The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Harper Teen, 2013
*ARC provided by the publisher at ALA - Thank You!*
Kasie West has completely stolen my heart again in her second book, the stand alone novel The Distance Between Us.
Seventeen-year-old Caymen has never known a life outside of the one where she and her mom live in a small apartment above Mom's porcelain doll shop, doing their best to just get by. She's never known money, and she knows that people who are rolling in it probably aren't to be trusted. However, Caymen may have been wrong when she meets Xander, the grandson of a loyal customer who isn't what she expected. Tall, handsome, and crazy rich, she doesn't want to like him but she can't help it when they get to know each other, he becomes a valued friend, and she starts to see that they actually have more in common than she could have imagined. However, when things in her life turn south and money matters more than ever, do Caymen and Xander stand a chance at closing the gap and making this work?
This book was completely charming from top to bottom. Caymen is smart, independent, sarcastic (without ever being mean or snarky - there is a difference), and a really hard worker. Xander was a great leading man for her - a little softer around the edges, a little more willing to compromise and show he cares, a guy who is willing to admit he doesn't know it all but that he does want to try and learn. Secondary characters - especially Caymen's best friend Skye - were also fleshed out and provided great moments of necessary tension and comic relief. The situation also felt plausible and I loved how this book took the economy and reality of money in our lives in a way that didn't turn into a Romeo and Juliet thing. Xander isn't 'slumming,' nor is Caymen a gold digger - they're just people who have a great connection and once they're both willing to admit it, they want to find a way to hang onto it.
I loved West's debut novel Pivot Point and this book only cemented in my mind that this an author whose books I will read no matter what. It was smart, interesting, honest, realistic, and fun. In a market that can feel saturated by contemporary stories, this is one that stands out above the rest and you don't want to miss.
Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!
Kasie West's Website
Kasie West on Twitter