The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

The Distance Between Us by Kasie WestThe Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Published by HarperTeen on July 2, 2013
Pages: 320

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 was quick, but still made an impact. Caymen’s dry humor had me smiling and laughing throughout the book. Though at times I complain that I’m sick of the West Side Story type plots, this book threw in a great twist at the end.

Caymen and her mother live above a doll shop her mother owns. Most of Caymen’s life revolves around the shop; she even leaves school early every day to work in it. The doll shop isn’t really hopping, so bills are always overdue. Caymen doesn’t always get paid for the work she puts in either. When describing herself, Caymen often uses the term “poor”.

On a regular day while Caymen is manning the store, a guy walks in, talking on his cell phone. He’s good looking, sure, with expensive clothes, but Caymen, judging him (Xander) pegs him as an arrogant rich-y. Through coincidental and purposeful meetings, Caymen begins falling for Xander. She realizes he’s sweet and thoughtful, but regardless, she still throws up her shields. Xander is the type of guy her mother always warned her about; the risky ones, the kind that could leave you high and dry like Caymen’s deadbeat dad, at least, that’s what Caymen is afraid of.

The Distance Between Us follows Caymen and Xander’s slow-budding romance with the issue of money “coming between” them. Caymen is set in her belief that “poor” and “rich” people are so different that they shouldn’t be together. I can’t really relate to Caymen’s situation because I’ve always been in a sort of middle class and around other middle class-types, but I still grew frustrated with her at times. She was very insecure and judge-y when it came to Xander. She was quick to think the worst of him and his family, constantly being surprised when Xander’s father and mother treated her kindly and with warmth. Honestly, throughout the novel I felt like the “distance” between these two teenagers was plainly Caymen and her skewed viewpoint.

Towards the end of the story the plot really sped up. There’s a couple matters that were never really resolved and left me confused. I liked that there wasn’t a big cheesy ending but I think we should have been given a little more clarity and resolution.


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