No, you're not at the wrong blog, I'm actually doing a book review! Full disclosure - I was approached about reviewing this book and was given a free copy, however all opinions are mine. (But seriously, the chance to actually blog about something that's not a monthly check-in for Parks and maybe I can feel like a functioning adult? I'm in!)
Title: The Distance from A to Z by Natalie Blitt
My rating: 4 stars
Overview from Goodreads: 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
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
I was a little nervous to read this book - the premise sounded great, but I sometimes have a hard time relating to young adult books since I'm no longer the intended audience.
However, I really enjoyed it!
The story is engaging right from the start, and after no more than three swipes on my phone (reading on my Kindle app while Parks sleeps on me is the easiest way for me to read these days), I was smiling and somehow felt like I could relate to Abby, even though my family is not obsessed with baseball the way hers is:
"Because all my family talks about is baseball. Baseball and whether the Cubs have a chance at the World Series this year. Or really, how they don't. But how if they just...I'm in a family made up entirely of armchair quarterbacks."
The author does a great job of capturing adolescence - from how Abby and her roommate bond quickly:
"I've found my spirit animal."
to the emotion in what Abby loves (French), or does not love (talk about baseball). There were times in the book when I thought "wow, she's kind of bitchy right now," or "she is intense about this," but Abby just owned it. When she needed to apologize she did, (in really sweet, thoughtful ways), and when she demonstrated her love for the French language she was fabulously unapologetic about it.
"The fact that in French you don't say I miss you. You say tu me manques: literally, you are missing from me. Because when you miss someone, it's more than just the active feeling of missing, it's like they have actually taken a piece of you with them when they left, the piece of you that was theirs."
I really admired (and related to) her strong sense of self.
I don't want to say too much about specifics in the story because there are a couple twists and I don't want to give anything away, but I laughed more than I expected to and wanted more when the story was over. I took a few French classes in high school and only remember a handful of phrases, but have always thought the language is beautiful; this story made me fall a little bit back in love with it. (Also, with as much as Parks loves baseball, it was kind of fun to read some "baseball talk" because I do believe it will be a part of our life later on!)
I would definitely recommend this book to read!
Have you read this book? Are you a fan of YA stories, or do you start out skeptical like I do?