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
Zeke. Zeke. Zeke.
I may have a brand new book boyfriend. Zeke Martin. I mean, despite the fact that I spend the first 40% of this book trying to figure out whether or not I even liked him, I really do think he redeemed himself in the second half of this book.
Okay, let me put this out there - this didn't grab me straight away. I was at first bemused by Abby's dislike for anything baseball - I mean, she has her reasons but it doesn't mean she should be flat-out rude to anybody who even wears a baseball cap. I disliked her at first for this reason. Then she meets Zeke, and gets to know him. Zeke bridges the gap between her hatred for baseball and her love for French and the poor girl doesn't know what to do. Plus it doesn't help that Zeke is super sweet inside the classroom and when they are roaming the campus talking in French but when they aren't together he acts like a player. Poor girl, I couldn't help but feel for her from then on out.
The book definitely redeems itself from there though. Zeke and Abby seemed like a not-as-lovable (but still very likeable) version of St Clair and Anna from Anna and the French Kiss and I loved their dynamics and the way they changed with the relationship. And as I said at the start, Zeke after the first half of the book = love. He is so sweet and caring, putting Abby first. I couldn't even find it in myself to dislike him when he admitted that he had lied to Abby.
Plus, this book isn't just a cutey cutey contemp read, it deals with Abby's room-mate Alice's issues with social anxiety and panic attacks, something that really resonated with me and I think fit perfectly into this book.
And let me just mention Blitt's writing, because this woman is talented. The writing itself is nothing amazing in this genre but the way she managed to create individual characters and write dialogue that fit their personalities was just brilliant. I will be adding her to my 'must read authors' list. It doesn't exist yet, but I'll write it.
Overall, The Distance From A to Z didn't quite hit a grand slam, but I'd say it was close to a home run. It was an enjoyable, engaging book with characters that grew on me!
Overall Rating: B+
Book released 12th January 2016 by HarperCollins
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review