The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: July 2013
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.
The Distance Between Us is a light and easy read. It’s one of those books that have gotten dusty on my shelf and when I eventually read them, I’m thinking “Why didn’t I pick you up sooner?”
Caymen is a sarcastic teenager, and the daughter of a doll store owner. Her father ran as far away as he could when her mother got pregnant; and his parents paid for Caymen’s mother to keep her mouth shut about the pregnancy. Her mother is wary of rich people and as a result, Caymen finds herself judging them at first sight.
When Caymen meets Xander, she realises that most of her assumptions concerning him are just assumptions. There is an obvious connection between both of them; and while Xander does little to fight it, Caymen is fighting it every step of the way (because he’s everything her mother hates in a person: wealthy).
The story is written solely from Caymen’s point of view, which makes it easy to understand the way her mind works. I like the fact that she gets eventually over her judgemental attitude, and realises that rich people are also normal.
The plot is quick and uncomplicated, which I like, and the vocabulary is straightforward. There is little to no angst, which just shows that a story does NOT need angst to be interesting.
I like Caymen as a character, because of the way she develops: she starts out judgemental and unsure of what she wants from life, but ends up discovering her passion for science and investigation. She is also a mature character such that she takes on the burden of the doll store, even leaving school at noon everyday to help out.
There is a bit of mystery when it comes to Caymen’s father, and her mother’s parents. The story takes an unexpected turn when it’s discovered that Caymen’s maternal grandparents are very wealthy people. I would have loved to find out more about Caymen’s father (and maybe also see him brought to his knees in remorse), but I think that bringing him into the story would have introduced some unwanted predictability and angst.
Overall, The Distance Between Us is a light and fun read, which will lift your spirits and make you smile. It’s a perfect blend of seriousness and sass, with sweet romance in between.
*It has a companion novel (On The Fence).