Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Review: The Distance from A to Z by Natalie Blitt


The Distance from A to Z by Natalie Blitt
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: January 12, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

This full-length novel by debut author Natalie Blitt is a pitch-perfect blend of Stephanie Perkins and Miranda Kenneally that proves the age-old adage: opposites attract.

Seventeen-year old Abby has only one goal for her summer: to make sure she is fluent in French—well, that, and to get as far away from baseball and her Cubs-obsessed family as possible. A summer of culture and language, with no sports in sight.

That turns out to be impossible, though, because her French partner is the exact kind of boy she was hoping to avoid. Eight weeks. 120 hours of class. 80 hours of conversation practice with someone who seems to exclusively wear baseball caps and jerseys.

But Zeke in French is a different person than Zeke in English. And Abby can’t help but fall for him, hard. As Abby begins to suspect that Zeke is hiding something, she has to decide if bridging the gap between the distance between who she is and who he is, is worth the risk.

What I Liked:

Oh my goodness, this book! That isn't usually how I start my reviews, but this book deserves every reaction I had while reading and upon finishing - joy, heartbreak, mirth, embarrassment, glee, and the warm and fuzzies. I am not usually a YA contemporary fan - I rarely like the tough-issue ones especially - but I adored this book!

Abby comes from a family that is obsessed with baseball, especially the Chicago Cubs. She wants to get away from baseball, and so she's doing an eight-week class in French over the summer, in New Hampshire. As it would turn out, the only other high school student taking the French class is Zeke Martin, a huge baseball fan. They're paired as partners in the class for the eight weeks, which means speaking, writing, watching movies in French with Zeke. Zeke may love baseball, but he has a passion for French and speak the language beautifully. Even though she swears he's not for her, she falls for him. But there is something about him that doesn't add up, and Abby doesn't know if she wants to take the risk and open herself to heartbreak.

I feel like one of the biggest reasons why I love this book is because it mirrors my love life in the past - to a point. Abby is a smart, hard-working girl who wants (needs) to do well in this summer course so that she'll be able to apply to the Paris School. Zeke is an athlete, charming and handsome too, with an almost exotic air to him, with his love for French, his cultured mind, and his athletic jock-ness - it confuses Abby that he is all of these things. They are partners in the class, and must meet up outside of class to do the work. This story isn't new to me; replace baseball with soccer and French with Spanish and you have me and my gilipollas boy. I didn't get a nice ending though.  *shrugs*

Anyway. Abby And Zeke don't get a good start, because Abby sees Zeke's baseball shirts and his athleticism and doesn't want anything to do with him - she's done with baseball, and athletes. But his love for French surprises her, and slowly, she falls for Zeke. She sees him with different girls but she still falls for him. (Girl. I know this struggle.)

I honestly LOVE how this story is written, the cadence of the story. I love how Abby and Zeke fall for each other. It's written in Abby's POV, but we can see how Zeke is falling for Abby. I love experiencing Abby's side though - the way it's written, readers can totally relate. We've all fallen in like/love with someone before (right? hopefully! It's a lovely thing, even if it goes nowhere or ends badly.), and the author captures this beautifully.

I love Abby and her strength. She IS courageous, even if she doesn't think the word fits her. She is determined and hard-working and kind (sometimes she's mean to Zeke though!). Abby's roommate Alice is such a sweetie. I love how well-written she is; she struggles with anxiety especially in large groups of people. The author captured Alice perfectly!

And then there's Zeke, lovely handsome charming French-speaking smooth-talking Zeke. I admit, bilingual athletes are my type... sign me up for one of him! I love how multi-layered he is - he's so much more than an athlete who, on the surface, seems like a player. He's a nice guy! Also super swoony. SWOOOOON.

I love the pacing of the romance. Honestly I wish I could read this book again for the first time, to experience Abby and Zeke falling in love all over again. It takes about half of the course, and I LOVE the weeks leading up to their change in relationship status. The "before" part, in which they are falling for each other, is so fun and swoony! There are so many swoony scenes in this book. And some steamy ones too. And some sweet ones.

