The Distance Between Us by Kasie West ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: July 2, 2013
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: money problems, small business, family secrets, romance
Format read: ARC paperback from Shanyn at Chick Loves Lit (Thanks!)
Summary: Caymen works at her mother’s doll store and is used to the clientele. Rich, snobby, you know the drill. When Xander walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandfather, Caymen knows he is just like every other Mr. Moneybags. But an unlikely friendship blossoms anyway when they realize they have a little bit more in common than they originally thought. Meanwhile, Caymen’s mom is keeping secrets, her best friend has a new musician boyfriend, and she’s a little tired of always putting the store before everything.
With such a pretty cover like this one (the lighting! the font! that dress!), I was really hoping this book would be a winner.
Friends, I really liked The Distance Between Us.
Caymen is such a snappy, sarcastic character and I absolutely loved that. She was quick, she had the dryest sense of humor, and I just loved her personality. Even if it was a cover up for her true feelings sometimes. Insecurities about the money problems her and her mom are having, their not-so-busy porcelain doll store, and the fact that she’s not sure she can make the college thing actually happen (even if she is a science genius).
When she meets Xander, her sarcasm is aimed at him with full force and I loved their banter, and how naturally their friendship started. Caymen’s bothered because the boy has money (he’s the “prince” of a hotel chain that he is set to take over) but he’s also a lot like her: not so sure if he wants to follow through with his family’s expectations of him. (Him with the hotels, her with the doll store.) So they embark on these cute/funny outings to figure out their true futures.
The distance in the title surely pertains to Xander and Caymen, but, what I liked the most, is this also has a lot to do with Caymen and her mother. Even though they live and work together in a small space, there is so much they are not telling the other one. Caymen is scared her mom won’t accept Xander (because her dad was well-off and just left them) and her mom, well, might not be all that honest with the status of their business. For two people who are so close, the reader is definitely rooting for them to just trust each other and talk.
Even though Caymen makes a ton of sacrifices (socially, mostly) because of all the hours she put into her job, it was really nice to see a hard working main character. Even if her mom’s dolls creeped her out, she more than kept her end of the bargain and I thought it was totally commendable. West also introduces some great side characters (particularly Skye, Caymen’s best friend and Xander’s grandma, Mrs. Dalton) and a few ohh-ahh twists. I enjoyed the story so much that I actually didn’t mind how seamlessly it all ended; Caymen’s character growth felt pretty spot-on for me.
Romance, family, worries about the future, and getting over preconceived judgements? West has the whole enchilada in The Distance Between Us. I’m definitely looking forward to checking out more of her work.