Told solely from Caymen's perspective, the story starts off on a seemingly normal day until Xander Spence walks into the doll shop. There is an obvious spark and tension between them, and the urge to yell something like "Kiss already!" is strong. Caymen remains wary and careful of Xander while Xander's feelings are much more visible. Mason (another love interest) is unaware of their dynamic, and he brings more drama to the Caymen and Xander plot. It all mixes together to make one dramatic and delicious story.
It has a quick plot, and everything flows very smoothly. The vocabulary isn't hard to understand, and anyone who is a teen or older can understand this book. The conflict between mother and daughter (or the "don't tell Mom" storyline) is very complicated, and it unfolds very nicely. Everything builds up and up and up, lies stack upon each other, and everything is jammed together until it finally breaks apart. That is when all of the secrets come out. That is when everything in Caymen's mother's past crashes to the ground like the stock market in the Great Depression. The climax is one of the greatest parts of the book.
Because of how worthy Caymen's sarcasm is, it gets its own mention, in its own separate paragraph from everything else. Just saying.
Caymen is a sarcastic teen who has a wonderful mouth everyone would envy. She has that level of sarcasm (though not as good as Rose Hathaway), and she has a wonderful characterization with even more amazing relationships. There are a few major relationships here: 1) Her mother and Caymen. 2) Xander and Caymen. Both relationships are crucial to the plot, and Kasie West does not fail to flesh them out, especially Caymen's romance with Xander.
Overall, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US stars a romance between two characters. It has sweetness and cheesiness, and it mixes seriousness and light-hearted sass together. The book is best recommended to those looking for a light read plus some romance. It isn't explicit, and it would be perfectly fine for younger teens.
Rating: Four out of Five