Mini Reviews: The Distance Between Us, The Wrong Side of Right, and The Young Elites

6.05.2015
The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Published: July 2nd, 2013 by HarperTeen
Source: Bought (ebook)

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.


 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

The Distance Between Us was actually my first Kasie West novel. Naturally, I had pretty high expectations, not to mention I was still coming off the high that the beautiful The Summer of Chasing Mermaids gave me. I'm not really surprised that I was a bit disappointed in this one. I definitely enjoyed it, but it's not something I'll still be thinking about in a week. Or even tomorrow, probably. It was more of a mindless read for me than anything else.

Caymen is basically living my dream, besides being dirt poor (would you look at that, we have something in common!) and living in a house full of porcelain dolls. (They would infiltrate my nightmares.) She's got this rich guy interested in her with a private jet at his beck and call. And he takes her on it. She is, understandably, uncomfortable with it, which a lot of people are. But I'm ALL HERE FOR A GUY TO TAKE ME ON HIS JET FOR A DAY. I'm secretly always holding out hope to marry rich, which started out as a joke but has become reality as I watch my debt grow and think about ALL THE FUTURE DEBT. Plus, I want cats.

For the most part, I did like Caymen. I liked that she wasn't your typical MUST-GET-INTO-IVY-LEAGUE character that we see in a lot of YA contemps. I liked how lost she felt, how she struggled with wanting to know her absent father in the same way I struggle with my own feelings about my mother. But sometimes I was just...bored with her, I suppose. Or maybe that was the plot.

Overall, I found The Distance Between Us to be very light. It only really touched the surface on things that I think could have had much deeper meanings and messages from the book. I also feel like there's a few too many loose ends - what's going to happen with her grandparents now? And after all that talk about her father, you can't tell me Caymen's not going to try and contact him. 3 stars.


The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne
Published: March 17th, 2015 by Dial
Source: Library

Fans of Sarah Dessen and Huntley Fitzpatrick will enjoy this smart debut young adult novel, equal parts My Life Next Door and The Princess Diaries—plus a dash of Aaron Sorkin.

Kate Quinn’s mom died last year, leaving Kate parentless and reeling. So when the unexpected shows up in her living room, Kate must confront another reality she never thought possible—or thought of at all. Kate does have a father. He’s a powerful politician. And he’s running for U.S. President. Suddenly, Kate’s moving in with a family she never knew she had, joining a campaign in support of a man she hardly knows, and falling for a rebellious boy who may not have the purest motives. This is Kate’s new life. But who is Kate? When what she truly believes flies in the face of the campaign’s talking points, she must decide. Does she turn to the family she barely knows, the boy she knows but doesn’t necessarily trust, or face a third, even scarier option

Set against a backdrop of politics, family, and first love, this is a story of personal responsibility, complicated romance, and trying to discover who you are even as everyone tells you who you should be.


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This one was definitely my favorite of the bunch. I think my biggest complaint is with Kate's father. Okay, he was cold and distant most of the time and very frustrating, but that's to be expected. I didn't mind that at all. What I did mind is the sudden 180 within the last few pages. I'm suddenly expected to believe he's a kind and caring father and Kate wants to live with him so badly? Um, no. I expect months of groveling after that kind of stuff.

I really loved the concept of this one and how it steered far away from the danger of political views being shoved down our throats. I loved watching Kate struggle to be the perfect little daughter because she wanted to be liked. It was kind of refreshing to see someone like this instead of someone whose brain is constantly on MUST DEFY ALL AUTHORITY mode. But you know what I really loved? When someone finally punched Elliott.

Meg was probably my favorite character. I love how she approached everything with her children and her campaign, her mantra of how many days left before it was finally over, and most of all, her acceptance and relationship with Kate. The overall family theme in this novel was great.

And, obviously, I loved Andy. And Andy and Kate. And how the romance was quiet and sweet and definitely played a background role. 4 stars.

The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Published: October 7th, 2014 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Source: Bought (ebook)

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.


Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.


It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.


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Another disappointment. It was good, but not great. At times, I loved Adelina. At times, I couldn't stand her. I love that she only has one eye and I love her power. But I didn't get the kind of internal conflict throughout the entire book that I really wanted from her; that didn't come until the end, which was fantastic. But it meant that the middle lagged a lot for me. I just didn't feel like there was much going on. Adelina was basically just trying to be wanted and valued, which wasn't what I expected from this story. When Adelina really started going crazy is when I got interested.

It all ramped in the end, of course, and I was definitely shocked with some plot twists. (I still don't like Violetta, but I liked that twist.) I guess I was just expecting something a lot darker than this. I think The Rose Society will probably make me a lot happier in that department. Marie Lu's writing sure is gorgeous, though. I was very satisfied with the world-building, oddly enough. And in this one, the multiple POVs really worked for me when they usually don't.

I was definitely intrigued by the romance. Had I been given more time, I think I could have really gotten behind it. BUT ALAS, THAT WAS APPARENTLY NOT IN THE CARDS. As for the rest of the Young Elites, I did enjoy them. They were all so different from each other and added different things to the story. 3.5 stars, and I'm expecting to like The Rose Society a lot more.

