Jan 26, 2016

The Distance from A to Z

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 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.

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?


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I always find it interesting how different languages say things. That's interesting about how the french say I miss you. You know how much I love all things French so I might have to check this out!

Nora said...

I can't wait to read this one! It's on my list after I read another one I am doing for a review :) Ah, yes, the way the French make things more romantic in how they say they miss someone. I have a feeling this book is going to make me miss French class (took all the way through college) and probably have all the YA feels. I enjoy YA books because they take me back to my high school days.

Kate @ GreatestEscapist.com said...

I'm reading it, too! :) So glad you enjoyed it.

Stephany said...

I'm reading this book soon! I love YA novels, especially sweet ones, so I really can't wait to dive in!

Anonymous said...

This looks like a sweet read. I sometimes struggle with YA books too, but on the other hand some of my favorite books have been YA: Harry Potter (obvs), The Fault in Our Stars, and Eleanor and Park.

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