Jun 18, 2013

ARC Review: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

The Distance Between Us cover
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.

From Goodreads

Caymen Meyers usually feels as isolated as the dolls in the doll shop below her apartment. She leaves school every day at noon to work in the shop that her mother owns so that they can continue to eek out their simple existence and is the illegitimate child of her mother's teenage tryst with a well-off young man who cut all ties with her mother as soon as she announced her pregnancy. Naturally this has lead to a unique life on the fringe of poverty. Caymen doesn't want for much other than her continued friendships with other misfits and maybe a little good fortune for her mother.

In walks Alexander "Xander" Spence. The grandson of one of the doll shop's main patrons and heir to a large international hotel chain, he oozes wealth, status, and confidence. While infuriating and enticing Caymen with his comfortable lifestyle, he seems to find himself drawn to her sarcasm and wit. Befriending her is easier than he thought, but definitely more than he bargained for.

The two begin a precarious dance wherein they spend inordinate amounts of time together without ever really admitting what they're looking for with the other. The imbalance of their relationship comes to a head when the two are confronted with just how different their two worlds are from one another. Can they reconcile their differences while accepting their similarities?

The Distance Between Us is a standard wrong-side-of-the-tracks love story with some original details. Caymen's animosity and blatant trust issues with people of a wealthier persuasion coupled with her dry humor create a sort of anti-hero. You're not sure if you really want her to succeed because of just how unfair she's being, but you also sympathize with her plight. Xander is a typical heir figure in that he feels burdened by all the pressure to take up the family business when he's really just trying to find himself. Of course these two happen upon one another and get tangled up in each other's messes. As cliche as it sounds, I didn't mind it all that much because the details were what made the story fun.

Their "career days" where they explore the idea of specific careers (including grave digger) were such a great venue for character exploration because by getting them out of their element, we get to see who they really are on their own. Even the supporting characters had their chances to shine occasionally in both group situations and one on one discussions.

I will say that there were a few things that didn't add up by the end of the book. The situation with the doll store, a mystery man, and Caymen's mother's health were all connected, but never elaborated upon or explained. You could make educated guesses as to what they all meant, but it would have been nice to have some official closure. There was also some issue with Caymen's lineage. I know that miscommunication happens and that assumptions are some of the worst things in relationships, but the shroud of mystery and sudden revelation was all a bit awkward.

It's possible that the few things that bugged me will get cleaned up before final printing, but no guarantees. If you're looking for a light, summer read then this has "BEACH" written all over it. Enjoy!

ARC graciously provided by Around the World ARC Tours for honest review

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