I picked up Kasie West because I needed a light, fun palette cleanser. I’ve been reading lots of high tension, high concept novels in recent weeks. I needed something character driven and completely different from that.
Caymen is a girl used to sacrifice. She lives in a small apartment above her mother’s porcelain doll shop. Her mother had her when she was very young and the two struggle to make ends meet. Caymen’s father came from the rich side of the tracks and he bailed when he discovered the pregnancy, trading his daughter for wealth and prestige and privilege. As a result Caymen’s mother has a complex about the rich which she has passed onto her daughter. Caymen knows that nothing good can come for money or power.
When she meets Xander her theory about the wealthy is proven tenfold. Xander comes from a wealthy family and is the heir to a long line of esteemed hotels. He has the kind of confidence and swagger that come from having a silver spoon lodged in his throat. Caymen tries to resist but Xander has this smile that leaves her breathless. Against her better judgement the two form a friendship that will change everything that Caymen has ever known, or believed, about those of status.
Like I said, it was a fun read. Nothing too over-the-top or deep here. I started it one night and blew through half the book in a sitting. It’s one of those types of novels. I enjoyed Caymen’s sarcastic wit, especially paired with Xander’s stiffness. It was nice to see how the two began to loosen up around each other once the novel got going.
But it’s not a perfect novel. The beginning spent too much time establishing Caymen’s gripes towards the rich. I understood that from the get-go. I didn’t need it reiterated multiple times… Per chapter… Sometimes, per scene. Sometimes per sentence. It was too much. I wanted West to show and not tell me this. When she showed the differences in their environments she was the most successful with this aspect of the novel. She set up the dynamics well enough that I didn’t need Caymen’s internal conflicts to the degree that West wrote. I understand there’s a conflict between the two worlds. It’s fine, stop shoving the message down the reader’s throat.
There’s also a rushed ending that I didn’t believe for a minute. It ties into Caymen’s complexes even more, further hammering the message down. If you can ignore the “unsurprising-surprise plot twist” then you will be alright. I couldn’t, so it lessened my entertainment at the end.
Other than that I enjoyed the novel quite a lot more than I expected to. I guess I need one of these books every twenty reads, or so. They really help to clear my mind for other, more complicated, concept driven stories.
That said, I still need to read West’s debut Pivot Point. But it’s shot higher up the queue since reading this one.
4 out of 5 stars.
* The Distance Between Us releases July 2, 2013.