Thursday, May 2, 2013

THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US by Kasie West

Title: THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: July 2, 2013
Number of Pages: 320
Source of Book: ARC from author (Thanks Kasie!)
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.
First Thought: Hello? Pretty in Pink meets Pride & Prejudice? Sign me up!

I LOVED Kasie West's debut book, PIVOT POINT, so was extremely excited to hear that she had a second standalone book coming out in the same year. When I read the synopsis for THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, I knew it sounded like my kind of book.  I was thrilled when an advanced copy showed up on my doorstep, and 36 hours later I had finished the book. I am in love with this story!

THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US is an engaging, sweet story with heart and snark. It's a story of romance and family and honesty and looking beyond the obvious. I thoroughly enjoyed Kasie's development of the quirkiness of the setting and the likeability of the characters. Kasie West writes some of the most charming guys in YA today - and I've officially declared her the Queen of the First Kiss Scenes. But it takes awhile to get to that point. Caymen and Xander have quite a bit of figuring each other out and introspection and learning to do before they can get together - and that's part of what's so great. Although they're both intrigued when they start talking, it is a slow build up of their relationship, which I appreciate because it allows them to get to know each other first. The way in which Kasie writes their relationship has me rooting for them to get together and figure their differences out. I especially loved some of the cute things that happen as they build their friendship. I absolutely adore Xander. He is charming and sweet in a real way and it is obvious how much he cares. And Caymen is dedicated and supremely sarcastic (which I love!) adding quite a bit of comedic relief to the story, but Xander calls her on it - part of the reason he's so good for her and leading to some laugh out loud moments. There is such an adoring element to their relationship that I was really drawn to in addition to their chemistry. They're looking out for each other and supporting each other and helping find the best in each other. They have the kind of sincere, real relationship that I like to read about in light-hearted contemporary books.

Early on I was hooked, and although I was a little worried that it was going to be predictable, it ended up not being too much so. It definitely fits the formula of a rich boy/poor girl contemporary romance story, which is part of why I liked it so much because it's familiar in a good way, but the setting is interesting, the characters are endearing, and there are enough real motivators and surprises (hello family secrets) along the way to keep it feeling fresh. THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US is a sweet story that warmed my heart and was so much fun to read. After I finished, I wanted to go right back and read it again.

Final Thought: I seriously need more Kasie West books in my life! For real.

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