(Image from Barnes & Noble)
Caymen Meyers is all about the dolls. Okay, she's not. Not at all. In fact, the porcelain playthings creep her out with their vacant eyes and permanent smiles. Still, it's up to the 17-year-old to push the merchandise at her mother's doll shop—it's the only way to keep the bill collectors at bay. Even though her mom urges her not to worry about their dwindling finances, it's all Caymen can think about. Unlike other high school seniors, she can't focus on boys or parties or even college, not when it's up to her to make sure the shop turns a profit, no matter how meager it may be.
When gorgeous Xander Spence wanders into the store on an errand for his grandma, Caymen tries to resist his easy charm. She doesn't have time for a guy, especially not an entitled snob like Xander. And yet, there's a sweetness about him that makes her wonder if she's judging him too harshly. She knows a relationship between them would never work out, but maybe it's worth a shot. Except, there's the shop, which requires all her extra energy. And her mother, who constantly warns Caymen to stay away from rich boys. Her mom's already acting strangely—Caymen doesn't dare cross her. Not now.
The more Xander comes around, the more Caymen's resistance slips. Isn't it time she did something for herself? Even if it costs everything she has, including her fragile heart?
The Distance Between Us, a contemporary YA romance by Kasie West, has been getting lots of buzz around the book blogosphere. With its soft, pretty cover; sparkly seaside setting; and easy-breezy premise, it's being lauded as a perfect summer read. A sentiment with which I agree. Mostly. The best thing about the novel is, without a doubt, the sweet, slow-growing relationship between Caymen and Xander. It's fun and innocent, if not very realistic. The big problem with the couple's story lies in the novel's almost non-existent plot. Because, really, not much happens in this book. The central conflict exists mostly in Caymen's head and the big, dramatic moments are all pretty contrived. Overall, then, I found The Distance Between Us cute, but lacking. Even for a "beach read," it's pretty substance-less. Bummer, that.
(Readalikes: The book's being billed as "Pretty in Pink meets Pride & Prejudice," which sounds pretty accurate to me!)
for mild sexual innuendo and depictions of underage drinking
To the FTC, with love: I received an ARC of The Distance Between Us from the generous folks at HarperTeen. Thank you!