And there you have it! My first time really doing mini reviews, and it was mostly because I tried so hard to put my thoughts about The Young Elites into words and it wasn't working out.
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6.05.2015

Mini Reviews: The Distance Between Us, The Wrong Side of Right, and The Young Elites

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Published: July 2nd, 2013 by HarperTeen
Source: Bought (ebook)

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.


 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

The Distance Between Us was actually my first Kasie West novel. Naturally, I had pretty high expectations, not to mention I was still coming off the high that the beautiful The Summer of Chasing Mermaids gave me. I'm not really surprised that I was a bit disappointed in this one. I definitely enjoyed it, but it's not something I'll still be thinking about in a week. Or even tomorrow, probably. It was more of a mindless read for me than anything else.

Caymen is basically living my dream, besides being dirt poor (would you look at that, we have something in common!) and living in a house full of porcelain dolls. (They would infiltrate my nightmares.) She's got this rich guy interested in her with a private jet at his beck and call. And he takes her on it. She is, understandably, uncomfortable with it, which a lot of people are. But I'm ALL HERE FOR A GUY TO TAKE ME ON HIS JET FOR A DAY. I'm secretly always holding out hope to marry rich, which started out as a joke but has become reality as I watch my debt grow and think about ALL THE FUTURE DEBT. Plus, I want cats.

For the most part, I did like Caymen. I liked that she wasn't your typical MUST-GET-INTO-IVY-LEAGUE character that we see in a lot of YA contemps. I liked how lost she felt, how she struggled with wanting to know her absent father in the same way I struggle with my own feelings about my mother. But sometimes I was just...bored with her, I suppose. Or maybe that was the plot.

Overall, I found The Distance Between Us to be very light. It only really touched the surface on things that I think could have had much deeper meanings and messages from the book. I also feel like there's a few too many loose ends - what's going to happen with her grandparents now? And after all that talk about her father, you can't tell me Caymen's not going to try and contact him. 3 stars.


The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne
Published: March 17th, 2015 by Dial
Source: Library

Fans of Sarah Dessen and Huntley Fitzpatrick will enjoy this smart debut young adult novel, equal parts My Life Next Door and The Princess Diaries—plus a dash of Aaron Sorkin.

Kate Quinn’s mom died last year, leaving Kate parentless and reeling. So when the unexpected shows up in her living room, Kate must confront another reality she never thought possible—or thought of at all. Kate does have a father. He’s a powerful politician. And he’s running for U.S. President. Suddenly, Kate’s moving in with a family she never knew she had, joining a campaign in support of a man she hardly knows, and falling for a rebellious boy who may not have the purest motives. This is Kate’s new life. But who is Kate? When what she truly believes flies in the face of the campaign’s talking points, she must decide. Does she turn to the family she barely knows, the boy she knows but doesn’t necessarily trust, or face a third, even scarier option

Set against a backdrop of politics, family, and first love, this is a story of personal responsibility, complicated romance, and trying to discover who you are even as everyone tells you who you should be.


 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

This one was definitely my favorite of the bunch. I think my biggest complaint is with Kate's father. Okay, he was cold and distant most of the time and very frustrating, but that's to be expected. I didn't mind that at all. What I did mind is the sudden 180 within the last few pages. I'm suddenly expected to believe he's a kind and caring father and Kate wants to live with him so badly? Um, no. I expect months of groveling after that kind of stuff.

I really loved the concept of this one and how it steered far away from the danger of political views being shoved down our throats. I loved watching Kate struggle to be the perfect little daughter because she wanted to be liked. It was kind of refreshing to see someone like this instead of someone whose brain is constantly on MUST DEFY ALL AUTHORITY mode. But you know what I really loved? When someone finally punched Elliott.

Meg was probably my favorite character. I love how she approached everything with her children and her campaign, her mantra of how many days left before it was finally over, and most of all, her acceptance and relationship with Kate. The overall family theme in this novel was great.

And, obviously, I loved Andy. And Andy and Kate. And how the romance was quiet and sweet and definitely played a background role. 4 stars.

The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Published: October 7th, 2014 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Source: Bought (ebook)

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.


Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.


It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.


 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

Another disappointment. It was good, but not great. At times, I loved Adelina. At times, I couldn't stand her. I love that she only has one eye and I love her power. But I didn't get the kind of internal conflict throughout the entire book that I really wanted from her; that didn't come until the end, which was fantastic. But it meant that the middle lagged a lot for me. I just didn't feel like there was much going on. Adelina was basically just trying to be wanted and valued, which wasn't what I expected from this story. When Adelina really started going crazy is when I got interested.

It all ramped in the end, of course, and I was definitely shocked with some plot twists. (I still don't like Violetta, but I liked that twist.) I guess I was just expecting something a lot darker than this. I think The Rose Society will probably make me a lot happier in that department. Marie Lu's writing sure is gorgeous, though. I was very satisfied with the world-building, oddly enough. And in this one, the multiple POVs really worked for me when they usually don't.

I was definitely intrigued by the romance. Had I been given more time, I think I could have really gotten behind it. BUT ALAS, THAT WAS APPARENTLY NOT IN THE CARDS. As for the rest of the Young Elites, I did enjoy them. They were all so different from each other and added different things to the story. 3.5 stars, and I'm expecting to like The Rose Society a lot more.

And there you have it! My first time really doing mini reviews, and it was mostly because I tried so hard to put my thoughts about The Young Elites into words and it wasn't working out.

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