Release Date: 02 July 2013
Author: Kasie West
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
One sentence review: An unsurprising young adult romance with sweet-ish characters and very little else.
Summary: A girl with a strong prejudice against wealthy kids finds herself smitten with a very rich kid.
Review: It is Romance Week, so I thought I would put a hold on Port of Shadows (a hold that might become permanent for reasons of a grown man really misunderstanding menstrual cycles and using them as a plot point anyway) and enjoy some romance novels. The Distance Between Us was recommended by an article for those who like the Rogan pairing in Gilmore Girls. Considering my return to fanfiction after a lengthy hiatus from fanfiction.net has everything to do with those two, I figured a novel version may be much more interesting, more realistic and believable, and less ruined by a revival made a decade later with different writers. West was also likened to Dessen. Sarah Dessen is the foundation for one of my best friendships from high school. The bond over our love for each of her stories is still strong today. I figured with comparisons to Rogan and to Dessen, this was the book kick off Romance Week 2019.
While I adore aspects of the female and male leads in this story, I found the overall story a bit more difficult to enjoy.
The romance starts off quick as some romances can do, but encounters drama in the form of lack of any communication. Actually, all the drama in this novel would have been avoided if any of the characters had sat down and had a conversation with one another. I find this kind of drama to be the most difficult to swallow because it is so easily solved. Just. Talk. Is any relationship without the ability to have any level of basic communication even believable? Or is there a host of people in relationships that are afraid to just ask a simple question of their friends, spouses, partners, parents, etc.?
There is kind of a love triangle. It is half-heartedly written and so it isn’t too painful, but it is there.
The author harps a bit on the prejudice of our lady lead. She hates the rich and privileged because her mom has told her they are the worst. Her mom has a very Lorelai Gilmore view about all things dealing with the upper classes. However, we hear it from the narrator (the main character) CONSTANTLY. She doesn’t seem to even have a real reason to dislike the entire social class above her and yet we hear about her hatred for them almost constantly for an entire book.
The book comes to an abrupt end. I listened to the audiobook one afternoon and was stunned when I looked down and I had only 45 minutes remaining. There was so much story left to be told. And so many loose ends. Suddenly, 80% of the hanging threads were dealt with and the story was over. It was quite a whirlwind after the amount of time spent obsessing over things that could have been solved with a two-minute conversation.
The romance is light-hearted and sappy. The love interest is very sweet and really does create some lovely “dates” which show he genuinely understands and cares about the main character. He is sweet to her sour and it works. (Although, it does leave you wondering what he is getting in return. The main character doesn’t seem to show the same interest in getting to really know him.)
The main female character has a bit of personality, which is nice in a genre often filled with bland characters. She is sarcastic and dry, which is enjoyable to see in a YA female lead. We are told she has an interest in science which is neat. We don’t actually see her interest in science throughout the book, so that is disappointing. (We see her in science class, but interests usually happen during someone’s spare time.)
Overall I enjoyed the breezy feel of this book. I enjoyed it on the level of a cheesy rom-com I may never rewatch. It helped shake off the grime of Red Country and Port of Shadows and put me in a sweet mood to celebrate the holiday of pink, red, and shallow romances.
Happy Valentine’s Day, my reading lovelies.