Monday, July 1, 2013

Plot Wars: Distance Between Us vs. This is What Happy Looks Like

And the Intern is back with another Plot Wars for you all!

The two books butting heads today are The Distance Between Us by Kasie West and This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith.

The Set Up:
  • The Distance Between Us is about a girl named Caymen who helps her poor mother run a porcelain doll shop that rich people frequent. Which is how she meets Xander, a rich boy who seems to understand her. But she knows from her mom's experience that the rich's interest doesn't last long, but that doesn't stop him from trying to get her attention.
  • This Is What Happy Looks Like is about teenage hearthrob Graham accidentally sending normal, Maine girl Ellie an email, which leads to a period of emails where they talk about everything (except for their names or backgrounds). So when Graham's new movie is shooting in her hometown, Graham decides to meet her. Even though Ellie has a secret that requires her to stay out of the spotlight. Will these factors keep them apart?
  • A difference in social class between the love interests
  • A girl with a dad that is not involved in her life (SPOILERS: highlight to see: the mom slept with a rich man and who then abandoned the mom during pregnancy )
  • A girl with a poor, working mom
  • Both girls help their mom in a shop
  • A best friend who is highly opinionated about the main girl's life and the rich man's intentions
  • A group of similarly-minded people who think the love interests shouldn't be together/try to keep them apart
  • The girl has no siblings
  • The male lead has a problem with his parents
  • Instead of being rich, Graham is famous (he's rich too, but that's not the defining factor)
  • There was more of a focus on the social-class differences with Caymen and Xander
  • Ellie's dad is a politician and Caymen's dad is just plain rich
  • Caymen's mom's shop is limited to dolls while Ellie's mom is a more general type of store
  • Some of Xander and Caymen's friends don't want him "slumming" with Caymen while it's the paparazzi make things difficult for Ellie and Graham
  • Ellie's not allowed to be in the spotlight because of her dad, and Caymen just doesn't want to deal with it
I don't know! They were both really well-written. It really just depends. The dialogue with Caymen and Xander is really dry and sarcastic, which made The Distance Between Us hilarious. But at the same time This Is What Happy Looks Like had an epistolary beginning (which are my favorite) with a shift in limited-third-person point of view. So it really comes down to what you prefer. But I liked them both.

Until later, readers!

Owyn the Intern

A/N: I also reviewed these on my personal YA book blog:
This Is What Happy Looks Like (WARNING the images don't work well and I don't know how to fix it. Sorry)


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  2. The story line itself was a bit predictable, but at the same time unrealistic. In this case, it was okay-it actually worked. Had the characters not been as strong, it would have been one big cheese fest. While it may not be a literary masterpiece, it was perfect for what I needed. It's a great, quick read that isn't too hard to fall into. It is one of the better contemporary's I've read in a while. I can't wait until her next one (The Geography of You and Me) comes out.

    1. I know right! It's good to just read "fun" books when you want to! And the *Geography of You and Me* was fun too! -- Owyn the Intern

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