Rich Boy, Poor Girl: ‘The Distance Between Us’ by Kasie West

Since I’ve been reading a lot of dark and depressing books lately, I decided to return to what always cheers me up…romance. It’s nice to know that, by the end of the book, most of the characters are going to be at least sort of happy and there’s probably going to be some kissing involved. Also, no one will get murdered (I read a lot of mysteries, okay?).

So I went to my usual haunt, the teen book section at my local library. As I’ve mentioned before, this place is normally full of actual teenage boys playing video games and I always feel very old (mostly because I am). I just walk around muttering words like “math class” and “skateboarding” so I’ll blend in. It’s sort of like this:

I think I’m really pulling it off.

Anyway, this was all a very rambly way to tell you that when I saw Kasie West’s The Distance Between Us, I knew it was the book that would cure my reading blues. Just look at that cute cover. The font! The sunlight! The dress! So I picked up the book and walked past all the video game dudes with my head held high (they didn’t notice anyway; they were busy staging some sort of attack).

The Distance Between Us is funny, romantic, and totally swoony. If you like Pretty in Pink (and, um, who doesn’t?), you’ll love that The Distance Between Us also uses the “rich guy and girl-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks fall for each other” plot. Our girl Caymen works at her mom’s doll store, where she has to deal with being stared at by the creepy lifeless eyes of porcelain dolls all day. She doesn’t have much of a social life to speak of, other than hanging out with her punky BFF Skye. Her life might be boring, but she knows her mom needs her there to help out.

But one day, Xander (yes, Xander) walks in, looking for a doll for his grandmother. Xander’s obviously a total richie, but he’s also pretty cute…and totally into Caymen. Soon they’re hanging out all the time and taking each other on “career days” to explore jobs they might want in the future. Also, Xander brings Caymen a hot chocolate every morning, so it’s gotta be love, right?

Well, maybe. Falling for a rich guy is actually harder than it sounds; Caymen’s worried that Xander’s lifestyle is just too different from hers. Not to mention that Xander is just one of her problems. She’s also worried about her mom, the future of the store, and the few details she knows about her family. And then there’s Mason, the lead singer of a band who might be more her speed. Will Caymen be able to figure out her future and give Xander a chance?

If you love romance, you definitely need to read The Distance Between Us. It’s cute and charming, just like Xander Spence.


-Even if you aren’t romance obsessed, you’ll love the witty writing in The Distance Between Us. Caymen is fluent in sarcasm, and it’s fun to spend a whole book inside her head.

-There’s a reference to The Shining that goes throughout the book, which I appreciated because it’s actually one of the terrifying books I read last month that made me seek solace in romance. The Shining is scary, you guys! There’s a reason Joey Tribbiani kept it in the freezer!

-If you love Kasie West’s writing, be sure to check out her other book, Pivot Point. I’m also excited that she has another contemporary YA coming out next year called On the Fence.

What about you guys? Have you read The Distance Between Us or Pivot Point? Let me know in the comments! And, as always, I love to hear your suggestions for books to feature in Young Adult Education. Leave a comment, email me at or find me on Twitter @KerryAnn.

Filed Under