel, so I was a little disappointed, too. The cover's adorable, though :)

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    1. I was fine up until the ending. Although certainly nothing spectacular, it was quick and cute and sometimes that's all I want. The cover is just so cute though. Thanks for stopping by!

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