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The Distance Between Us Paperback – July 2, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up–Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers works in her mother's shop selling porcelain dolls to wealthy patrons. Even though she and her mom know that the rich can't be trusted, they rely on them to keep the store afloat. Then charismatic Xander walks into the store and seems to understand cynical and sarcastic Caymen better than anyone else, and she begins to wonder if maybe she and her mother were wrong. That is, until she's mistreated by Xander's friends and, after reading a tabloid, discovers that he may already have a girlfriend. Ultimately, however, Caymen realizes that she has a love worth fighting for, and the star-crossed lovers end up together. Despite the predictable ending, the charming story is beautifully written, and the characters are well developed. Similar in feel to books by Susane Colasanti, West‘s novel is sweet and captivating.–Candyce Pruitt-Goddard, Hartford Public Library, CTα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
During a shift at her mother’s shop, Cayman meets Xander, who seems like an arrogant rich guy. Cayman’s mother has long warned her about the wealthy; Cayman’s father came from money but left before she was even born. But Xander, though indeed wealthy, may be kind, after all—and he seems interested in Cayman. There’s a strong Cinderella flavor here, including a ball from which Cayman flees, and readers will easily relate to Cayman as she sorts out her true identity: not a poor little poor girl, not her mother’s keeper, and most definitely not a rich guy’s toy. Recommend this familiar but satisfying love story to fans of realistic chick lit. Grades 7-10. --Diane Colson
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I don't like to go too much into plot details as I don't want to inadvertently spoil anything and well...the synopsis is right up there at the top of the page. What I like to talk about is how books make me FEEEEL. I love it when a book sucks me in right off the bat and gets me invested in the characters, makes me root for them. This books did just that and along the way it gave me (let's say it together now) ALLLLL the feels!
The chemistry between Caymen and Xander is so authentic and the affection they have for one another is hard to deny. Two totally different people from two totally different worlds...yet they find a deep and loving connection. Caymen is having a rough go of it lately and I love that Xander comes along at a moment in which she really needs someone to lift her up and help her along. Not of course without some road bumps along the way!
This is my first Kasie West book (I know...what is WRONG with me) and I can assure you it will not be my last. As a matter of fact I JUST pre-ordered On the Fence and have bumped up Pivot Point and Split Second toward the top of my TBR pile. I loved how Kasie West captured the pure emotion and feeling of Caymen's experience in this book and am excited to read her other books to see if I connect to the characters in the same way.
I found Caymen both likable and relatable. I loved her dry sense of humor and sarcasm. She took on more responsibility than she probably should've had to at her age, but I didn't see that as a flaw. I know she was trying to do what was best for her mom and their doll shop, but I still wish she had been maybe just a little more selfish in going after what she wanted instead of putting herself behind the store's needs. Her relationship with her mom might not have been perfect, but I thought it was pretty believable. It was obvious how much her mom's opinion of rich people affected Caymen's own views in how fervently she fought against liking Xander. I'm also glad that was a battle she lost. Because really, I adored Xander.
At my age I probably shouldn't be talking about the swoony factor of a teenage boy in a book, but I'm going to do it anyhow. I loved Xander from the beginning. I enjoyed his sense of humor and the banter between him and Caymen. He too was struggling to find his place in the world – and decide what the future held for him – so they connected pretty easily over that. Xander might have been from an incredibly wealthy family but he wasn't the kind of rich person Caymen's mom had warned her about. (Warnings which become rather ironic late in the book, but you'll have to read about that yourself.) Xander was pretty damn close to perfect, even if I spent a couple chapters wondering otherwise.
I really enjoyed this story. There were some twists that took me a bit by surprise, but it wasn't too overly-dramatic or angsty. I loved Caymen and Xander together. Despite a small love triangle, it was always clear to me who belonged with whom. I swooning over the innocence of first love and Kasie West writes it so very well.
I started reading this in audiobook format and read about 2/3 of the book this way before switching to Kindle because I couldn't wait for a good opportunity to listen to the audiobook. I had to find out what happened! I really liked the narrator of this book. I thought Jorjeana Marie did a great job of voicing Caymen, Xander and the rest of the crew. It was easy to imagine that I was listening to Caymen speak.
Kasie West is two for two with contemporary books as far as I'm concerned. Of course, I'm already anxiously awaiting The Fill-In Boyfriend, but as much as I've enjoyed her contemporary stories, I'm considering taking a chance on her Pivot Point fantasy series.
Caymen and Xander were just perfect together. They were polar opposites, but I loved how they could put their masks down and just be themselves when they were together. The transition from total strangers to friends felt natural and believable, and I loved their conversations and their "career day" dates.
Caymen's dry humor was awesome. It is rare to find a heroine who uses sarcasm without coming out as a bitter, annoying stmartass, and Caymen managed to be both funny and sensitive at the same time. As for the (swoon-worthy) Xander, he is one of those rare heroes that are rich, confident and smart without being arrogant jerks. He was always a perfect gentleman, and I loved how he could see through Caymen's sarcasm to discover the vulnerable girl she truly was inside, and how he was willing to get out of his comfort zone for her.
The secondary characters were very likeable too, particularly Skye, and the rest of the Crusty Toads band. I was annoyed by Caymen's mother's attitude towards rich people, but never particularly disliked her either. There was conflict, but it had a good and somewhat unexpected resolution.
This is one of those books that just leaves you with a smile, an excellent option to pick when you want to read a cute romance that leaves you smiling. I've read it several times already and I enjoy it every time.