Dolls and Hot Chocolate

The Distance Between Us - Kasie West

I'm not a big fan of the rich hero-poor heroine dynamic because it sounds so... Victorian Era and I think that took a big chunk out of my enjoyment of this book. But what DID set this apart was the weird little details in the characters, particularly with Caymen, the heroine. Who works (and lives) in a store selling porcelain life-like dolls.


With names.


I don't know, porcelain doll stores are creepy on their own but it's also a place inviting all the wrong kinds of conversations.





There was nothing special about the premise of this one: Poor girl Caymen meets and falls for rich guy Xander and has to hide it from her mom because she's reverse stuck-up against rich people after being left by her rich dad. But she can't seem to resist the draw of Xander because despite the class divide, they have much in common.


I'm going to attribute my feelings towards this book to being coddled and exposed too frequently to hysterical crying, over the top dialogue and amped up confrontations from Contemporary Romance that my expectations are skewed in such a way that without them, no matter how much I complain about these things, I'm left lost and mildly confuddled at the end.




But what saved this for me was the sharp dialogue and the restraint from the drama.


"I've missed hot chocolate. I just think of you as the guy who brings it to me. Sometimes I forget your name and call you hot chocolate guy."


It has that kind of humor that makes you smile slowly then burst out laughing as the scene progresses. The kind that I had to read twice to make sure I'm laughing appropriately at the clever turn of phrases.


Which does this story a big service because Caymen came across bland save for her creative sarcasm and quirky job. She's the "queen of having done nothing". She's not someone who's exceptionally strong, she likes to make assumptions (like, A LOT) and her prejudice against the rich did get on my nerves sometimes. But she (and the rest of the characters) thankfully never resorted to tactics that would make me question her sanity. Nobody went OTT hysterical over the big reveals. The twists and the drama were very tempered and dealt with in a very realistic, logical manner. Things I don't often see in Contemporary, Young Adult Romance.


This is my first Kasie West book and while I like the sharp wit in the dialogue and the sneaky way she revealed the plot twist you've called five chapters in, there's something very subdued in the narrative. There's none of the secret words, private jokes or history-laden mementos between the characters used exhaustively to elicit "THE FEELS" that I'm used to seeing in this genre but I still ended up liking it. Though I think it could've used a little more... something. I feel it needs something more than funny banter and warm fuzzies to deliver such a cliched storyline centered on the classist dynamic.


Whatever it is that I found this lacking of, it was still a pleasant enough read to make me curious on what this author can whip out with an off-beat storyline.


"You look terrified. Does this scare you?"

"More than anything."


"Because I didn't bring my mints."

"And now the real answer..."

"Because I'm afraid that once you catch me, the game's over."