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.
"The unique characters particularly stick out and make the book even more special."
First and foremost, one of the biggest parts of the book that I enjoyed was Caymen's dry humor and sarcasm. This is noted to be a huge characteristic of hers, for better or for worse. I absolutely loved it, and it makes Caymen stick out among other characters, particularly in contemporary YA. I love that she's spunky and doesn't necessarily care about what others think about that.
Of course, I also love Xander. He's so genuine and hilarious and cute and ughhh. Additionally, I obviously love Caymen and Xander's relationship. They balance one another out so well, and they bring out the best in one another. Their banter is so great, and it's hilarious and witty and sarcastic, just like they are individually. I love how their relationship evolved; it's very solidly written and is definitely swoony.
I also love a good friendship, particularly when the book is mostly romance centered (as in focusing on a romantic relationship). So of course I'm elated that Caymen and Skye's friendship was so central in the book. Their friendship felt so real, and it is well-written and established.
I enjoyed the plot, which was appropriately paced, though I felt that the ending seemed a bit rushed. I was also able to guess the plot-twist regarding how "money [was] a much bigger part of their relationship than [Caymen'd] ever realized." I think that the uniqueness of the characters and their interactions is what really makes the story and sets it apart and above other contemporaries.
However, I did have a few small qualms about the book. I wish there was more about Caymen's school life. It doesn't have to be much, but it would have been interesting to get a better idea of how/if she's struggling to balance her schoolwork. I feel like her financial situation and her attitude/personality would have also created an interesting dynamic that could have added to the story.
Additionally, I wish there had been even more interaction between Caymen and her mother. For such an integral relationship in the story, I felt that it was a little incomplete. Perhaps that was the point, but I think the end, at the very least, could have been made better by wrapping up how their relationship has or has not changed.
Lastly, I'm conflicted on Mason's importance in the story though I definitely don't think this took away from the story (just something I was thinking about). I felt he wasn't as important as he was perhaps supposed to be...He seems to just show up when the story needs a slight bump and/or conflict. I can't decide for sure how I feel about his character adding to the story, but I suppose that in the end, it worked out fine regardless.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Distance Between Us, and I can't believe I waited this long to read it! It's a fun, feels-y read that I LOVE. While the story could have been a bit tighter in a few aspects, overall, it was well-written. The unique characters particularly stick out and make the book even more special. West just has a knack for writing a good, well-developed romance and story in general.