The Distance Between Us is the story of Caymen, a girl who lives with her mum above the creepy doll shop they own in a beach town in California. One day a rich guy walks in and although her mum has spent her entire life warning Caymen off rich guys, she hits if off with Xander and they start up a friendship which, and I really don’t think this is going to be a spoiler, turns into something romantic.
My enjoyment of a book always owes as much to the context of my reading it as it does to the text itself. A book like this was the perfect antidote to the residual creepiness left over from Dark Places! It was a light, romantic read that I finished in about a day and was the literary equivalent of marshmallow fluff.
The plot is a kind of will-they-won’t-they between Caymen and Xander as well as a reminder not to judge people by their wealth. The romance is fairly tame (in the nicest possible way) and there’s nothing really to offend, so I wouldn’t have any problem recommending this to the younger end of the YA market. Personally, I wished it had a bit more bite to it (and by bite, I mean sex), but that’s just me.
There wasn’t a whole bunch of tension in the plot, other than a hope that Caymen and Xander would get together. There were a few strands that I thought might become ‘issue-ey’ - the financial difficulties the doll shop was experiencing, Caymen’s mother’s ill health, the socio-economic differences between Caymen and Xander - but they didn’t evolve very far and everything was wrapped up in a neat HEA. This isn’t a bad thing, but if you like a lot of angst and meat in your YA, this might be a bit insubstantial for you.
Caymen was a really great character and I really liked her. She was super sarcastic and funny, using her humour as a defense mechanism. She was loyal and hardworking and just generally a lovely MC. Xander was nice too, although he did suffer from Rich Boy Syndrome (more cars than feet, unhealthy relationship with dad). There was also this weird thing halfway through the book where the author is obviously trying to show us what a nice guy Xander is, despite his massive wealth. Basically, a housekeeping worker in the hotel Xander’s family owns burns one of their guest’s shirts. The worker is about to be fired (!) for this until Xander steps in and makes sure they keep their job. It was supposed to show Xander as being an amazing guy, whereas what it actually showed was that he wasn’t a wanker. ‘Not a wanker’ isn’t the same as ‘totally amazing’.
I’d definitely recommend The Distance Between Us if you’re looking for a light contemporary read. What it lacks in substance, it totally makes up for in style and it was a really nice palate cleanser.