A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Distance Between Us is about a poor girl who falls in love with a rich guy. The novel will provoke readers to think about class and how it impacts relationships. There isn't too much to worry about besides a few steamy kisses between Caymen and Xander (also Caymen's mom had her when she was a teenager). Eventually, Caymen learns to let down her guard and trust Xander with her heart. He's a good friend to her throughout -- and helps her learn to talk about her problems.
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What's the story?
Sarcastic Caymen Meyers lives in a cramped apartment above the failing doll store her mother has owned and operated since accidentally getting pregnant as a teenager. When handsome high-end hotel chain heir Xander Spence comes into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, the two share some witty banter -- and soon find common ground when they both express their lack of interest in their family business. Caymen can't ignore feeling attracted to Xander, but her mom has long expressed distrust of rich people (Caymen's father was a rich man but fled long before she was born). The guarded teen wonders if she's just a distraction for Xander -- or could she find love with someone so different from herself?
Is it any good?
This has the elements of a gripping story -- even the creepy doll store makes for a compelling backdrop -- but it suffers from excessive story lines and characters. This makes it hard for readers to really focus on the book's central tension: a poor girl worried she's being used by the rich boy she's falling for. Between the failing store, her mother's recent secretive behavior, the lead singer of a local band, who also has his eye on Caymen, Xander's snotty rich friend -- and a last-minute twist about her mother's background that really throws everything up in the air, the plot seems both crowded and contrived. Even so, there are some cute scenes between Caymen and Xander -- and some sweet smooches -- so romantic readers may still find enough here to keep them interested.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about romantic stories that feature characters from two different economic classes. Can you think of other movies, songs or TV shows that deal with this theme?
Do you think it's hard to be in a relationship with someone -- either a friend or a boy/girl friend -- who has more or less money than you do?
What do you think will happen to Caymen and Xander next?
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