Thursday, November 21, 2013

Review: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

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.

There’s something about a room full of dolls that creates the instantaneous effect of shock. And that’s exactly how Caymen Meyers feels in Kasie West’s novel THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US. Caymen, a seventeen-year-old living in California, lives with her mom in a cramped apartment above the porcelain doll store that her mom has put her heart and soul into. However, it’s no secret that their store is in great jeopardy. And as Caymen spends endless hours surrounded by these lifeless dolls, Caymen, herself, begins to feel lifeless. That is until a new costumer waltzes in the front door and changes everything.

THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US is a bittersweet romance and an enjoyable, fast read. This novel explores how money can be used as a weapon and can even create personal barriers. It also challenges the idea of pre-conceived notions and goes further to make the reader re-evaluate what they might consider to be “character flaws.” This novel gave an interesting insight as to how our own, personal experiences can leave us with a jaded, somewhat flawed, view of the world and the struggle that comes with breaking away from what we’ve taught ourselves to be true.

I loved how Caymen’s relationship with Xander, the mysterious, rich boy, starts off careless and innocent as they develop a morning ritual of drinking hot chocolate as he walks her to school but then gradually turns into so much more. I also loved how despite both Xander and Caymen's very apparent and unique flaws, I was left rooting for them the entire time.

While I did enjoy this novel, I would have liked to see some more layers in Caymen’s character. Her tone is often snarky and sarcastic, and while this is suitable, it often made her come across as one dimensional. Caymen is undergoing a tremendous amount for someone her age and it would have been nice to see her be a little more vulnerable. Understandably, she uses her humor as a defense mechanism, however, it seemed unrealistic that Caymen’s personal and reflective thoughts would also hold this same dry humor.

Overall, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US is a nice, heartwarming read and is perfect for someone looking for a cute, emotionally driven, love story wrapped in personal growth and an abundance of hope.

-Reviewed by Jeffrey

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