by Natalie Blitt (Goodreads, Twitter, Website)
Published by Epic Reads Impulse on January 12th, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Edition: e-Book (352 pages)
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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.
I've finally found a book to get me out of a reading slump, and this is it! If you're a big fan of Stephanie Perkins' Anna and the French Kiss series, or Jenn Bennett's The Anatomical Shape of a Heart or just basically a big sucker for adorable fluffy romance, then this Natalie Blitt debut novel is what you should pick up next on your 'to be read' list.
This book blew me away. Well, no, that's a little extreme, but as someone who's very picky when it comes to Young Adult Contemporary novels (and debut novels), The Distance From A to Z surely knocked me off the wagon and exceeded my expectations.
Blitt's writing is incredible. It's fun and refreshing, filled with witty dialogue and coupled with a romantic twist au francias—definitely out of the ordinary. Her characters are also wonderfully created and undeniably realistic with a tinge of awkward and quirky.
We follow Abby and Zeke at a French summer program at a college where they're practically fetuses as high school seniors surrounded by quasi grown ups in the form of frat boys and high on caffeine undergraduates; and as the only two high schoolers in the class, they're forced to be partners. Basically a teenage romcom with non-stop french conversations, baseball trivia and x-rated French films (woops).
Abby is a French enthusiast and is incredibly in love with its culture. She's an inspiring character who learnt to speak a foreign language through her own means and dreams to one day step foot in the land of immense culture and romance. Funnily enough, she has a hilarious dislike towards anything sports, particularly baseball, which got a tad annoying a few times. Though, imagine growing up in a household which screamed the sport from every single nook and cranny, I'd obviously be sick of the thing. Leaving home for this summer program was a literally a breath of fresh air for Abby. No sports, no baseball, everything French aka Paradise. But her sanctuary of peace gets ruined once she meets her summer partner.
Zeke, on the other hand, looks like your typical jock teenager. He's smooth and suave, and a total looker. He's that cute boy with the nice hair and the backwards hat and regularly clad in baseball team shirts; and Abby's French class partner, much to her luck. But don't let the jock-boy tendencies fool you because this lad here is another dedicated French enthusiast and an incredibly charming persona.
Their romance is one of the best I've read in YA books. It's an entertaining slow burn, from a friendship filled with clever banter and a whole lot of flirty-flirt which bloomed to a no holds barred romance. While these two didn't instantly click as friends at the beginning, they exuded amazing chemistry and will make you feel giddy with every turn of a page.
And while the romance was one of my favorites, another thumbs up to Blitt's ingenuity in her writing style was the way she smoothly wove a foreign language into the story, with Zeke and Abby speaking in French about 80% of the time. Don't be confused—the story isn't written in french, but rather coupled with quite a number of phrases patterned into their conversations with English translations, and never did I get confused at all.
The Distance From A to Z is a wonderfully captivating read and will surely keep you hooked until the very end. This book will make you swoon and fill you with butterflies. If you haven't read this book, then what are you waiting for? Get rid of that terrible reading slump with this beaut and get reading!