And heartbreaking ones. I love how perfectly Blitt captures a relationship, before, during, and after. The mixed signals, the confessions, the honeymoon period. I also love how this book was very romance-focused, but so much more than the romance. There was Alice's part of the story. And Abby's struggle with her love/hate relationship with baseball. And then there was Zeke's story and secret.

I had a feeling about what Zeke's secret was. I'll say no more - but I adored the ending of this book! I loved how the author ended it; she could have chosen a dozen different was, but this one really fit. All the feels!

What I Did Not Like:

I joked with the author, telling her that there was one line that I didn't like, and that was the only thing. Literally the only thing I didn't like about the book! I won't say one line but I will say that as a former top-seeded badminton player in my county, I didn't take that line well. LOL. No hard feelings though. 

Would I Recommend It:

I highly HIGHLY recommend this book! And hey, that's coming from me, who generally stays away from YA contemporary because she doesn't always like them. If you like books by authors like Kasie West, you NEED to read this book. Kasie West, guys. I haven't read any Stephanie Perkins but I am sure that comparison is spot on!

Rating:

4.5 stars. I'm rounding down to 4 stars but it's a 4.5-star-rating! I need to stop reading all of these lovely books that are definitely favorites at the wee end of the year (like Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell). I already did all of my top ten lists for 2015! This book would have made it. It is that good! Definitely worth more than the two dollars it costs.


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!


ATTENTION: this book is a full-length novel (over three hundred pages), and it is $1.99! It's so cheap and sooooo worth the money! Hint hint. :D

20 comments:

  1. YAYY! I'm so glad that you enjoyed this book so much! I always love seeing my blogging friends get into a book. I've been in a sort of blogging slump lately and it sucks! At first when I started your review, I was like *rolls eyes* this book is going to be one of those cliche romances but I was surprised that it WASN'T! I'm interested to see how it plays out!

    Happy Holidays chica! Que la pases super genial! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really wasn't cliche! I adored the progression of the romance. It felt so authentic. :D

      Happy holidays! Y a ti tambien!

      Delete
  2. I don't thank you because of you I must add another book to my TBR. Nice review.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great review :) Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This book sounds really good! Loved your review :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jessica! I hope you give it a shot. ^_^

      Delete
  5. You've got me on this one. I love the sound of the romance! I haven't heard a lot about this title but Kasie West is an absolute favourite so NEED!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YAY! I hope you read this one, Eileen! I highly recommend it if you love Kasie West. ;)

      Delete
  6. This is why I haven't done my top reads I'd 2015 yet ;)
    This sounds so adorable I can't wait to read it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I participated in the one hosted by Jaime and a few other ladies - and it was last week! I've read five books since then LOL. But it's okay.

      I hope you love it, Alyssa! =)

      Delete
  7. I'm not normally a YA fan, but this one sounds well thought out and well written with some good feels going on. Really enjoyed your review!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yaaaay :D Gorgeous review Alyssa. <3 But ahhh. You are making me want to read this one. But I won't. I WILL NOT. But it sound so awesome. Ugh. How mean of you, lol. But not my kind of plot :\ So not for me. But romance sounds so good :D I'm thrilled that you loved this book a lot sweetie. <3 YAY for loving a book from this genre, lol :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awwwwwwww! That's too bad! You know, I'm usually not a YA contemporary person either, but this one really delivered, in terms of the swoon. And the ending was very satisfying! *nudges*

      Anyway, thank you, Carina!

      Delete
  9. Oh my, Alyssa! It sounds amazing! And I hadn't even heard of it before. And now, all I want is to get my grabby hands on it! Great review.
    Happy New Year and happy reading.
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You don't see me recommend YA contemporary novels a lot, but this is definitely worth the read! And at $1.99, you really can't beat that. ;)

      Happy New Year, Lexxie!

      Delete
  10. I got this one this week too and I'm planning on reading it soon. I know YA contemporary is not your think, so if you liked this one it must be GOOD!

    ReplyDelete

I love comments! I will always try and reply to your comments, as well as leave some comment love on your blog! :)

Also, this an award and tag free blog. While I am flattered that you would think of me, I really do not have the time to follow up. Thank you!