Title: The Distance Between Us
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: July 2nd 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.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
In her town there are only two types of people, the rich and the poor, and Caymen is one of the poor. Ever since her mother got pregnant at seventeen, abandoned by Caymen’s father and disowned by her parents, it’s just been the two of them. Together they run a doll shop and live in a small apartment above the shop that’s barely big enough for the both of them, but they make it work. Despite the store catering mainly to the rich Caymen sees them as arrogant, willing to throw money at any problem until it goes away.
Xander is one of those people. From the second he walks into the shop and beckons Caymen she has him pegged as an arrogant rich boy who wants for nothing. Yet, while Xander is rich he isn’t arrogant. Later when he comes back to the shop to collect a doll his grandmother ordered he tries to make a better impression on Caymen.
She starts off holding him at arm’s length, thinking her dry humour will scare him away and if not her disinterest will, but Xander keeps coming back and soon he is walking her to school and taking her on ‘career days’.
In spite of their very different upbringings Xander and Caymen do have one thing in common; neither of them are sure what they want to do with their lives and so both are being roped into the family business. Caymen feels she should take over the burden of the doll store, and Xander’s father has been pressuring him to run the chain of hotels is family owns. Instead Xander comes up with the idea of career days. Each of them picking a possible career to try out for a few hours, and together they’ll try to find out what it is they want to do; be it photographer or grave digger.
But there are obstacles to the relationship growing between them. Caymen has been spending time with Mason, a boy who also comes from a poor background and so the two are on equal footing that she doesn’t feel she can reach with Xander. Then there’s her mother, who is hiding something from Caymen which could drastically affect their lives.
Caymen has a very dry sense of humour, and most times people have to ask her if she’s being serious or joking, but I loved the little quips she shot back to both her mother and Xander. Although she is not sure what she wants to do Caymen loves science and was thinking about taking that up in university but she also knows she can’t leave her mother to manage to doll shop on her own. Already Caymen has given up so much to help her mother but she doesn’t complain.
Xander has had everything he could ever want growing up, but despite Caymen’s first impressions he’s not at all arrogant. He likes Caymen but he doesn’t pressure her when it comes to their relationship or even when it comes to her introducing him to her mother. Like Caymen Xander doesn’t know what he wants to do; there is a lot he is good at but he hasn’t settled on one thing so he finds himself pulled into the family business somewhat against his will.
Although there are more differences than similarities between them both Caymen and Xander fit together really well. They bonded over their roles in the family businesses and then over their shared career days. While Caymen is bothered at times by Xander’s money Xander is never bothered by the fact that her family is poor. However in spite of all the obstacles Caymen sees in their way she can’t quite let Xander go, even when there is another boy interested in her who suits her more and who her mother would like much more than Xander.
The relationship between Caymen and her mum is a major part of this story. For Caymen’s whole life it has just been the two of them; and after what happened to her mother she is determined to stop Caymen making her mistakes with a rich boy who will run at the first sign of trouble. The two are close, sharing everything, but during this story they start keeping secrets from one another; Caymen hiding Xander and her mother hiding something much more life-altering. But still it’s obvious all Caymen’s mother wants to do is protect her daughter and keep her safe, and all Caymen’s wants is to do is help make sure her mother’s store succeeds.
I really enjoyed the first Kasie West book I read and I enjoyed this one as well. I did notice some similarities between Caymen and Xander, and Lily and her mysterious pen pal; not in the sense that they were the same character’s but more that this book has a writing style I’ve come to recognize as Kasie West’s. I think I prefer P.S. I Like You but I have more of Kasie West’s books to read before I decide my ultimate favourite of hers.
What did you think of The Distance Between Us? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.