Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Distance Between Us

The Distance Between Us
Author: Kasie West
Release Date: July 2nd, 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre(s): YA Contemporary, Chick Lit
Pages: 320

Summary (Goodreads):
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.

~Some Minor Spoilers~
(Highlight the page if you want to see the spoilers)

          Meh.  I didn’t gush over it, but I didn’t hate it either.  I have a thing for rich hero- poor heroine stories, so that’s why I initially picked this book up.  I regret it now.  The whole story was very bland, and my biggest complaint was the lack of connection I felt with the character.  Even when things happened to the characters, good or bad, I felt nothing for them.

         The basic plot was:  Girl met boy.  Boy met girl.  Boy and girl fell in love, but girl resisted relationship because of X reasons.  Plot “twist” (it did surprise me, but at that point I didn’t care…).  Some things happened, but in the end boy and girl ended up together and rode off into the distance for better things to come…  That’s it. Though I know many authors who can take such a general plot skeleton and twist it into all sorts of ah-mazing stories, this is not the case here.  The author seems to have just used the bare skeleton and maybe a vein here or there.  Not very interesting, and the snarky main character didn’t help either.  Some people might appreciate her (VERY) snarky and straightforward sarcasm-find it refreshing even- but I thought it was confusing and a bit too much.  Though I admit some of it was funny, most of the time, I couldn’t tell if she was joking or if she really meant it.  And half the time, her sarcasm was just plain weird; it wasn’t witty at all.  (Maybe it’s just a “me” thing.)   I know that sarcasm for Caymen was a coping mechanism to hide her feelings and her  true self- not a spoiler, it’s pretty obvious from the beginning- but that wasn’t really explored in the novel.  If the author had gone into it more, I think it would have really made the sarcastic aspect of Caymen seem reasonable and even enjoyable.   

      In general, I really wish the author had made Caymen seem real and not so bland.   Even when she gets excited, it feels so unenthusiastic.  (I’m not sure if it was the writing style or if it was just me. ) Her way of speaking seems detached, and at times I felt like she was talking in a monotone voice.  It seems her whole life revolves around the shop, her mom, and Xander.  Any mention of school is brief- just that she goes to it. It made her unrelatable and boring (she did have a very different life and upbringing compared to most people, I’ll consider that, but so does almost every other YA characters, and many were still interesting to read about).   And of course there’s the dad thing- which **Spoiler** is left open at the end.   This is all fine and dandy- as it gives the ending a kind of hopeful feeling- but like every issue addressed in the book, it’s not very impacting.  By the end, I really didn’t care whether she met her dad or not.

         The romance aspect was bland also.  No sah woons or even regular swoons about anything Xander did.  He had no real character; he was very generic: sweet, loveable, a gentleman.   Now, there’s nothing wrong with a generic “nice” guy, but they’re not very memorable.  I mean, plenty of guys in books are “nice”, AND they are sah-woon worthy (… like Finny.  Heartbreak </3).  Even as I write this review a few days later, I have a hard time remembering simple details about him (hair color, eye color, what he did in the novel besides bringing hot chocolate, etc).  I do remember Xander ‘s daddy-problems, but like everything in this novel (how many times have I said this now? I think I’ve also said “in general” quite a few times too), it wasn’t explored well- it was just told to us- and no real closure was reached.  (To be fair, even when closure was reached  ****Spoiler**** with the grandparents and the mom ***end spoiler***, my reaction was, “eh”.)  There was a lot of telling about his character as well, instead of us being able to deduce it from his action.

     Overall, the entire book doesn’t make me go, “Wow, I need to go out there and fight with every inner being of my soul for the cause of social injustice!”  But this book WAS filed under chick lit, so I guess it wasn’t supposed to be that type of book.   (Then again, it could be considered a book between "heavy contemporary" and "chick lit" because the social issues her mother had and had tried to instill into Caymen was really prominent throughout the novel (it was the basis of the entire book), but the reasons behind her prejudice didn’t have much depth.   As with everything in novel, I felt it should have been explored more. I still had questions by the time I finished reading.)

   My parting statement here? No connection with the characters and vagueness make for a very bored reader. 

Happy readings!

Rating: 2 out of 5

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